Randon Looks for Strong Finish at NCAA Championships to Conclude Historic Season

James Randon (photo by The Ivy League/Sideline Photos)
James Randon (photo by The Ivy League/Sideline Photos)

Randon Travels to Terre Haute, Ind., for Last Collegiate Cross Country Race

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a historic career with the Yale men's cross country team, senior James Randon will run his final cross country race for the Elis on Saturday. As team captain, he led the athletes in many big races throughout the year, consistently finishing as the fastest athlete on the team. Now, however, he will race alone as an individual qualifier to the NCAA National Cross Country Championships. This meet brings together the top 31 teams and 39 additional outstanding individuals in Division I to compete for the NCAA title.

While he competed at the NCAA National Track and Field Championships in the spring, this will be Randon's first time racing at the cross country championships. However, if his performance at the track and field championships and the important meets of this cross country season are any indication, we can expect a strong race from the senior athlete.

The vast majority of dedicated athletes improve over their collegiate careers, but the consistency and magnitude of Randon's growth is extraordinary. In a telling feat, he has improved his place at both the Ivy League Championships and Northeast Regionals every year for the past four seasons.

In tracing the steps that brought Randon to this point, it is impossible to ignore a few key breakthrough races. One such race was definitely his race at the IC4A Track and Field Championships in 2016, when Randon broke four minutes in the mile. Then, during the outdoor season, he demonstrated an ability to compete successfully at the country's largest meets. Most notably, he placed eighth at the NCAA National Championships in the 1,500-meter run, earning All-American honors. Finally, in the last few weeks, he proved that he could transform from an elite track athlete to compete among the nation's best on cross country courses. This accomplishment cannot be understated, as cross country races are more than five times longer than a 1,500-meter race, requiring far more endurance and different strategy.

After winning the Ivy League Championships and placing fifth at the NCAA Regionals, Randon is more than ready for Saturday's race. He has already made history this season, by becoming the first Yale athlete to win Heps since Jim Gibson '91 did in 1989, and by running the seventh-fastest time in Ivy League Championships history. He has just run two personal bests in a row and will certainly be looking for another in his final collegiate cross country race.

The last time the NCAA National Championships were held in Terre Haute, Ind., was two years ago. In that race, Kevin Dooney '16 put on one of the strongest performances of his career, becoming the first Eli to earn All-American honors for cross country since 2004. With a fast run, earning this award is certainly a possibility for Randon.

The meet will take place at the LaVerne Gibson Cross Country Course, in Terre Haute, Ind. Further information, including live updates from the meet, can be found here. Randon's race begins at 12 noon. However, also be sure to follow the Yale women's team who will be competing as a team at this meet for the first time since 2001. Their race begins at 11 a.m. Full results and a recap will be posted on the evening following the race.

Report by Joseph Battles '18, Yale Sports Publicity