Senior Races Final Collegiate Cross Country Race at NCAA Championships
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—Senior James Randon of the Yale men's cross country team competed in the last race of his collegiate cross country career on Saturday. The meet was the NCAA Division I Championships, which Randon qualified to for the first time this season. In a race that drew 251 of the top collegiate runners from across the country, Randon placed 114th, with a time of 30:58.1. Patrick Tiernan from Villanova won the race, finishing the 10-kilometer course in 29:22.0. Syracuse's Justyn Knight was the runner up, while defending NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek, from Oregon, took third.
Roughly halfway through the race, nearly all of the 251 competitors were within 30 seconds of the leaders, and Randon trailed first place by less than seven seconds. Head Men's Cross Country Coach Paul Harkins described Randon as being "poised to move up," but about four kilometers into the race, Randon's heel was stepped on and his shoe partly dislodged. Coach Harkins explained how this "threw his rhythm and focus a bit," and Randon was unable to maintain contact with the front pack over the latter half of the course. Nonetheless, he ran a strong race despite these setbacks, finishing within 20 seconds of the personal best he set at NCAA Regionals a week ago.
This meet marks the end of a historic season for Randon. He has excelled throughout his time with the Elis, but especially over the past few months and weeks, setting personal-best times and placing highly in prestigious meets. With the graduation of Kevin Dooney '16, Randon stepped up to ensure that the Elis would continue to be represented at the NCAA Championships. He became the first Yale athlete to win the Ivy League Cross Country Championships since 1989, and clinched a spot at the NCAA Championships with a fifth-place finish at NCAA Regionals.
Coach Harkins higlighted Randon's "absolutely fantastic season," adding that "he has a lot to be proud of!" Now, Randon can enjoy some much needed rest over November break before focusing on his upcoming track and field season.
Northern Arizona won the team competition with 125 points, while Stanford edged out Syracuse for the runner-up spot by six points. Dartmouth was the only Ivy League team to qualify to the meet; they placed 25th.
Full results from the meet can be found here.
Report by Joseph Battles '18, Yale Sports Publicity