August 17, 2004

Men's Cross Country Outlook 2004

Aug. 17, 2004

This fall will be the Bulldogs' fifth season under the command of Dan Ireland and has the potential to become their best. Coming off a very exciting 2003 that saw the Bulldogs finish 3rd at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and 4th at the NCAA District Qualifier in addition to having an individual qualifier for the NCAA Championships, there is strong sense of determination to achieving Yale's most successful cross country season ever. The top-three finish was the Elis' best showing at the Heps in over ten years and saw three athletes earn All-Ivy status. When Coach Ireland arrived at Yale he established goals of taking Yale to the top of the Ivy League and solidifying the Bulldogs as a perennial cross country favorite and potential NCAA qualifier year-in and year-out. This season should finally show that the Bulldog program has reached that level. The 2004 squad will have a mix of both veteran harriers and excited youth that possess the talent and dedication to make a strong bid to become Yale's first ever Ivy League Heptagonal Games Men's Cross Country Champions. In addition, the squad has the potential to become the only Yale men's team ever to compete in the NCAA Championships. The 2004 squad will be captained by senior Lucas Meyer, who is coming off one of the best junior years ever by a Bulldog. Meyer was a participant in the NCAA Championships in cross country and in outdoor track in the 3,000m steeplechase. Indoors, he set the school record in the 5,000m and was also a NCAA provisional qualifier in that event. His strong dedication and leadership in addition to his athletic success will be essential to the success of this year's team. Look for Meyer to make a run to become Yale's first Ivy League Cross Country Champion since 1991. The rest of the senior class will play an equally important role on this year's squad. Casey Moriarty and Josh Yelsey were both consistent top-four performers on last season's squad. Moriarty was the IC4A cross country champion and ran sub 25:00 at Van Cortlandt Park in addition to his 7th-place finish at the Heps Cross Country Championships. Yelsey should again provide veteran leadership in the big races while individually looking to garner All-Ivy status as well. Both of these seniors possess the ability to be top five finishers at the Ivy Championships. The junior class will be huge factor in the success of the Bulldogs' season. Patrick Dantzer, Andrew Johnson, Wyatt Golding, Mark Turner, Eric Brown and Scott Peachman will contribute tremendously to the team's depth and quality. Dantzer was the fifth man for the Bulldogs last season and looks to improve upon that position as a junior. He had a great track season, posting times of 4:09, 8:20, and 14:36. Johnson was a consistent top-seven runner last season and has aspirations of breaking into the top five. Golding and Turner had solid sophomore campaigns but are looking for much improvement this fall, with the potential to be consistent top seven performers for the Elis. Peachman and Brown will add the quality depth that is necessary to have a successful cross country squad. The sophomore class has the potential to be the heart of the squad, highlighted by David Napper and Andrew Pitts. Napper comes off a freshman year in which he was the best freshman distance runner in the league in both cross country (only freshman to be All-Ivy) and on the track. He also set four freshman school records. Pitts' freshman campaign was marred by injury, but he is healthy now and looks to be one of the Ivy League's top harriers. In high school he was a two-time Massachusetts state cross country champion in addition to finishing in the top 20 at the Foot Locker Northeast Region in both his junior and senior seasons. Both Napper and Pitts are tremendous harriers who will play a very important role in the success of this year's squad. Brian Hanak, Brian Gertzen, Nathan Clute, and Taylor Matthews will compete for a spot on the varsity squad and will add the determination and devotion that is necessary to make a championship team. The freshman class has a strong mix of potential and uncertainty. Tadhg O'Callaghan (Cork, Ireland) possesses the most cross country experience of the group. O'Callaghan was a member of the Irish Junior Cross Country team that competed at the European Championships and has run 3:57 for 1500m. Joseph Kingsbery (Shrewsbury, NJ) possesses untapped potential on the cross country course. In just one season of high school cross country running he showed that he was one of the top athletes in New Jersey in addition to having run 1:55 and 4:15 on the track. Conor Kilpatric (Seattle, WA) brings the same success along with inexperience to the cross country course. In just his second year of cross country running he was runner-up at the Washington State Cross Country Championships and in the spring was a state finalist in the 800m. These three athletes possess the ability and talent to ensure that the success of Yale cross country continues for the next several years. With senior leadership and focus coupled with the unbridled enthusiasm of the younger harriers, the 2004 cross country season has the potential to be the best in the history of the Bulldog program. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the prospects for this upcoming season. With the continued dedication and commitment that has become synonymous with the Yale men's cross country team this fall's lofty goals should be more than attainable.

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