Ireland Has High Hopes For 2003 Season

Sept. 8, 2003

This fall will be the Bulldogs fourth season under the command of Dan Ireland and has the potential to become his most successful. Coming off a disappointing 2002 campaign the Bulldogs are committed to achieving Yale's most successful cross country season in over a decade. 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 show signs that the Bulldog program is headed in that direction. The 2003 squad will again be very young, with over half the squad being either freshmen or sophomores, but very talented. Ireland's squad has aspirations of breaking into the top four at the Ivy League Championships as well as to be in the hunt for an NCAA Championship bid.

This year's squad will again be led by Lucas Meyer '05, who as a sophomore just missed qualifying as an individual for the 2002 NCAA Cross Country Championships with his 10th place NCAA regional finish. Fellow Bulldog harriers aim to follow Meyer's lead and show huge gains from seasons past.

The 2003 squad will be captained by Senior Robert Dwyer, who was a consistent performer in cross country and Indoor Heps scorer in the mile this past winter running 4:09. His leadership as well as his athletic contribution will be essential to the success of the team. The junior class will play a tremendous role on this year's squad. Lucas Meyer, Casey Moriarty and Josh Yelsey were all consistent top-5 performers on last season's squad. Meyer had a very successful sophomore campaign earning All-Ivy honors for his 8th place finish at Heps, All-Regional honors (10th place) and All-East with his runner-up finish at the IC4A Championships. He has aspirations this fall of being first team All-Ivy and garnering All-American status at the NCAA Championships. Moriarty and Yelsey will be looked upon to provide veteran leadership while again solidifying the top five with both being capable of finishing among the top fifteen at the Ivy Championships.

The sophomore class has the potential to be the heart of the squad. Patrick Dantzer, Andrew Johnson, Wyatt Golding, Mark Turner, and Erik Brown will contribute tremendously to the team's depth and quality. Dantzer was the top freshman harrier for the Bulldogs last season as well as one of the top 3 freshmen cross country runners in the Ivy League. His continued development should lead him to be one of Yale's top harriers this season. Johnson and Turner had solid freshmen campaigns but are looking for much improvement this fall with the potential to be consistent top seven performers for the Eli. Golding and Brown will add the quality depth that is necessary to have a successful cross country squad.

The freshman class is quite possibly the best ever at Yale, highlighted by one of Southern California's top distance runners in David Napper (Cypress, CA). Napper comes to Yale with pr's of 4:16 and 9:09 and in cross country finished 15th at the Foot Locker West Regional. Andrew Pitts (Southwick, MA) was a 2-time MA 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. On the track Pitts was the Massachusetts state outdoor mile runner-up and has a personal best of 4:14.14 for the mile. Both Napper and Pitts are tremendous harriers that will play a very important role in the success of this year's squad. Brian Hanak (Alexandria, VA) was a top 20 finisher in the Virginia State cross country championships and has run 9:31 on the track. Brian Gertzen (Linwood, NJ) was a solid contributor to his N.J. State Cross Country Championship team and has track pr's of 1:55 and 4:19. Nathan Clute (Englewood, CO) was a top 5 finisher in the CO state cross country championships while excelling at the middle distances on the track with pr's of 49.7 and 1:53.7.

With balanced contributions from all four classes the 2003 Cross Country season has the potential to one of the best in the history of the Bulldog program. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the prospects for this upcoming season.

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