September 10, 2008

Men's Cross Country: 2008 Outlook

Sept. 10, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - There is plenty of optimism surrounding the Yale men's 2008 Cross Country squad. This fall will be the Bulldogs ninth season under the command of Dan Ireland and should see the return of the Yale harriers to among the top four teams in the Ivy League. This season's squad will have tremendous senior leadership and plenty of young talent. This season's group will have a mix of both veteran harriers and talented youth that should possess the drive and dedication to success that will allow them to compete with not only the top teams in the Ivy League but in the Northeast as well.

The senior class will be heart of this year's squad and should have a huge impact on the success of the Bulldog's season. Jake Gallagher returns as the team's captain and is a 2-time All-Ivy performer in cross country. Gallagher is one of only 10 Bulldogs to ever break 25:00 at Van Cortlandt Park (VCP). He posted huge pr's on the track last year as well running 3:46 for 1500m and 8:12 3000m. He will also be looking to secure a trip to the NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier. Murat Kayali hopes to improve upon his 15th place finish at the 2006 conference championships with a top 10 showing and is also looking to run sub 25:00 at Van Cortlandt Park. Jared Bell will also be aiming for All Ivy status after having finished 6th at the IC4A Cross Country Championship running 25:26 at VCP. In addition Bell ran 3:44 for 1500m on the track last spring making him the top returning 1500m runner in the conference. John Hinkle had a tremendous Summer of training and has the necessary talent to make a huge contribution and be a consistent top seven performer. Andrew Samuel will also be relied upon if the team is to live up to its potential.

The junior class is will play a pivotal role towards the success of this year's team. Chris Labosky had breakthrough seasons in both cross country and track. He finished the cross country season as the team's number two harrier running 25:30 at VCP. On the track he went to another level running 2:25 for 1000m indoors and finishing 3rd at the Outdoor IC4A's in the 800m where he ran a personal best 1:49.48 in the trials. He is capable of running sub 25:00 at VCP. Max Brown was a consistent top seven runner during his freshmen cross campaign and will be aiming to regain that consistency this fall. Transfer Jeff Perrella (Westfield, NJ) should add immediate depth and talent to an already talented class and has run 14:35 for the 5k. He possesses untapped potential on the cross country course and will be looked upon to provide the dedication and depth that is required for this year's squad to compete with the top teams in the league.

The sophomore class will be looked upon as the foundation for Yale cross country to build up for not only this season but for the next two years and beyond. Johnny Van Deventer should be the leader of this group having finished been a consistent top 5 performer for the squad last season as a freshmen and posting times of 8:21 (3000m) and 14:44 (5000m). Max Walden should be another top performer for the Elis this fall having run 8:33 and 14:59 on the track last spring. Matt Bogdan will also be looked upon to be a top 7 runner after posting track PRs of 8:41 (3000m) and 9:25 (steeple) this past spring. Peter Vizcarrondo, Chris Scavone, James Wyper, and David Demres all possess the potential to be strong contributors to Eli cross squad this fall.

The incoming freshman class consists of four seven athletes whose strengths reside both on the cross country course and on the track. Julian Sheinbaum (Scarsdale, NY) leads this group bringing pr's of 4:11 mile and 9:01 3200m as well as a top 15 finisher at the Northeast Footlocker Regional. Conor Dooney (Dublin, Ireland) comes to Yale as a seasoned harrier over the 8k distance and brings a track pr of 8:36 3000m as well. Jake McKenzie (Philadelphia, PA) should challenge to be part of the squad that competes at Heps and comes to the Elis with high school bests of 4:16 mile and 8:48 3000m. Nathan Richards (Lynchburg, VA) was a top 8 finisher at the Virginia state meet both in cross country and during indoor track at 3200m.

Add together the leadership and focus of the senior class plus the abundant talent of the juniors and sophomores, throw in the new energy of the freshmen and the 2008 Yale Cross Country season has the potential to be one of the best in recent history for the Bulldog program.