Last Meet of Regular Season
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale cross country team will compete in a hugely stacked field this weekend at the Penn State National Invitational. Hosted by Penn State in University Park, Pa., this race draws nearly 300 runners from 28 NCAA Division I and Division II schools around the country. This is the Bulldogs' last meet of the regular season before competing in championship meets.
Last year was Yale's first competing at this high-caliber competition, when the Bulldogs tied for 13th among a field of 28 teams. Up to 12 runners from each team can compete, and Yale will bring a mix of athletes who know the course from running it last year and athletes for whom a meet of this size is new.
The 6k race is on Penn State's Blue/White Golf Course. 6k is the standard NCAA championship distance; the Bulldogs will run a 6k course at the Heptagonals Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in two weeks.
The last time the Bulldogs ran a 6k course, at the Iona Meet of Champions, they finished in an incredibly tight group that had run together throughout the race. Freshman Elizabeth Marvin was Yale's first finisher in 24:01.43, and sophomore Anne Lovelace, who was Yale's fifth runner, crossed the finish line only eight seconds later.
Now that the team has had more time to train together, hopefully they can race in a tight pack again. The Bulldogs who should be a part of that pack include Marvin, Lovelace (who was Yale's top finisher at the Harvard-Yale meet two weeks ago), freshman Nihal Kayali (who has been doing better every race), senior captain Stephany Reaves and senior Stephanie Pearl.
The host, Penn State, is currently ranked 16th nationwide in the USTFCCCA poll. Third-ranked West Virginia will also be at the invitational, as well as several teams that are ranked in the northeast region: Providence (2), Boston College (3), Stony Brook (4) and UConn (10). Ivy League competitors Penn and Cornell (6) will also be competing. Yale will have to work hard to prove itself against these teams.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity