October 2, 2012

Yale Enters National Rankings for First Time in 7 Years

Team's Performance at Paul Short Prompts Foray onto National Scene

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a dominant performance at the Paul Short Invitational last weekend, the Yale women's cross country team has garnered a No. 30 ranking in the national poll, conducted by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association. This week marks the team's first national ranking since September of 2005, when the Bulldogs were 25th in the country. 

Last year, the team received votes in the national poll, but fell just short of breaking into the top 30. Last year also marked the Bulldogs' most successful season since 2005, including a fourth-place finish at Heps and sixth at NCAA Regionals. Yale was fourth at Heps and fifth at regionals in 2005; the team also placed fourth at Heps in 2006. That era was marked by the presence of Lindsay Donaldson '08, who finished third overall at the NCAA National meet in 2006. It is remarkable, then, that this year's Bulldogs have achieved a similar level of national prominence and success without the presence of such a singular star.

Instead, three runners have finished first for the team at each of its three meets so far this season, demonstrating that Yale's true strength lies in its depth. Junior Millie Chapman claimed that honor first by winning the Fordham Fiasco to pace the Bulldogs to the overall title. Junior Liana Epstein won the Harvard-Yale dual meet as the Bulldogs bested the Crimson for only the second time since 2006. Last week, senior captain Nihal Kayali finished in 14th overall at the Paul Short Invitational to lead the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish, better than Providence and Villanova, then ranked seventh and ninth in the country, respectively. Those teams have since fallen considerably in the national rankings: Villanova is now 24th while Providence sits just two spots above Yale in 28th. 

The Bulldogs will next compete on Oct. 7 at the New England Championships.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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