Bulldogs Fall Just Short of Top-Three Finish at Heps

Liana Epstein (credit Jim Hudson).

Kayali Places in Top Ten

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Yale women's cross country team went into the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships buoyed by their first national ranking in seven years, as well as victories over Harvard and other ranked teams during the course of the season. Unfortunately, they fell just short of their lofty goal of a top-three finish at Heps on Saturday, earning 108 points to place fifth. They were just 15 points shy of the two teams tied for third-place, Brown and Harvard, in a heart-breakingly close 6,000-kilometer race. Despite the setback, the team will have time to regroup before taking on the Northeast in the NCAA Regional on Nov. 9, where they will try to get their revenge.

Senior captain Nihal Kayali had an outstanding ninth-place finish for the Bulldogs, leading the team at 20:49.0. Junior Liana Epstein was not four seconds behind, in 11th place at 20:53.5. Freshman Emily Stark was part of a huge pack that crossed within one second, placing 21st in 21:08.8. Another pack of Bulldogs followed to round out the team's scoring positions: senior Caitlin Hudson was 34th in 21:41.5 and sophomore Anna Demaree was 35th in 21:41.8. Freshman Isabel Amend (41st – 21:54.8) and sophomore Kira Garry (58th – 22:10.1) did some valuable displacing of Princeton and Harvard runners as Yale's sixth and seventh runners. Junior Sarah Barry (60th – 22:12.8), senior Annelies Gamble (62nd – 22:17.8), senior Elizabeth Marvin (70th – 22:31.8) and senior Jennifer Donnelly (79th – 23:00.0) also competed for Yale.

Kayali and Epstein were named second-team All-Ivy for their efforts.

Cornell won the women's team and individual titles, with senior Katie Kellner taking the race in 20:28.5. Cornell also had the second- and third-place finishers. Their 31 points was by far the lowest total of the day, although the race for second-place was extremely close; Princeton claimed that honor with 91 points, followed by Brown and Harvard with 93 points. Both Dartmouth and Columbia were competing without their All-American racers: sophomore Waverley Neer of Columbia and junior Abbey D'Agostino both sat out this year. Their presence surely would have shaken up the finishes significantly.

The Bulldogs will host this year's NCAA Northeast Regional at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, Conn.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity