Collective Team Effort Showcased in Varsity, JV Races
BOSTON, Mass.—This Saturday, a team of eleven Yale cross country runners stepped up to the starting line of the New England Championships in Boston, Massachusetts. The course at Franklin Park was one that nearly all of the day's competitors had previously run this season. Their practice and dedication thus far this season was showcased in the team's third-place finish. In a meet of this magnitude, this top-tier score required that the Bulldogs best 40 other teams from D1, D2, and D3 teams across New England. They team racked up only 180 points, with New Hampshire winning the meet with 57 points and UConn coming in second with 167 points.
As the meet featured varsity and junior varsity races, ample opportunity was afforded to nearly all the team's members to compete. In 13th place out of a field of 283 runners, Kira Garry finished the course first of her teammates, running a strong race of 17:56—just one second off her best of the season. The team's second scorer in 35th place was sophomore Elizabeth McDonald in 18:26. "McDonald really stepped it up," Head Women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla said of the sophomore's best performance of the season yet.
Junior Anna Demaree finished just seconds behind McDonald with yet another season best mark of 18:29. Demaree's notable 39th-place performance earned her the third best individual finish of the day. Freshman Chandler Olson crossed the line only two seconds later in 18:31 (41st). In 52nd place, fellow freshman Meredith Rizzo (18:40) took to the 5k course in her best time of the season.
With all top-five scoring members of the team breaking 19 minutes, and the team's seventh and eighth runners contributing markedly to the team effort in their very first season races, the team's outlook is bright. Coach Gosztyla conveyed that the squad was very happy with the day's outcome, and championed the meet as a great collective team effort.
"We did a really good job getting out strong early in the race…we competed very tough this weekend," she explained. "It's a really good sign of things to come when we get the whole varsity group together over the next few weeks."
The remaining competitors this weekend showed the same cooperative effort in the junior varsity race, including positioning themselves in the top of the field early on in the race. Placing 4th, freshman Emily Waligurski took the team's top spot in 18:58, her fastest finish of the season. Sophomore Shannon McDonnell—competing in the 5k distance for the first time this season—took 9th place in 19:06 out of the field of 299 runners. Freshman Rachel Jones (35th- 19:42) and Emily Barnes (110th- 20:36) further contributed to the group's strong overall effort.
The team will travel to Madison, Wisc. next week for a similarly large meet, the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.
Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity