July 18, 2014

2014 Cross Country Season Kicks Off in September

Full 2014 Season Schedule Announced

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The schedule for the 2014 Yale women's cross country season is now live here on yalebulldogs.com. The team will again begin its season this coming September with a traditional tri-meet with ancient rivals, Harvard and Princeton.

In the past two years, only Harvard has attended the race.  The Bulldogs are always closely matched with the Harvard runners. Though they won the meet in 2012, the Crimson overcame the Bulldogs this past year.  On the other hand, Princeton won the HYP tri-meet the three years prior. This year's 5k race on Sept. 12 is sure to be highly competleitive, as the team will square off against these two opponents on their home turf. The meet will be held at the Golf Course at Yale as the only home meet of the season. 

The following weekend, the team will journey to Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y, in order to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions. Van Cortlandt Park will be the site of the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships in November again this year, allowing the team to grow familiar with the important 6k course. Last year, the Iona Meet of Champions served to showcase the talents of incoming freshmen, who helped the team to a 13th-place finish among multiple regional competitors.

After taking a week to recover, the Bulldogs will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to compete in the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh. As the meet includes both varsity and open races, many members of the team will enter the tough competition. 

Head Women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla said the meet "offers great competition and an opportunity to compete against teams from different regions of the country." In fact, the field at the Paul Short Invitational has included competition from both Ivy League and regional contenders in the past, and will likely provide worthwhile experience as the team prepares to challenge these opponents later in its championship meets.

Similar to the Paul Short Invitational, the New England Championships on Oct. 11 also includes the opportunity for all Yale athletes to compete in varsity or junior varsity races. The Bulldogs have done well at the meet in recent years—nabbing third last year despite the large, competitive field. The course at Franklin Park in Boston is one returning runners are well acquainted with, as they raced at the site multiple times during the 2013 season. 

Yale adds a new competition to the schedule this year, as the team will travel to Terre, Haute Ind. to compete in the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet. There, the Bulldogs will test their progress on the LaVerne Gibson Course—the site of the NCAA National Championships at the end of November. Not only will Pre-Nationals allow the team to compete at this important site, but it will also provide Yale's athletes with the chance to overcome teams from outside of the Northeast Region. Besting such teams can earn the Bulldogs at-large points—increasing their chance of being selected to compete in the NCAA National Championships. 

The following weekend, a smaller portion of the team will take on the 3k course at the CCSU Mini Meet in Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, Conn. This shorter race provides some of Yale's runners with the chance to showcase their penchant for middle-distance running—a talent that has added depth to the team's overall presence in the past years.

The remainder of the season belongs to the championship meets—the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Nov. 1 and the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships on Nov. 14. West Windsor Fields in Princeton, N.J. will again be the site of the Heptagonal Championships. The Bulldogs will likely return looking to come back from last year's race, which, while marking personal bests for many of the team's freshman runners, resulted in a disappointing overall finish.

The high stakes competition of November will continue two weeks later when Yale again visits Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx—this time, to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships. The team's placement at this meet in combination with any at-large points it has compiled will determine whether it advances to the Nov. 22 National Championships in Indiana. Eighteen of the spots available for competitors are automatically selected from the top-two teams in each of the nine regions, while the remaining 13 spots are at-large.

Though the Bulldogs were pleased with their 13th-place finish at the Regional Championships last season, they were not satisfied, and they will push to further their standing in the Ivy League and the North East Region this year.  The team will welcome 14 new recruits to aid them in this goal. Check back in August to learn more about Yale's incoming freshman, and returners, led by 2014 Cross Country Captain, Hannah Alpert. 

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity

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