Underclassmen Gain Practice at the Site of the Regional Meet
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale women's cross country team heads to the Bronx this Saturday, looking to continue its winning streak at the 20th annual Iona Meet of Champions. This is the second consecutive year the team has returned to the course, though it previously had not entered the meet since 2009. This is likely due to the meet's location in Van Cortlandt Park, which will again be the site of the NCAA Regional Meet this season. According to Head Women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla, the team will also return to Van Cortlandt Park for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in 2015.
Traditionally, the meet serves as an opportunity for the team's younger and middle-distance runners to compete, while the team's frontrunners take a weekend to rest. The practice at Iona provides a chance for these members to gain experience competing on one of the most important courses of the season.
"The goal of this meet is to work on pack running and closing the gap between our top five and the next five runners," explained Gosztyla. "I'm excited to see the team in action again and to build upon our great performance last week."
The Bulldogs' spirits are indeed high as they enter the meet, bolstered by a remarkable jump in the regional rankings released this past Monday by the USTFCCCA. The achievement—which leaves them at No. 7 in the Northeast region—came after they not only won back the title Harvard had stolen the year before, but also held their own against the nationally-ranked Princeton competitors. Much of this was due to breakthrough performances by freshmen Samantha Glass and Dana Klein, who fought their way into the team's top-five. While senior Kira Garry, junior Emily Stark and sophomore Emily Waligurski will give themselves time to recover this week, the performances of these three members were also crucial to the team's overall score.
Junior Shannon McDonnell, who finished in the team's top-seven last week, is also likely to lead her teammates this weekend. Some sophomores who look to have an impact on Saturday include Meredith Rizzo and Frances Schmiede. Rizzo finished first for the team at this meet last year, helping the Bulldogs to overcome five of their competitors from the Northeast Region. In fact, the meet tends to be packed with teams the Bulldogs will face again when the championship season starts in November.
The women's race will begin at 9:30 a.m. See here for a course map. Results will be posted at the same location when available, as well as on yalebulldogs.com.
Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity