Bulldogs Take Harvard-Yale Princeton Meet for First Time in Over a Decade; Second Meet Victory
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Yale women's cross country team took home yet another big victory Saturday afternoon, winning the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet by a considerable margin. The team took second through seventh places to rack up a total of 20 points. Harvard took second with 53 points and Princeton came third with 63 points. It's the first time in over a decade that the women take home the Cheever Memorial Trophy, an accomplishment worthy of such a strong squad.
"I'm thrilled with how the team ran today," said the women's cross country coach Amy Gosztyla of today's contest. "We ran in control as a big pack and executed our race plan perfectly. I'm really proud of this group and we're looking forward to building into bigger meets through the year."
Senior Emily Waligurski said, "The whole team was of course excited about the win, and also just proud to be a part of this team. A big, cohesive pack of Yale runners led for most of the race today and it was special to be a part of this strong herd."
Senior captain Frances Schmiede and Waligurski led the charge, running together to finish second and third with times of 19:08.6 and 19:08.9. In just their first race of the season, the pair nearly took home the top two spots but were just outpaced by Harvard's Courtney Smith, who finished less than a second ahead.
Yet the rest of the team was close behind them, taking seven of the top 10 spots. Junior Dana Klein took fourth with a time of 19:16.7 while the trio of senior Meredith Rizzo, junior Kelli Reagan and freshman Andrea Masterson followed shortly behind in 19:19.2, 19:20.5 and 19:19.7, respectively, to take the next three spots.
While those were the runners that scored today, the team as a whole performed very well. As Waligurski put it, "Sprinting through a corn field with your teammates at 10 a.m. not only reminds you of why you love this sport but, more importantly that you are representing the great spirit of Yale."
She rather poetically expressed the importance that all of the athletes have on the overall success, saying "these are the women you've done a million tough workouts with, and you've all made it through, so if your teammate can grind up this hill right now, you probably can too. I'm excited we have such a big group of motivated women ready to train and race together this season."
Clearly, these women are very motivated. In their season debuts, sophomore Ellie Atkinson and junior Melissa Fairchild finished just outside of the top 10, running 19:41.8 and 19:52.5, respectively. And the rest of the Bulldogs had fantastic performances across the board, showing the depth of this year's team.
On her race performance today, captain Schmiede said, "I was happy with it. I have a good sense of what I need to work on in the next weeks of training, which was what I wanted out of today."
She was also happy with today's result, stating, "I'm so pleased with how today panned out, everyone ran very cohesively and worked together with ease."
However, she emphasized the importance of this only being the beginning of what could be a remarkable season: "We're not going to spend too much time thinking about today, it's the start we hoped for but it's only a start. We want to focus on the weeks ahead."
Yet it's also important not to underplay how big this is for the Bulldogs. The women's team has not won this meet since 2002. The team improved a lot from a third-place finish just last season. Going forward, this can prove as a big motivator for the Bulldogs as they train for the Heptagonal Championships, which will also take place in Princeton.
Next up for the Bulldogs is the Paul Short Run in two weeks in Bethlehem, Pa.
Report by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity