Bulldogs Put Up Personal Best Times Across the Board to Beat Nationally Ranked No. 19 Georgetown and No. 22 Penn, Amongst 42 Other Teams; Third Consecutive Meet Victory
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 29 Yale women's cross country team won its third consecutive meet of the season, outrunning 44 other teams in the Gold Race at the Paul Short Run. The meet, which took place in Bethlehem, Pa., brought together some of the toughest competition that Yale has seen all season. In fact, the top 60 competitors finished within the range of a minute, while over 200 of the 404 runners finished just two minutes after the winner of the race. In spite of the tough competition, the Bulldogs racked up a total of 92 points for the victory while No. 19 Georgetown and No. 22 Penn put together 119 and 127 points for second and third place, respectively.
Regarding today's win, women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla commented, "This was a big step forward for our program today. The women ran to the level we knew were capable of racing. We didn't have a great start off the line, but the team kept their composure and moved up to where we needed to be. It was a great team effort."
"Today was a fun meet," proclaimed senior captain Frances Schmiede. "In the last two miles we were able to put those packs together and run with each other. The fact that we were able to do that in a big race with lots of other people around speaks to how well our trainings' been going. It really makes such a difference in scoring to have our spread be smaller by running in packs."
All 10 Bulldogs in the Gold Run had personal best performances. But as Schmiede points out, what made the race so special is how closely the top athletes ran with each other. The time spread between the leading Bulldog, senior Emily Waligurski, and the fifth-scoring competitor, sophomore Andrea Masterson, was just a narrow 28 seconds. This small margin, the closest spread amongst the top five teams in the Gold Race, demonstrates how cohesive the team ran in beating the competition.
Waligurski led the Bulldogs in this 6k race, running in the very front pack to cross the finish line fifth with a time of 20:15, which averages to 5:26 minutes per mile. Not only does this represent almost a minute's improvement, but it is also her highest finish at any cross country meet. Senior captain Frances Schmiede was not far behind, dropping 30 seconds off her previous career-best mark to take eighth place with a time of 20:22 (5:27 min/mile). Her performance also marks over a two minute improvement from when she ran this same race two years ago.
Just three seconds behind the captain was junior Kelli Reagan, who improved by over 40 seconds to finish in 20:25 (5:28 min/mile) for 13th place, by far her best finish in a cross country meet. Senior Meredith Rizzo and sophomore Andrea Masterson rounded out the team's scorers, running closely together to 31st and 35th with times of 20:41 (5:33 min/mile) and 20:43 (5:33 min/mile), respectively.
However, while these were the Bulldogs' top scorers, the remaining five athletes still put together memorable performances. Junior Dana Klein battled it out in the dense middle pack of the race, dropping a couple of seconds off her time to finish 42nd with a time of 20:50. Meanwhile freshman Gemma Shepherd had a stunning debut this morning, finishing in just 20:56 in the 6k course, potentially one of the fastest times that an incoming athlete has ever run for the Bulldogs. Especially since this was her first race, in time she will probably become an even more critical member of the team. Sophomore Ellie Atkinson only trailed by a few seconds behind Shepherd, finishing in 64th with a personal best of 21:01. Juniors Katherine Raphael and Melissa Fairchild rounded out the Bulldogs' competitors in the Gold Race, running personal best times of 21:15 and 21:30, respectively.
Meanwhile, junior Sarah Healy led the Bulldogs in the Open Race in her 6k debut, finishing 28th with time of 21:52 (5:52 min/mile). Not too far behind her was senior Chandler Olson, who race a significant new personal best on Saturday, finishing in 22:03 for 37th place. In their 6k debut, the freshmen also shined: Lauren Chapey, Jane Miller and Rachel Suss ran closely together to finish 45th, 48th and 47th, respectively, in a race that had over 400 athletes. All three ran slightly over 22:15 (5:58/mile).
The Bulldogs will look to follow up their third consecutive win at next week's New England Championships in Boston. For now, the Bulldogs will relish in this victory, using it to fuel their journey to both the Heptagonal and Northeast Regional Championships coming at the end of this month and the beginning of the next.
Results from today's performances in the Gold Race can be found in the tab above. Results from the Open Race can be found here.
Recap by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity.