Oct. 11, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's cross country team will compete at the NCAA Division I Pre-National Invitational (also known as "Pre-Nats") on Saturday. Hosted annually by Indiana State University, the meet marks the beginning of the championship run for teams nationwide, and as such has grown in importance and size over the meet's history. With the Heptagonal Championships two weeks away, Yale is no different.
Pre-Nationals is run on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course which, aside from playing host to Pre-Nationals, is also the course used for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Pre-Nationals is a coveted chance for teams that expect to compete at Nationals to get on the course before the championships. Twenty-three nationally ranked women's teams will be in attendance this year, followed by 58 other teams from around the country that hope to accumulate points in an effort to obtain an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. Teams are awarded points for strong performances in top-rated meets, which generally includes defeating a nationally ranked team. There is no better opportunity to do this than at Pre-Nationals.
Due to the total size of the field, Pre-Nationals has been broken up into three races for the women. The Blue Race, with 38 teams, will be at 12:20 p.m. (EST), and the White Race, also with 38 teams, will be at 12:55 p.m. An open race with five teams will follow at 2:10 p.m.
The Bulldogs will be in the hunt in the White Race, which is rife with strong competition. Colorado (No. 2), Arizona State (No. 6), Princeton (No. 8) and Illinois (No. 10) constitute the peak of cross country power in this race, followed by seven more nationally ranked programs. Yale, currently ranked 15th in the Northeast region, hopes to best some of these teams on Saturday in its quest for an at-large bid. Watch for captain Lindsay Donaldson, who was tenth in the Blue Race last year and third on the same course one month later at the NCAA Championships, to lead the Bulldogs in the effort.
Yale looks to build off second-place finishes at the Murray Keatinge Invitational two weeks ago and Quinnipiac Invitational three weeks ago. Rather than racing a full squad at the New England Championships last week, the women chose to train and prepare for what must be a strong effort at Pre-Nationals.
Meet results will be available at Indiana State's cross country website on Saturday.
report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity