Nov. 9, 2007
New Haven, Conn. - The Yale women's cross country team will compete this Saturday, Nov. 10th, at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. This edition of the championship will be hosted by Harvard University within historic Franklin Park, part of Frederick Law Olmsted's famous Emerald Necklace park system.
Regionals mark an increase in intensity during the cross country season, as teams' hopes of competing at nationals hinge almost solely on their performances at regionals. The top two seven-person teams from each region will automatically qualify for nationals, as well as eighteen at-large teams. At-large bids are awarded to teams based on a point system that takes into account performances throughout the season. Teams that perform well at highly competitive meets, such as the Pre-National Invitational last month, will receive more points than those who win smaller, less competitive meets. In 2001, Yale was selected as an at-large team.
Four individuals that finish in the top 25 of their regional race but are not affiliated with either of the two automatic qualifying teams are also selected, as well as two more wildcard runners from any region. In this fashion, a single region could send six individual qualifiers to the national championship.
Yale, currently No. 11 in the Northeast region, will have its work cut out in Boston, as Providence and Boston College, No. 15 and 24 in the nation respectively, currently occupy the top spots in the Northeast region rankings. Standing between the Bulldogs and the top of the region is a gallery of strong programs also vying for a spot at nationals, including Columbia, Syracuse, Brown, Cornell, Quinnipiac and long-time Ivy League rival Harvard.
Despite these odds, the Bulldogs could potentially place well in the region. In the past four seasons, Yale's lowest finish was a respectable seventh place of 34 complete teams.
Individually, Lindsay Donaldson looks to qualify for the NCAA championships for the fourth straight year and possibly capture a regional title. The senior captain's best result at regionals to date was a second-place finish last year, where she lost to then-senior Salome Kosgei of Iona by six-tenths of a second. With Kosgei unable to defend the crown, Donaldson is a favorite to win regional gold on Saturday.
report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity