Nov. 12, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's cross country team will compete at the 28th annual NCAA Northeast Regional Championship on Saturday, November 15 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. The meet serves as a gateway meet to the NCAA National Championship, which is hosted annually in Terre Haute, Ind. two weeks after regionals.
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 or the Penn State National, will receive more points than those who win smaller, less competitive meets. In 2001, Yale was selected as an at-large team, which was the last time the Bulldogs went to nationals as a 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.
The Bulldogs will, as they were at "Heps", be up against the odds. Yale is currently ranked 14th in the Northeast region and, standing between them and the top two teams in the region (no. 23 Stony Brook and no. 24 Providence) are eleven very capable teams, including five of the Ivy League programs that finished ahead of Yale in its eighth-place finish at the Heptagonal Championships two weeks ago.
While a team finish that would be high enough to allow a trip to nationals or sending an individual to compete in Indiana seems rather unlikely at this point, the Bulldogs have a habit of finishing ahead of their ranking at this meet. Last year, Yale finished 10th when they had been ranked 11th that week. In the four seasons before that, the Bulldogs worst finish in the 30-plus team field was seventh.
report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity