September 17, 2009

Bulldogs Ready to Open Season

Compete Saturday at Van Cortlandt Park and Quinnipiac

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men’s cross country team will compete for this first time of the season this Saturday in two different invitationals: at the 15th Annual Br. John “Paddy” Doyle/ Iona College Meet of Champions at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, and at the Quinnipiac Invitational in Hamden, Conn. These meets will give the team a chance to see what all of its members can achieve this year.

As head coach Daniel Ireland acknowledged, the team is undergoing a transition.

“We graduated three of our top four runners this year,” said Ireland. “Jake Gallagher in particular will be tough to replace.” This is Ireland’s 10th season in charge of the Yale program, and it will be interesting to see who ends up leading the Bulldogs’ pack.

The team will rely on leadership from senior captain Chris Labosky, who was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American men’s track and field/cross country third team this summer. Labosky is capable of running sub-25:00 at Van Cortlandt Park, and was the consistent second runner for Yale his sophomore year.

Fellow senior Jeff Perrella, who transferred to Yale last year from the College of William and Mary, contributed greatly to the team in his first year as a Bulldog, finishing amongst Yale’s top five at the Heptagonal Championship and NCAA Regionals. Perrella will probably be the fastest Eli at many of the races this fall.

One of the other seniors on the team with potential to perform well is Kevin Brown, who has been a strong distance runner on the track team during his years at Yale, but has never competed during the cross country season. Brown, whose personal record for the mile is 4:11.44, should be able to compete well in the longer distances of the fall. Seniors Max Brown and Alex Harris could also end up being a great help to the Bulldogs.

Sophomores and juniors will make up most of Yale’s top-10 pack. Junior Max Walden is definitely one of those runners; he finished in Yale’s top five at both Northeast Regionals and the IC4A Championships at the end of last season. Other juniors with potential include Matt Bogdan, Chris Scavone and James Wyper.

Sophomore Julian Sheinbaum will likely be one of the consistent top-five runners this year. Last year he was the third Eli finisher in the first meet of the year. Other strong sophomores include Jake McKenzie and Nathan Richards, both of whom performed well at the IC4A Championships in 2008, as well as Conor Dooney and Sam Lynch, who is new to the team.

Coach Ireland said of the young team: “Because we had these great seniors last year, a lot of these guys haven’t been battle tested. They didn’t have the chance to be in the top five because there were people ahead of them, and they didn’t have the pressure driving them to be top guy. A lot of these sophomores and juniors are very talented, so we’ll see.”

Many of the freshmen have the potential to perform well this season, too. The Bulldogs added five members of the class of 2013 to the squad: Demetri Goutos (Sarasota Springs, N.Y.), Sammy Kirtner (Eugene, Ore.), Kevin Lunn (Santa Barbard, Calif.), Michael Pierce (Richboro, Pa.) and Matt Thwaites (Burlington, Vt.).

Twelve of the Bulldogs will travel to the famed Van Cortlandt Park this weekend, where they will run the 8k course at the Iona Meet of Champions. The team has not competed in this particular race before, but the Bulldogs did compete at Van Cortlandt three times last season.

As Ireland pointed out, however, because of the runners who dominated Yale’s team for the past two years, “a lot of these guys haven’t seen the course. It’ll be good for them, because it’s the same place that the Heptagonal Championships will be, and the same number of people are allowed to race."

Among the 23 teams competing at the meet are Ivy League rivals Harvard and Penn, as well as the host school Iona College, which won the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships in 2008.

The men start at 10:15 a.m. Results will be posted at FastTrackTiming.com as well as at YaleBulldogs.com after the meet.

Several of the other Bulldogs will be staying in the area and going to Quinnipiac University to compete against nine other schools from the Northeast Conference of Division I (Yale is in the Ivy Group according to the NCAA). The men start at 12:30 p.m. Results will be posted at PlattSystems.com as well as at YaleBulldogs.com.

Report by Kyle Eichner ’12, Yale Sports Publicity