Men’s Cross Country Team Kicks Off 2011 Season

New Year, New Coach

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – On Saturday, Sept. 10, the men's cross country team will compete in its first meet of the season. Fordham University will host the Fordham Fiasco and Follies Invitational at the storied Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. This year, the team welcomes eight new members, including a new head coach; Paul Harkins enters his first year with the Bulldogs, along with seven members of the class of 2015.

Senior captain Nathan Richards said the team is in the process of welcoming Harkins, and is "excited about having a fresh start with him."

Richards heads a group of four other seniors as the veterans of the team. Seniors Conor Dooney, Sam Lynch, Jake McKenzie and Julian Sheinbaum are all entering their last cross country seasons.

Juniors on the team will step into new roles as upperclassmen. Demetri Goutos, Sam Kirtner, Kevin Lunn, Michael Pierce and Matthew Thwaites will look to build on their experience to succeed.

The Bulldogs hope to get contributions from the five sophomores: Julian Caballero, Michael Cunetta, Blake Hofmeister, Ryan Laemel and Miles Richardson.

Seven freshmen join the squad. Alec Borsook, Daniel Caballero, Tom Harrison, John McGowan, Matthew Nussbaum, Isa Qasim and Jacob Sandry represent the largest incoming class dating back to 2008.

Despite the loss of six seniors, including the top runner from last year, Jeff Perrella '11, and captain Max Walden '11, the team returns the rest of its top squad. Cunetta, Dooney, Goutos, Kirtner, Lynch, Lunn, Sheinbaum and Richards all consistently placed among the first seven runners for the team over the course of the season, and all return.

Buoyed by Perrella's impressive individual finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship last season, the Bulldogs placed 11th overall at the meet. Perrella finished eighth overall, which allowed him to advance to the NCAA National Championship.

This season, the Bulldogs will travel to Harvard on Sept. 17 for the annual show-down, claimed last year by Yale. The New England Championships will take place in Boston on Oct. 8, and the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship (Heps) will be hosted by Princeton on Oct. 29. Finally, the team will journey to Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 12 for the NCAA Regional Championship.

"The team is coming off a strong base of summer training," said Richards. "We have a solid group of fit runners this year that should be able to push each other to faster times. We are looking to do better not only in the Ivy League, but also further into the season with championship races."

The first meet of the season will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. It is intended to recognize the tenth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, tragedy. A ceremony to observe the day will take place prior to the meet at 10:00 a.m. More information can be found at the meet website. Results will be available at www.YaleBulldogs.com.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity