Team Shows Progress and Promise
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Yale men's cross country team braved foul weather conditions to place sixth at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, improving upon last year's finish by one spot. Junior Kevin Lunn led the way for the Bulldogs for the second week in a row, crossing the line in 25:25. Lunn took 13th place overall, earning second team All-Ivy honors.
Freshman Jacob Sandry (25:42), sophomore Michael Cunetta (25:47), junior Matthew Thwaites (25:50) and senior Sam Lynch (26:10) also scored for Yale by finishing in the team's top five. Rounding out the Yale front seven were senior Julian Sheinbaum (26:14) and junior Sam Kirtner (26:20).
Sandry, who finished 29th overall, was the fourth fastest freshman in the meet. His time was only 2 seconds off what he ran on the same course two weeks ago under clear skies and firm ground.
In general, however, times were on the slow side, owing to what head coach Paul Harkins described as the worst weather he had ever witnessed at a cross country race. The gun went off amidst a driving rain, which quickly turned to snow, creating a muddy and messy course.
Nonetheless, the Elis stuck to their game plan and managed to put together a strong team performance. Harkins was particularly pleased with the tactics of Lunn and Sandry, both of whom were able to gradually pick off other runners over the course of the race and finish with strong kicks. He also felt that the team showed impressive mental toughness.
"Course conditions and weather like we had today would have made it easy to mentally break down, but the guys weathered the storm well," said Harkins. "It was an ugly day out there, but the guys ran tough!"
As expected, ninth-ranked Princeton took home the team title with 37 points, but not without some pressure from No. 28 Columbia (51 points). Yale's tally of 162 points placed it between Cornell (125 points) and Harvard (184 points).
Despite missing some its key runners, Yale was able to move up a spot in the Ivy League standings from last year. To Harkins, this indicates the substantial progress his team has made in his first year at the helm.
"I am proud of the guys for how well they competed today and even more excited to get back to Heps and do it again next year," he said. "The men have responded really well to me since I've been here and I am excited to see them progress this year."
Full race results are available at www.ivyleaguesports.com.
Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity