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Elis Take Eighth at Regionals

Alex Conner (left) and Kevin Lunn (right). (Photo by David McNamara '78)
Alex Conner (left) and Kevin Lunn (right). (Photo by David McNamara '78)

Bulldogs Take Another Step Forward in Final Race of 2012

MADISON, Conn. – In its final race of the season, the Yale men's cross country team preformed to expectations by nabbing eighth place at the NCAA Division I Northeast Region Championships with 248 points. Times on the course at Hammonasset State Park were quite fast, and the Bulldogs' result was a major improvement over last year's 11th-place showing. The team title went to No. 4 Iona (45 points), putting an end to No. 14 Syracuse's three-year streak.

As he has done in all but one meet this season, sophomore Matthew Nussbaum led the way for the Elis, finishing the 10K course in 31:09.9 for 24th place. Nussbaum was the ninth-fastest underclassman in the race. Sophomore John McGowan ran his best race of the year to claim 42nd place in 31:24.5. Senior captain Kevin Lunn cut close to a minute and a half off his time from last year, crossing the line in 31:36.3 and taking 53rd place. Freshman Alex Conner continued his late-season emergence with a strong time of 31:39.1, good for 59th place. Conner was the seventh freshman to breast the tape. Rounding out the Yale scorers was senior Demetri Goutos, whose time of 31:54.4 earned him 70th place. Sophomore Isa Qasim (90th – 32:09.7) and senior Timothy Hillas (146th – 33:01.1) played the role of displacers for the Bulldogs.

It being the final meet of the season, Friday's race marked the close of several illustrious Yale cross country careers. Lunn, elected captain last fall, overcome an injury his freshman year to become a mainstay on the Bulldogs' varsity squad and one of its most consistent runners. In 2011 he was named to the All-Ivy Second Team and the Academic All-Ivy Team. Goutos also was sidelined for portions of his career by injury and illness, but each time was able to return to contribute as a regular scorer for the Elis. Hillas, the captain of the track and field team, ran cross country for the first time this year, and effected an immediate and enduring impact.

In summing up his team's season, coach Paul Harkins noted that the Bulldogs had shown improvement both over last year and week-over-week at nearly every meet this season. Looking ahead, he intimated that the program is "capable of big things."

"We have improved a ton this year and are significantly better than we were a year ago," he said. "The guys want big things for this program, [both] this year and in the years to come."

The Elis will be granted a month-long respite before setting foot on the oval for the first indoor track meet.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity