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Bulldogs Hope to Bounce Back in NYC

Isa Qasim. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Isa Qasim. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Team Hopes to Build on Last Week's Season Opener

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Following a tough loss to rival Harvard in its season opener last weekend, the Yale men's cross country team seeks to build momentum as it travels to New York City to race at the 19th annual Brother John "Paddy" Doyle Iona College Meet of Champions this Saturday. The Bulldogs last competed at the race—held annually at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx—in 2009. After squaring off against the Crimson last weekend, the Elis will encounter another Ivy rival in New York, as Brown is slated to compete at this year's Iona Meet. In all, Yale will be competing against 18 other schools, including many regional foes like Boston College, Manhattan, Northeastern, Quinnipiac and UMass Lowell. Iona, the meet's host, is one of the top teams in the country, and the USTFCCCA ranked the squad 13th overall and second in the northeast region in its most recent rankings.

The Bulldogs are more than familiar with the course at Van Cortlandt Park, as the team typically competes there once a year—at either the Iona Meet or the Fordham Fiasco. The Elis followed up a third-place showing at the Fordham Fiasco in 2011 with a dominant first-place performance in 2012. Given its history of success in the Bronx, the team seems poised for a breakthrough showing.

Despite coming up short against Harvard last weekend, the Elis put on several promising individual performances. The Bulldogs' younger runners ran especially well in the opener, and they will seek to continue to improve against a wider field of competitors this weekend.

Sophomore Alex Conner finished sixth overall with a time of 25:01 in the 8K last weekend and was the Elis' top runner. Meanwhile, freshman James Randon's 25:10 time against Harvard could be a sign of better things to come, given that he finished just shy of the 25:00 mark—a time only two of last year's freshmen managed to crack throughout the 2012 season.

Junior John McGowan was the third Eli to finish last weekend, finishing only three seconds behind Randon in eighth place. McGowan's time was just more than three seconds slower than his personal record (25:09.8), and—with the first race of the season under his belt—McGowan figures to continue to threaten that time as the season progresses.

Freshman Andre Ivankovic, junior Isa Qasim and sophomore Duncan Tomlin will all be hoping to record their second consecutive finishes in the team's top seven. Senior team captain Ryan Laemel, meanwhile, will be looking to crack the top seven for the first time this season after finishing just above the 26:00 mark against Harvard.

Sophomore Kevin Dooney and freshman Daniel Grosvenor will also be runners to keep an eye on in the Bronx. The pair finished within one second of each other last weekend, finishing 15th and 16th overall, respectively. Dooney was one of the two freshmen to crack the 25:00 mark last season, and he will be seeking to duplicate that feat this year. Grosvenor—ESPN's Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2012—will be looking to add to his already impressive cross country resume in just his second collegiate race.

Spike Sievert, another Bulldog freshman, will be competing in his first collegiate race after sitting out last weekend's contest with the Crimson. He finished fifth in the Washington 3A state cross country championships in high school, where he captained both the track and cross country teams.

The men's 8K race (course shown here) will begin at 10:15 a.m. following the conclusion of the women's 6K race. The official Iona Meet program—which includes information on all competing teams, athletes and course records—is available here.

Full results will be available on following the conclusion of the race on Saturday.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity