Bulldogs Aim to Continue Streak of Success at New England Championships

Michael Cunetta. (photo by Katrina Garry)

Team Returns to Franklin Park for Second Time this Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Coming off a well-rounded seventh-place finish at the ultra-competitive Paul Short Invitational last weekend, the Yale men's cross country team heads to Boston this weekend to race against some of the top talent the northeast region has to offer. The New England Championships, held at Boston's Franklin Park, will pit Yale against approximately 40 other schools, including many of their regional rivals. Last year's race attracted the likes of Boston College, Bowdoin, Dartmouth, Northeastern, Tufts, Quinnipiac and Williams, and the field figures to look similar this year.

After finishing 16th and 17th, respectively, at the meet in 2010 and 2011, the Bulldogs surged to a third-place finish in 2012, finishing only behind Boston College and Dartmouth. While providing an opportunity for the Elis to match or improve on last year's dominant performance, this year's race will also give the team a chance to display the depth of its roster, as several runners slated to compete at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., next weekend will use this weekend for some well-earned rest.

"This meet is one that will showcase our depth and give these guys a chance to shine," said Head Men's Coach Paul Harkins. "I'm excited to see these guys rise to the challenge and lead us to a high finish at New Englands."

All in all, the Elis plan to send nine runners to this weekend's race—seven of whom will compete in the varsity race and two of whom will run the sub-varsity race.

A pair of seniors—Michael Cunetta and team captain Ryan Laemel—will lead the way for the Bulldogs. Cunetta finished seventh on the team at the Harvard-Yale season opener (also held at Franklin Park) and sixth on the team at last year's New England Championships, where he set his 8K personal record (25:19.63). Laemel, meanwhile, has finished just outside the team's top seven in all three races this season. Junior Tom Harrison will be another runner to watch, after finishing seventh on the team earlier this season at the Iona Meet of Champions, where the Bulldogs placed second overall.

Three freshmen are also scheduled to compete in Boston: Ryan Douglas, Dan Grosvenor and David Hatch. Douglas and Grosvenor have both competed in all three races so far this season, and both secured their best times at Franklin Park against Harvard (26:24 and 25:54, respectively). Hatch, competing in the sub-varsity race, will be competing for the second time this season.

Juniors Alec Borsook and Miles Richardson will round out Yale's varsity field, while sophomore Will Botta is slated to compete alongside Hatch in the sub-varsity race. All three competed in the unscored open race at Paul Short last weekend. Borsook has actually competed in every meet of the season thus far, his best time (27:11) coming against Harvard at Franklin Park.

After falling to the Crimson at Franklin Park in the season opener, Harkins is especially energized and excited to return to Boston this time around.

"Having already run at Franklin Park once this year, we will have the opportunity to see how much progress the group has made," he said.

This weekend's men's sub-varsity race will begin at 11:45 a.m., and the varsity race will follow at 1:15 p.m. A map of this weekend's course is available here. Results will be available at www.yalebulldogs.com upon conclusion of the meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity