Bulldogs Take 10th at New England Championships

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The Yale men's cross country team. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Borsook, Cunetta and Harrison Set Personal Records

BOSTON, Mass.—Competing at Boston's Franklin Park for the second time this season, the Yale men's cross country team put their depth on display on Saturday with a 10th-place finish in an especially competitive field of 41 schools at the New England Championships. Thanks in large part to strong finishes by ­­­­­­­­­­senior Michael Cunetta and junior Tom Harrison, the Elis ended the day with 305 points, finishing just behind MIT (273 points). Central Connecticut State University (74 points), Northeastern (120), Dartmouth (133), Boston University (196) and Middlebury (214) took the top five spots. The Bulldogs previously competed at Franklin Park in the season opener, racing against their rivals in the annual Harvard-Yale meet.

The Elis' strong showing on Saturday was that much more impressive given that several of Yale's top runners used this weekend as an opportunity to rest before competing at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., next weekend. With the exception of Dartmouth, all nine schools that finished ahead of the Elis on Saturday had most of their top runners competing.

"I thought it was solid," said Head Men's Cross Country Coach Paul Harkins. "I thought it was a significantly deeper race this year than a year ago."

Harkins was pleased with the entire team's showing, but singled out the performances of Cunetta (26th place – 25:06), Harrison (38th – 25:18) and junior Alec Borsook (98th – 26:01) as worthy of special praise. All three runners set personal records in Saturday's race.

Harrison and Borsook finished second and fourth on the team, respectively. Cunetta finished first on the team, easily outdoing the time of 25:43 that he ran at Franklin Park earlier in the season.

"That time a year ago or two years ago would have put him in the top 20," Harkins said with regard to Cunetta's finish at the New England Championships on Saturday. "He ran significantly faster than he did on the same course at the Harvard-Yale meet. He would have been number two [on the team] at Harvard-Yale with that time. It was a really good, tough run."

Senior team captain Ryan Laemel (44th – 25:27) also came through with his best race of the season, beating his time from last weekend at the Paul Short Invitational by 25 seconds and finishing third on the team. Freshman Dan Grosvenor tied with Borsook for fourth on the team, finishing just seven seconds slower than his season-best time of 25:54, which he set against Harvard in the season opener. Junior Miles Richardson (104th – 26:07) and freshman Ryan Douglas (163rd – 26:43) finished sixth and seventh on the team, respectively. Freshman David Hatch, meanwhile, posted a 28:01, competing separately in the sub-varsity race.

"I'm pretty excited about the progress we've made," said Harkins. "We're moving up on Harvard a little bit, as well as the rest of the league."

With yet another strong performance under their belts, the Bulldogs will head to Indiana on Oct. 19 for Pre-Nationals—a meet with potentially huge postseason implications. That race will be followed by the CCSU Mini Meet (Oct. 25) and the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Nov. 2).

"We're building some momentum for sure," said Harkins. "I'm very pleased with where we're at and hoping for a big race next weekend as we get ready for Heps."

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity