Season Begins at Home against Harvard and Princeton on Sept. 12
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—As summer winds down, the Yale men's cross country team is less two months away from kicking off its 2014 season. The team will be looking to improve on last season's strong performances as it prepares to take on a nearly identical schedule of meets as in 2013. Last season marked the first time since 2007 that Yale had opened its season against rival Harvard, and the Elis will again join the Crimson in their season opener this year. This year's opener—which will be held at Yale this season, unlike in 2013—poses an especially exciting challenge because it will include both Harvard and Princeton. Although the Harvard-Yale-Princeton cross country meet has an extensive history dating back to the 1920s, Princeton last competed at the meet in 1998, making this year's event even more highly anticipated than usual.
Following its meet with Harvard and Princeton, the team will compete at five additional regular season meets in September and October (the same five meets as in 2013) before traveling to Princeton for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) on Nov. 1 and The Bronx for the Division I NCAA Northeast Regional Championships two weeks later. Last season, the Bulldogs excelled at Regionals, placing seventh—their best finish at the meet in nine years. Following the 2014 Regionals, the Elis will hope to have qualified as a team for the Division I NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., slated for late November. Junior Kevin Dooney qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual last season, but this year's squad has its sights set on a team qualification.
The Bulldogs' second meet of the season following the Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet will be the Iona Meet of Champions—important largely because it is held at The Bronx's Van Cortlandt Park, the same venue as Regionals. Yale placed second overall at the meet last season, and the Elis will head to New York with high expectations again in 2014. The team will then head to Bethlehem, Pa., to run at the Paul Short Invitational, where the Bulldogs placed seventh last season. The Elis will next travel to the New England Championships in Boston before making the trek to Terre Haute, Ind., for the highly competitive Pre-National Invitational—held on the same course as the NCAA National Championships—for the second straight year. The field at last season's Pre-National Invitational included three of the top five teams in the country (Colorado, Oklahoma State and Oregon), as well as five of the top 10 (Tulsa and Princeton), in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll at the time. The CCSU Mini Meet hosted by Central Connecticut State University will once again serve as the team's regular season finale, as well as its final tune-up before Heps and the rest of the postseason.
Head Men's Cross Country and Middle Distance Coach Paul Harkins will coach the Elis for his fourth season, while David Shoehalter will be entering his fifth season as Yale's Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field. Senior John McGowan, a global affairs major from Washington, D.C., will take over as team captain. As many as eight impressive incoming freshmen will potentially run for the team this season, joining an already deep, talented and improving roster that finished last season ranked seventh in the Northeast Region.
The complete Yale men's cross country 2014 schedule can be found here.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity