September 12, 2006

Men's Cross Country Outlook 2006

Sept. 12, 2006

This fall will be the Bulldogs' seventh season under the command of Dan Ireland and should see the return of the Yale harriers to among the top four teams in the Ivy League. The 2005 season was a disappointing year for the team but will serve as tremendous motivation for this year's squad. The squad will have more talent and depth than Ireland has ever had in his tenure at Yale. When Ireland arrived at Yale he established goals of taking Yale to the top of the Ivy League and solidifying the Bulldogs as a perennial cross country favorite and potential NCAA qualifier year in and year out. This season should continue to show that the Bulldog program has reached that level. The 2006 squad will have a mix of both veteran harriers and talented youth that possess the drive and dedication to success to compete with not only the best in the Ivy League but in the Northeast as well.

The senior class could have the largest impact on the success of the Bulldogs. Senior captain David Napper will be aiming to return to the form that saw him garner second team All-Ivy honors with his 11th place finish as a freshman. After being the squad's fifth man for his first two seasons, Andrew Pitts looks to become one of the top runners on the team and in the Ivy League as well. Brian Gertzen and Brian Hanak will contribute tremendously to the team's depth and quality. Gertzen and Hanak were consistent top seven runners last season and both should run in the top five. Gertzen had a great season on the track last spring and is looking for that success to carry over to the cross country course.

The junior class' contribution will be heavily relied on if the team is to attain its goals. Joe Kingsbery will be looked upon as a potential All-Ivy performer now that he is healthy for the first time since his freshman year. Kingsbery is looking to regain the form that made him one of the top high school cross country runners in New Jersey. Tadhg O'Callaghan comes off a sophomore year which saw him struggle with several injuries. O'Callaghan will be looked upon to be one of the top performers on the squad and has the potential to be an All-Ivy performer. Eric Kerchberger has the necessary talent to make huge contributions. All three will be relied upon if the team is live up to its potential.

The sophomore class is arguably the most talented ever to enter Yale and figures to have a necessary and immediate impact on the squad. Jake Gallagher is looking to regain his high school success after suffering a stress fracture in the middle of his freshman cross country campaign. In high school Gallagher was a member of the Canadian World Junior Cross Country team and finished 78th at the World Championships this past March. In addition, he has personal records of 1:53 (800m), 3:55 (1500m), 8:30 (3000m) and 14:44 (5000m) on the track. Jared Bell and Murat Kayali possess untapped potential on the cross country course. Both are going to be looked upon to be top seven runners for this year's squad. Jacob Bruene, Rolando Garcia and Andrew Samuel are all cross country specialists and will be looked upon to provide the dedication and depth that is required to ensure that the success of Yale Cross Country continues for the next several years.

The freshman class could challenge the sophomore class as possibly the deepest and most talented that has ever arrived on campus at Yale. Maxwell Brown (Alison Park, PA) and Matthew Shaffer (Delmar, NY) will be looked upon to make an immediate impact on the team. Both had great success in high school in cross country and on the track. Nicholas Blixt (Greenfield, MA), Kevin Brown (Cranford, NJ), Max Goldman (Beverly Hills, CA), Alex Harris (Brentwood, TN) and Bryce Scanlan (Manhattan Beach, CA) all have the potential to be top ten runners for the Eli as freshmen.

With the leadership and focus of the upperclassmen combined with the great talent of the younger harriers, the 2006 Yale Cross Country season has the potential to be one of the best in recent history for the Bulldog program. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the prospects for this upcoming season. With the continued dedication and commitment that has become synonymous with the Yale men's cross country team, this fall's lofty goals should be more than attainable.

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