Cross Country Heads North for HYP Showdown

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Jacque Sahlberg. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Team Looks to Build on Last Weekend's Performance

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Buoyed by a second-place finish at the first meet of the season, the Yale women's cross country team will travel to Boston on Saturday to take on Harvard and Princeton in the annual grudge match. Last weekend's meet at Fordham revealed a Bulldog team that is effective at running closely together, and picking up spots as they go. In a smaller meet such as HYP this coming week, teamwork will be critical in achieving a competitive place.

"We're looking to build off of our performance last week at Fordham and continue to work together in a much smaller field size," said head coach Amy Gosztyla.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs finished just nine points behind Princeton, currently ranked No. 19 in the nation. They will look to improve on that finish this weekend. Team leaders from last week, including sophomore Melissa Chapman, who took home the individual title, and junior Jacque Sahlberg, who placed third overall, will try to repeat their roles. The team will also hope to get contributions from freshman Kira Garry, junior Elizabeth Marvin and junior Caitlin Hudson, who scored at Fordham. Senior Madeline Adams, freshman Hannah Alpert, sophomore Sarah Barry, junior Jennifer Donnelly, sophomore Liana Epstein, senior Kristin Johnson, junior Nihal Kayali and freshman Alyssa Laguardia will also try to make an impact for the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Last week, the Tigers were led by a trio of racers. Clare Gallagher, Alexis Mikaelian and Emily de la Bruyere all finished within a minute of each other in places five through seven. Princeton racers claimed the ninth place, and 12-15 as well. Two Bulldogs were immediately behind this last pack, finishing 17th (Marvin) and 18th (Hudson). 

"We feel extremely confident after such a strong showing against Princeton this past weekend, " said senior captain Anne Lovelace. "In particular we've got our eye on Harvard since we've beaten them in the past and our team is looking phenomenal already this season. Based on the performances last weekend and on how everyone's been looking in practice, I think we'll do extremely well this weekend and continue to see people step up and join the front group," she commented.

Harvard competed at the Bryant Invitational last weekend, and had a strong showing from its underclassmen. Though the Crimson appeared to be spread out throughout the finishers, the team boasted four top-20 placers, all freshmen and sophomores.

In all, it appears that the race will be an exciting showdown between very similar teams.

"Every point matters in a small meet," said Gosztyla, "which always makes the Yale, Harvard, Princeton meet so exciting."

The women's 5k will begin at 11:45 a.m. at Franklin Park in Boston. Results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com when they are available.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity