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New England Championships Offers Vast Field

Sarah Barry. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Sarah Barry. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs to Compete in Varsity and Junior Varsity Races

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—This Saturday, Yale women's cross country returns to Boston's Franklin Park for the third time this season to compete in the 123rd annual New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships (NEICAAA). This time around, the team will bring 11 competitors—nearly twice its usual squad, as the meet includes both varsity and junior varsity races. 

Head Women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla mentioned some of the individual goals each runner will aspire to this weekend, saying, "We'll look to juniors Kira Garry and Anna Demaree for leadership and depth from sophomore Elizabeth McDonald and freshmen Chandler Olson and Meredith Rizzo."   

Last year, Demaree led her team to a sixth-place finish overall in the meet. Garry has proven invaluable so far this year, having run the fastest 5k-time of any Bulldog this season (17:55) at the Boston College Invite. In the Iona Meet of Champions, Rizzo finished first among a smaller squad of Yale runners. In addition, Olson has shown herself to be a promising competitor thus far, finishing second on the team at Harvard-Yale and fourth at the Boston College Invite.

Moreover, the team is excited to compete alongside sophomore Emily Stark and senior Sarah Barry in their first races of the season this weekend. In 2011, Barry finished second on her team at the NEICAAA Championships. While this will be Stark's first time competing in the meet, she will enter it with the name she made for herself during her freshman year, in which she finished as the team's third scorer at both the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and the Northeast Regional meet. 

Competing for the Bulldogs in the junior varsity race will be freshmen Emily BarnesRachel Jones and Emily Waligurski, as well as sophomore Shannon McDonnell. Jones last competed two weeks ago in the Boston College Invite, while the remaining three runners helped a squad of the team's underclassmen and shorter distance runners to overcome five regional competitors at the Iona Meet of Champions the week prior. With this weekend's race, the four will look to improve on their performances and gain the experience and preparation necessary to help their team advance as the season progresses.

As the NEICAAA includes 67 colleges and universities from six New England states, this weekend's race will attract a large and diverse field of competition. Last year, 37 teams participated, allowing for vast numbers in each race.

Coach Gosztyla emphasized the size of meet, explaining, "This is a great meet for us to get some bigger meet experience before heading into the Wisconsin Invite next weekend, and the Championship part of the season.  The New Englands sees competition from D1, D2, and D3 schools, and will be the largest meet of the season to date."

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity