Bulldogs Look to Full Team for Strength
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—This coming Saturday, the Yale women's cross country team will compete in its first championship meet of the season. The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships will pitch the eight universities against one another, including nationally-ranked Dartmouth (No. 11), Princeton (No. 23), and Cornell (No. 24). As in the past two years, Princeton will host the meet on the 6,000-kilometer course at West Windsor Fields.
Last year, Yale took fifth place, coming up just 15 points short of Harvard (third- 93 points) and Brown (fourth- 93 points). This year, the Bulldogs have spent the season coming together as a team, in order to construct the united lineup that will compete on Saturday. The team's scoring spread—the time between the first and fifth runners—has decreased by at least ten seconds since the season's beginning, indicating the effort individual runners have made to narrow the gap with the lead athletes.
Senior Liana Epstein and junior Kira Garry are two of these frontrunners. Garry has become the group's top contender lately—earning her best 6k time yet of 21:26 in the massive Wisconsin Adidas Invitational two weeks ago. Epstein—who took second in the team's dual meet with Harvard at the season's start—was not far behind. At the Boston College Invite, the two finished within five seconds of one another.
Senior Captain Millie Chapman will lead the pack behind Epstein and Garry—consisting of junior Hannah Alpert, sophomore Emily Stark, and freshmen Chandler Olson and Meredith Rizzo. As the season has progressed, these runners have also shown their gritty determination. Alpert has seen rapid improvements on her first performance at Harvard-Yale, finishing as the team's third scorer at both the Boston and Wisconsin Invitationals. Stark, after opening up her season at the New England Championships, came through for the team as a top-five scorer in Wisconsin, as well. Freshman competitors Olson and Rizzo have consistently turned out solid times, emerging as two of the most impressive newcomers to the team this year.
Still, Head Women's Cross Country Coach Amy Gosztyla emphasized that the Bulldogs' top competitors have not carried the team alone. They had the help of a few other diligent members, all who have the potential to complete the top seven this weekend. Senior Sarah Barry, junior Anna Demaree, sophomore Elizabeth McDonald, sophomore Shannon McDonnell and freshman Emily Waligurski will all make the trip to New Jersey, having earned the chance to aid the Bulldogs as they strive to match up against their ancient rivals.
Report by Maria Seravalli 16', Yale Sports Publicity