NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's cross country will kick of its season this Saturday at the Fordham Fiasco in the Bronx, N.Y. In its eighth year running, the Fordham Fiasco now honors Fordham's late assistant coach, Ed Joyce, who passed away in 2013.The team's first race of the season will be a five-kilometer race at one of the tougher courses they will face: Van Cortlandt Park.
Though it will be the first time any of the athletes of this team will compete at this meet, the Bulldogs have competed at the Fordham Fiasco before. Most recently, in 2012, Yale won the women's race with just 18 points; the Bulldogs even took first through fourth places at the meet. The previous year, the Bulldogs placed second, only behind Princeton.
Based on the meet's history, around 15-18 teams compete at this meet. Regardless of which teams compete on Saturday, the real value of racing this Saturday is that it allows the Bulldogs a chance to compete on the course where the NCAA Regional Championship will be held.
The returning members, like senior captain Frances Schmiede, are very familiar with the wooded hilly trails that await them at Van Cortlandt Park. It was in the Bronx where less than a year ago the team placed second at the 2015 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, the Bulldogs' best result in more than a decade.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the Northeast region, better than the four other Ivy League schools in the region, the Bulldogs are coming off a fifth-place finish at NCAA Regionals in their final meet of 2015.
Though it is not certain who will compete at this meet, one freshman to definitely look out for over the next few seasons is Gemma Shepherd, the British recruit who had a monstrous track season this past spring. Her times in both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs were ranked nationally, and she won a number of cross country championships. Though this might be her first collegiate race, her talent will surely make her a force to be reckoned with on the first day. Other recruits in this year's freshman class will also be key members to watch as they adjust to the collegiate caliber of racing.
The women's 5K race will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Results will be posted on yalebulldogs.com as they become available.
Preview by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity.