NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's cross country team will send a large contingent of athletes to New Britain, Conn. this weekend for the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Mini Meet. This developmental race will be shorter than the average race, with just a 3k course at Stanley Quarter Park, as opposed to the usual 6k that the women run at other meets. The meet will feature local teams from across the Northeast and will be a crucial experience for the team as they prepare for the highly anticipated Ivy League Heptagonal Championship next weekend.
The team will enter in both the varsity and JV races. However, the Bulldogs will likely elect to rest their top athletes in anticipation of next week's championships. For some of the athletes on the team, however, this will be their last meet of the cross country season. The team can only send 12 athletes to Heps, and with seven spots presumably filled only five of the athletes who compete this week will compete next week. The rest of the team will gear up towards the indoor track and field season in a little over a month. In any sense, this meet will serve as a tune-up for wherever their running careers lead next.
Freshman Gemma Shepherd is entered to run in the varsity race this weekend. The British recruit excels in the 3,000 meter distance on the track, so it is possible that her success might translate to this shorter 3k cross country course. Shepherd last raced in the Paul Short Run, where she finished seventh for the team in the Gold Race, clocking in a quick time of 20:55.7. Also competing at this meet are juniors Melissa Fairchild and Katherine Raphael, who both also competed for the team in the Gold Race at the Paul Short Run.
Bulldogs who competed in the Open Race of that race will compete at this meet as well: this includes freshman Lauren Chapey, junior Sarah Healy and senior Chandler Olson. Senior Emily Barnes will be the final competitor in the Varsity race. She last competed at the New England Championships, where she was the first Bulldog across the line. A number of athletes will also run in the JV race; this will probably include most members of the team who have not had many opportunities to race this season and are uninjured.
With this being the last race for some and a tune-up for others, it is expected that there will be many strong performances this upcoming weekend. The JV race will take place first at 3:00 p.m. at Stanley Quarter Park, and the Varsity race will go down at 3:30 p.m. Results will be posted on yalebulldogs.com as soon as they become available.
Preview by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity