NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Junior Andrea Masterson heads to Louisville, Ky. this weekend to represent the Bulldogs in the NCAA National Cross Country Championship. This is the pinnacle event of the entire sport, bringing together the best runners from all around the country. Each athlete qualified because they were the top athletes in their region. The women's race kicks off at 10:45 a.m. while the men's race will follow at 11:45 a.m. Masterson will be joined by the Columbia and Dartmouth teams in representing the Ivy League.
Masterson qualified for this meet after a powerful performance at last week's NCAA Northeast Regionals. Masterson fought cold, windy conditions to finish 10th overall, third out of all Ivy League runners competing. She crossed the finish line in 22:11.3 to earn the final individual qualifying spot for this meet. It will be her second consecutive appearance at the National Championships.
"Running at Nationals last year was unlike any race I had ever run, what with the tremendously talented field, and the pressure and excitement of running on the national stage," said Masterson of her experience at last year's Nationals. She finished fourth on the team, placing 195th overall with a strong time of 21:23.7. "I crossed the line last year feeling like I hadn't finished where I wanted to be in the field. This time around, I have last year's experience to draw from, and I'm feeling ready to improve on my performance from last year, and hopefully I'll be able to turn some heads."
Masterson has had an outstanding year for the Bulldogs, finishing first on the team in every meet. At Heps, she took home the best placement by a Bulldog since 2006 when she finished runner-up. Earlier in the season, Masterson won the HYP meet by a wide margin.
"Andrea has had the most successful cross country season of any individual in my time at Yale," said head cross country coach Amy Gosztyla of the junior. "She has been our top runner all season long and we couldn't be prouder of her effort and success. She is ready for another great race on Saturday against the best in the country. Her experience competing last year in this meet will be great for her to draw from. The goal is to improve off her finish last year, which she is absolutely ready to do."
Yet obviously this year won't be like the last because she heads to the starting line alone as an individual qualifier. She will have to pace herself, but she's been doing this all year long leading from the front of the pack. As Masterson reflected, "At the end of the day, I'm still representing Yale. Even though I'll be the only one in the Y uniform at Nationals, I know going into the race that there are so many people cheering for me and there for me in spirit."
As was previously mentioned, the women's race will kick off at 10:45 a.m. and will be streamed live on FloTrack. This does require a subscription to the website. Additionally, live results will be available at the link also found above. A story recapping the meet will also be posted within the hours of the meet at yalebulldogs.com.
Preview by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity