NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a few weeks, the Yale women's cross country team will race at the Fordham Fiasco, the official start of the team's 2018 campaign. The Bulldogs will look to continue the consistent success they have experienced the past few years at the conference, regional and national level. With a strong contingent of returners from last year's varsity squad, along with a talented group of incoming first year athletes, the upcoming fall promises to be another successful season.
This season marks the team's eighth season under the leadership of Amy Gosztyla, head women's cross country coach and middle distance and distance track coach. Since 2015, the team has finished among the top three spots at the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships each year. The past two years, Yale has been represented at the NCAA Championships -- by the entire varsity team in 2016 and by senior Andrea Masterson in 2017.
Masterson, the 2018 captain and the team's lead runner throughout the entire 2017 season, will be returning for her final cross country season as a Yale athlete. She started the season with a dominant victory at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton trigonal meet and continued her dominance by earning the runner-up position at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships by less than one second. Despite brutal conditions, she went on to earn an individual qualifying spot at the NCAA Championships.
Masterson will be joined by five other members of the senior class. Ellie Atkinson, Emily Kaplan and Gabrielle Rinne all competed at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship last year and could be scoring athletes during the 2018 season. Seasoned cross country veterans Emma Lower and Kate Zendell could also make an impact during their final seasons as Yale cross country athletes.
All-Ivy athletes Kayley DeLay and Sevanne Ghazarian will be returning as likely point-scorers for the varsity squad. In their first season representing Yale, DeLay and Ghazarian were impactful and consistent point-scorers.
Other members of the sophomore class also will look to contribute on the cross country course after completing solid first years. Middle distance specialists Megan Quimby and Chloe Jensen both completed successful first track seasons and will look to build off that momentum into the cross country season. Zoe Neuchterlein and Sarah Pillard, both with preferences for the longer distances, will also be athletes to watch from the sophomore class.
Junior Jane Miller displayed her impressive ability at the longer distance events during the last cross country season and into the track season, which will serve her well coming into this season. She will be joined by fellow juniors Lauren Chapey, Arianna Lord, Hannah Steffke and Rachel Suss, all athletes who have been consistently progressing while at Yale.
The team will welcome one of the most impressive recruiting classes of first-year athletes in recent memory. There will be seven athletes joining the team, all coming off impressive high school careers at a state, national, and even international level. These new additions, many of whom are cross country and long-distance specialists, could have an immediate impact on the program.
Jocelyn Chau (Toronto, Ont.) recently capped off an impressive high school career with a ninth-place finish at the World Junior Championship in the 1500-meter run. Before Yale, she represented Canada at the PanAm Cross Country Cup, placing seventh individually.
Samantha Friborg (Acton, Mass.) is a middle distance specialist holding 12 school records.
Abigail Long (Mansfield, Mass.), another long-distance specialist, is an individual qualifier for Nike Cross Country Nationals and New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 2 mile.
Morgan McCormick (Wilton, Conn.) finished in the top-20 at Foot Locker Nationals in 2017 and was the 2018 runner-up at the Connecticut State Championship in the 3200-meter run.
Emma Pindur (Bryson County, N.C.) is a multiple-time state champion in cross country, the 800-meter run, and the 4x400-meter and 4x800-meter relay.
Kosana Weir (London) is a five-time English Schools Cross Country qualifier and the winner of Middlesex County Cross Country Championship.
First up for the Bulldogs is the Fordham Fiasco on Sept. 8 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, commencing the eight or nine race season (dependent on championship qualification). In the next race, Yale will go head-to-head against Ivy rivals Harvard and Princeton at Franklin Park in Boston on Sept. 14. The first inter-region competition will take place at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University on Sept. 29. A subset of the team will return to Franklin Park on Oct. 6 for the New England Championships. Those that do not compete at the New England Championships will travel to Wisconsin to race at the Pre-Nationals Invitational the following weekend, providing a preview of the NCAA Championship course and competition. The last meet before the championship season kicks off is the CCSU Mini Meet at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, Conn., on Oct. 20. The championship season begins with the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship on Oct. 27, hosted by Princeton at West Windsor Fields. The Bulldogs then will travel to Buffalo to try to earn a qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships at the NCAA Cross Country Northeast Regional on Nov. 9. The season will conclude with the NCAA Cross Country National Championship in Madison, Wisc., on Nov. 17.
Report by Yale Sports Publicity.