Oct. 30, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's cross country team will compete at the 32nd annual Heptagonal Cross Country Championship this Friday at 1:30 p.m. The event is hosted annually at the legendary Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y.
The Bulldogs have won this event six times (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2000 and 2001), more than any other team in the Ivy League except for Harvard, which has also won the Heptagonal Championship six times. The Bulldogs' best finish in the last five editions of the event was in 2004, when Yale finished third.
This year, reports generally agree that Princeton, ranked no. 4 in the nation, will be favored in the team event. The Tigers are currently riding a two-year winning streak, and this year they have returned the entire scoring five from last year's 25-point performance, including individual champion Liz Costello, now a junior.
The rest of the Ivy League is ranked regionally. Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth are Northeast region no. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 respectively, with Penn Mid-Atlantic region no. 9. The Bulldogs, ranked no. 14 in the Northeast region, will have their hands full against a set of tough teams. Interestingly, Yale has beaten Dartmouth and Northeast region No. 11 New Hampshire at the Murray Keatinge Invitational on Oct. 4.
The Bulldogs will bring a healthy roster complete with seasoned veterans and talented newcomers to New York. Senior Bevin Peters and junior Stephanie Pearl have alternatively led the team in three of four races this year. The front has been backed up consistently by the freshmen duo of Anne Lovelace and Jennifer Downing, as well as veteran Claire Leatherwood and team captain Kelli Buck. Also watch for junior Stephanie Reaves, who had a breakout performance at the Murray Keatinge Invitational, and senior Kathryn Schleckser, last year's no. 7 runner, to play critical roles at the Heptagonal Championship.
The women's race will take place on a modified 5,000-meter course (Van Cortlandt Park is currently undergoing renovations) after the men's five-mile race, which will be at 12:30 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow the women's race at 2:15 p.m.
report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity