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Yale Harriers Gear up for Heptagonal Championships

Yale Harriers Gear up for Heptagonal Championships

Oct. 27, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This Friday, the Bulldogs will travel to the Bronx, N.Y., to compete in the Heptagonal Cross Country Championships. The men will race against the other seven Ivy League teams at Van Cortlandt Park (VCP) at "the Heps," starting the five-mile race at 12:30 p.m. The Bulldogs look to improve upon last year's result with an experienced group of seniors leading a talented team.

Last year, it was Princeton who won the men's competition with a score of 38 points, 29 points ahead of second-place Cornell. Princeton junior Michael Maag won the individual title, crossing the line in 24:37.9. Yale finished in eighth place with 170 points, which was the best score for an eighth-place team in the history of Heps, demonstrating how close the competition was. This year's captain, senior Jake Gallagher, led the Bulldogs with an All-Ivy effort, finishing 13th in 25:12. Gallagher owns the 11th-fastest time on VCP in Bulldog history, running 24:59 in 2006.

Others to watch on the Yale team include senior Murat Kayali, who has the Bulldogs' 16th-best time on VCP after running 25:12 in 2006. Seniors Jared Bell and John Hinkle, as well as junior Jeff Perella and sophomores Matt Bogdan and Max Walden, could also play a big part in leading the Bulldogs to a strong team finish this year.

This year, the Bulldogs have only raced two Ivy teams -- Harvard and Dartmouth -- and have come in second to both. However, the Bulldogs did not race with all of their runners in either of these meets, so they are just as capable as any team of competing for a top-three spot on the Heps podium. The teams to beat will be Princeton (ranked No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic region), Cornell (Northeast No. 3) and Dartmouth (No. 4).

Princeton looks to have an edge going into the meet after receiving votes in the most recent USTFCCA coaches' poll and just barely missing out on a top-30 national ranking.

While the Tigers seem to be the team favorite again this year, 2007 Heps Champion Maag will have to contend against Dartmouth senior Ben True. While True did not race at Heps last year, he was the Heps Champion for cross-country in both 2005 and 2006, has earned All-American honors in cross-country and outdoor track & field, and is the only Dartmouth runner to break four minutes in the mile. Harvard sophomore Daniel Chenoweth may also be in the mix -- he had a strong showing in his last race at the Indiana State Pre-National meet, finishing only seven seconds behind True and running 24:05 over the 8,000-meter course.

Due to construction on the lower fields at Van Cortlandt, the course will be slightly modified from previous years. A map of the modified course, as well as directions to the race, can be found here. Results will be posted on the Ivy League Sports website and on at the conclusion of the meet. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity