Cross Country Women, Week 1

A little old and a little new for Brown at the Nassaney Invitational in Smithfield, R.I., where the Bears finished fourth in a large field. The old was senior Elaine Kuckertz, who was 10th overall in 18:36.5 for 5k. The new was two-time Massachusetts state champion Charlotte Walmsley, who was 12th in 18:42.9. Teams in front of Brown were Harvard, Boston College and Quinnipiac.

It is great to see sophomore Waverly Neer back on track, at the front of the pack at the Vermont Invitational. She won the individual title, covering 5k in 17:41.1, more than seven seconds ahead of the No. 2 finisher, teammate Erin Gillingham. Columbia’s top five all finished in the top seven overall to give the Light Blue the team title.

No. 30 Cornell followed a similar script as 2011 — just follow co-captain Katie Kellner, who finished first in a victory over Army and Binghamton on a muggy Friday night in West Point, N.Y. Kellner finished the 5k course in 17:02.50, more than five seconds ahead of junior Devin McMahon. There is also a new star afoot for the Big Red, as a freshman was the fourth Red runner across the line. Don’t be too surprised, her name is Caroline Kellner.

What happens when you bring two of the nation’s top-10 programs — defending national champion Georgetown and No. 9 Syracuse — to the Dartmouth Invitational? Big Green junior Abbey D’Agostino simply crushes them. Despite the level of competition, D’Agostino finished the newly-designed 6k course at Hanover Country Club in 20:48.0, 35 seconds clear of the field. In the process, Coach Mark Coogan’s Big Green defeated the highly-acclaimed Orange and held tough with G’town (33-57). Freshman Christie Rutledge, an oft-injured star at habitual national champion Fayetteville Manlius, was eighth in the strong field (21:42.10). John Keklak was on hand to shoot a lot of images. Check the women’s race out here.

New Jersey’s Briana Jackucewicz was a headliner as a youngster, featured in the New York Times while she was in seventh grade. But the senior has been inactive at Harvard, struggling with injuries. Well, today she made some headlines with her individual victory at the Nassaney Invitational in Smithfield, R.I. She finished the 5k in 18:00.1, ahead of a pack of three which included teammate Morgan Kelly. The Crimson easily won the team battle.

For Penn, it was great to see co-captain Leslie Kovach back in action as she was second overall, just four seconds back, in a battle with city rival La Salle, the favorite of the Atlantic 10. While no official team score was kept, eight of the first 11 runners to finish the 4k jaunt at Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia were wearing the Red & Blue, including No. 3 Hannah Grossman, a freshman from Wallingford, Pa.

The No. 15 Princeton Tigers opened up at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational in University Park, Pa., and finished second to unranked Penn State, 25-52. Sophomore Emily de la Bruyere was the first Orange & Black finisher in 21:29, good for fifth on the 6k course. Senior Mel Newbery was the only other top 10 finisher for Coach Peter Farrell.

Yale crushed the field in the Bronx quagmire known as Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday. Heavy rains, combined with high winds, made for a tough 5k run, but junior Melissa Chapman (18:19.32) was up for the challenge as she led the Bulldogs in a 1-2-3-4 finish. Senior teammate Elizabeth Marvin was the lone runner in striking distance of Chapman (five seconds back), while a new star — freshman Emily Stark of Middlesex School in Concord, Mass. — emerged to take third. Shout out to Middlesex, the high school home of co-founder Patricia Melton.

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