I know the cross country season only started a few weekends ago for the Ivy squads, but it is time to start planning for the end of the season. Coaches are sending their runners out to various meets during these next few weeks to see who their potential top scorers are for both Heps and NCAA Regionals, both of which are now in November. Some of these meets will influence our teams in a different sort of way – earning points that can help determine who earns a spot at the National Dance in November.
The team performances against nationally-ranked squads can help or hurt their chances of getting an “at-large bid”, should the team not earn an automatic bid by finishing as one of the top-2 teams at their Regional Meets. Last year, Cornell women, Harvard women, and Princeton men all earned at-large bids for NCAAs. Cornell and Princeton earned their bids in large part to their consistently strong performances throughout the cross country season (Cornell winning the Paul Short Invite , Princeton finishing 2nd at the Notre Dame Invite, both being nationally ranked come selection time) AND placing third in the team competitions at their regional meets. Harvard snuck in as the last at-large bid to Nationals due to their clutch team performance at Regionals, tying Boston College for 4th place. Columbia men also qualified as a team to NCAAs by earning an automatic bid of placing 2nd in the Northeast Region.
So even though it is very early in the season, these September meets will matter in November.
Last weekend, Iona hosted their annual Meet of Champions which included both squads from Brown and Yale . While the #14 Iona dominated the men’s race, Yale edged out Navy by 6 points to claim 2nd place. Alex Connor and frosh James Randon led the Bulldogs for the second meet in a row. Brown men, the defending team champions, finished in 6th place. Over on the women’s side, Brown finished 4th overall behind Albany, Iona, and Quinnipiac. The Bears were led by junior Leah Eickhoff, who finished 10th overall. Yale women, who rested their top runners, finished 10th in the team standings. These performances will be taken into account for our next AOTW selections, which will take place next week.
This upcoming weekend, there will be an Ivy presence at three invitationals that could have an impact on these at-large bids.
Penn is starting their weekend early at the Main Line Invitational on Thursday evening (races start at 5:30pm). The race is hosted by Haverford College (Haverford, Penn.) and it will feature Mid-Atlantic regional competition from LaSalle and Villanova (#11 women, #26 men).
On Friday, Boston College (#24 women) will be hosting their “Coast-to-Coast Battle In Beantown” Cross Country Invitational at Franklin Park, where Cornell (#9 women and men) and Yale will be challenging nationally-ranked Oregon (#3 women, #12 men), Providence (#1 women), Wisconsin (#8 men), and Syracuse (#9 men) for meet titles. Races start at 3:30pm.
Meanwhile, Harvard women will be racing at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Virginia for the Panorama Farms Invitational on Saturday. The race, hosted by UVA (#16 men, will include Auburn, Cal, Duke men, #9 Syracuse men, Navy women, UNC (receiving votes), UNC-Greensboro, Mississippi, and William & Mary (#14 women). Races start at 10am.
Other action this weekend will feature a Cornell presence at the Roberts Wesleyan Harry Anderson Invitational in Rochester, N.Y. on Saturday.
If anyone can make it to the meets, feel free to share pictures with HepsNation on either facebook or on Twitter.