Yes, in this write-up, we are focusing on the Harvard and Yale women. No, we will not be discussing the historic rivalry; however, the historic dual is probably the best head-to-head matchup analysis we have in the conference now as there is no any outside influences from other parties. Back in the first week of the season, Harvard and Yale met up in their annual dual up in Boston. Harvard on the event, 20 to 39, but the individual title was a bit closer. Dual-winner Viviana Hanley of Harvard had to outkick Yale’s Laura Epstein, edging her out by just 1 second. The next time the Crimson and Bulldogs were in the same race at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the teams were not as close. Harvard got four runners in before Yale’s first runner finished, and fifth runner before Yale’s second runner.
Harvard has been granted good fortune this season with healthy runners and tight-running tactics. Harvard does not have a designated #1 runner – the squad looks to junior Hanley (Attleboro, Mass.), and seniors Morgan Kelly (San Francisco, Calif.) and Emily Reese (Chamblee, Ga.), as each of these ladies have taken turn acting in the first scoring position. Junior Jen Guidera (Doylestown, Pa.), sophomore Selena Pasadyn (Hinckley, Ohio), and freshmen Madeleine Ankhelyi (Folsom, Calif.) and Sarah Gillespie (Manchester, Conn.) have all had strong races this year on various courses. At the Virginia Panorama, Paul Short, and adidas invitationals, the scoring pack spread has been 52, 62, and 55 seconds, respectively. If Harvard can tighten this up a bit more for Heps, they can definitely make a run for the top 4 teams.
Meanwhile, Yale has been slowly getting the team pieces together, as forming this year’s group identity has been a slow process. The Bulldogs do have strong leaders in senior duo Epstein (Springfield, Va.) and Kira Garry (Montauk, N.Y.). Epstein is a returning All-Ivy finisher from last year, while Garry has become the #1 runner for the squad. Freshmen Chandler Olsen (Woodinville, Wash.) and Meredith Rizzo (Bronxville, N.Y.), junior Hannah Alpert (Needham, Mass.), and sophomore Emily Stark (Concord, Mass.) have all had great performances this season, but the performances have yet to occur all in the same race. Their scoring spread as slowly decreased during the season, dropping from 50 to 40 seconds over the span of 4 weeks. If they can maintain that spread but have a faster overall finish, they can close the gap on Harvard in the team standings.