This past weekend was one of the most intense racing weekends we’ve had this cross country season so far. Many teams had both their A- and B-squads compete at various invitationals across the country in order to help determine their HepsXC championship racing squads and earn some national qualifying points. There will be light action next weekend, so this will be our last Athlete of the Week accolades until after HepsXC. Speaking of HepsXC, plan to come? Check out the championship details on facebook and on this website.
And now, our sixth edition of Athletes of the Week of this 2014 season.
Female Athlete of the Week:
Add another name for possible women’s individual title contender list – Princeton’s Megan Curham had her best race of the season so far on Saturday at the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Curham ran with the front pack throughout the 6km race and held off Georgetown’s Katrina Coogan and Michigan’s Erin Finn in the final 100 meters to secure 2nd place in a time of 20:36.4. Curham led the Lady Tigers to a 6th place team finish at Pre-Nats, besting two teams that received votes in last week’s national poll (#22 Baylor and receiving votes Penn State). Kira Garry led Yale to a 16th place team finish with her 24th place individual finish (21:14.0). In the men’s race, Cornell was the top Ivy team with their 10th place finish (led by Brian Eimstad’s 37th place in 24:54.4), while Yale’s Kevin Dooney was the top Ivy runner with his 27th place finish (24:48.4) which helped his team to a 15th place finish.
Female Rookie of the Week:
Princeton’s Natalie Rathjen and Dartmouth’s Ellie Gonzalez could be battling it out at HepsXC for the top rookie. Both of these ladies were the top Ivy rookies at their respective races this weekend while also being the #3 scoring runner for their respective teams. On Saturday, Rathjen finished 54th at Pre-Nationals, completing the 6km course in 21:38.8. Rathtjen was the ninth freshman finisher for the race. The day before, Gonzalez finished in 111th place at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, helping the #24 Dartmouth team to a 19th place team finish. The Big Green was led by Dana Giordano, who was the top Ivy at the meet (17th place – 20:21). Columbia, Cornell, and Harvard also competed in the women’s event, where the teams were led by upperclassmen Olivia Sadler, Taylor Spillane, and Molly Renfer to 28th, 31st, and 34th team finishes, respectively.
Male Rookie of the Week:
Harvard’s Ben Huffman seems to have cemented his spot in the Crimson scoring as he has continued his debut season with a strong finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Huffman finished 136th overall in a time of 24:55, acting as Harvard’s #3 runner and top Ivy rookie for the meet. The Crimson was led by Tom Purnell to a 26th place team finish. Princeton was the top Ivy team in Madison, finishing in 23rd place (led by Matt McDonald with a 49th place finish in 24:20) and ahead of conference rivals Dartmouth by 29 points (led by Silas Talbot in in 84th place in 24:32). Columbia, led by Jack Boyle (71st place, 24:28) finished in 27th place in the team standings.
Male Runner of the Week:
Penn’s Thomas Awad got a good preview of the HepsXC course on Saturday at the Princeton Invitational. Awad won the men’s championship 8km race in 24:00, edging out Virginia Tech’s Stewart Robertson (24:01) for the invitational win. Awad’s win helped the Quakers finish 3rd in the team standings. Penn was also the top team in the women’s championship 6km event, as the Lady Quakers finished in 3rd place behind Clarissa Whiting’s 13th place finish (22:06). Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton had their B-teams race in the championship races. Jonah Hanig (40th – 24:58) and Emily Krasinski (86 – 23:03) led Columbia to 8th and 21st place team finishes. Ben Rainero (13th – 24:29) and Sarah Holl (22:31) led the way for Cornell’s 8th and 10th team finishes. Harvard was led by Brandon Price (50th – 25:07) and Stephanie Deccy (36th – 22:30) to 17th and 7th place team finishes. Meanwhile, host Princeton finished 13th and 6th place team finishes, led by Luke Brahm (24th – 24:43) and Kaitlin Hanss (26th – 22:19). A number of Ivies also competed in the open races (men | women).
Other weekend highlights include the Rothenberg Invitational, where the Brown women went 1-2-3-4-6 en route to winning the women’s team title. Lucy Van Kluenen won the 5km race in 17:08.27. The Dartmouth B-squad finished 3rd in the team event, led by Erin McConnell’s 15th place finish (18:19). In the men’s 8km race, Brown and Dartmouth B-squad finished 3rd and 4th place respectively. Brown was led by Tucker Hamilton’s 2nd place finish (25:05.12) while Dartmouth was led by Tony Anzivino’s 4th place finish (25:15).
Also, four recent HepsNation alumni had great showings at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Harvard grad Maksim Korolev won the individual title in the men’s race for Stanford, finishing in 23:43. Princeton grad Tyler Udland was Florida State’s #1 runner, finishing 26th overall in 24:10. In the women’s race, Harvard grad Morgan Kelly was Virgina’s #1 runner, finishing 21st overall in 20:25 while Brown grad Margaret Connelly was Iowa State’s #3 runner with her 24th place finish (20:26).