HepsXC14: Yale Women

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In 2012, Yale was considered potential conference title contenders early on in the season, placing well at some national-tier competitions, receiving a national ranking (#22 going into HepsXC), and eyeing a berth for NCAAs as a team.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs did not have their dream showing at that meet, finishing 5th as a team and ultimately missed their chance of qualifying for NCAAs by finishing 6th in the NCAA regional meet.  The bad luck continued into the 2013 cross country season, where the team finished 8th last year at Heps and a 13th place team finish in the NCAA regional meet.

But 2014 is looking like the Yale women might be back on the recovering path.  At the beginning of the season, the Yale women looked quite strong at the revived HYP meet, where Yale finished behind Princeton (Princeton’s 5 in before Yale’s 3rd) and ahead of Harvard (Yale’s 5 in before Harvard’s 4th).  A predominantly-freshman Yale squad finished in 2nd place at the Iona Meet of Champions in early September (only beaten by conference rival Brown), showing the strength of their youth in this year and for years to come.  With their A-team, Yale had a great showing at the Paul Short Invitational, where they finished 4th in the Gold Race and as the top Ivy team (beating Cornell, Harvard, and Columbia), and placed 16th at the PreNationals Invitational (beaten again by Princeton, who had all 5 scorers in before Yale’s 3rd).  But when you look at the spreads between HYP, Paul Short, and PreNats, the Yale women have been letting it slowly creep up, from 42 seconds at HYP to 1:00 at Paul Short to 1:14 at PreNats.

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Yale does have one runner who has a shot at finishing within the top 5 this year – senior Kira Garry, who is predominantly a steeplechaser, has made some great improvements since last year where she had finished 63rd at HepsXC.  Garry has been Yale’s #1 runner throughout the season, with highlights of winning the individual title at HYP, placing in the top 10 at Paul Short (she got outkicked by Cornell’s Taylor Spillane in the final stretch to finish as the #2 Ivy finisher for the meet), and then top 25 at PreNats (only beaten by Princeton’s Megan Curham and Kathryn Fluehr).  Junior Emily Stark is hoping to rebound from last’s year HepsXC where she had finished 87th (back in 2011, she finished 21st as a freshman at HepsXC, so she has the potential of scoring low). Similar situations for junior Elizabeth McDonald, senior Hannah Alpert, and sophomore Emily Waligurski as their 2014 performances to date show they can have a better finish at Heps than they did last year.

But Yale’s scoring has been bolstered by their freshmen.  Samantha Glass, Dana Klein, and Kelly Reagan have scored for the team at HYP, Paul Short, and PreNats so far this season.  We expect them to do the same on Saturday, helping the Yale women to try and break into the top half of the conference once again.

photos by Alexandra Schmeling (top) and Sami Aziz (right)

– Mary Boggs

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