Conquering Terre Haute and the Bronx

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The 2014 collegiate cross country season wrapped up back before Thanksgiving, with Ivy teams competing in cold and windy conditions in both Terre Haute, Ind., and in the Bronx, N.Y.  By the end of the day, there were four All-Americans, one IC4A individual champion, and one school sweeping the IC4A and ECAC team titles.  Sorry for the delay in the recap, but better late than never, right?

Out in Terre Haute, HepsNation had a total of 19 athletes competing at the NCAA National Cross Country Championships.  Three undergraduates, one transfer student, and one alumnus ended up earning All-American honors, while some alumni helped their new teams earn a podium finish (top 5).

Two juniors earned their first cross country All-American honors in the men’s 10km championship race – Penn’s Thomas Awad and Yale’s Kevin Dooney.  Last year, both men raced at NCAAs, where Dooney finished in the top 100 (98th overall) and while Awad finished back in 176th place.  But this year, these men ran different races in order to finish in the top 40.  Dooney went for it at the gun, where he was in 27th place at the halfway point.  Dooney held on during the final 5km to finish in 34th place in 30:51.4.  Dooney’s racing received a Twitter shout-out from A Runner’s Eye co-founder and former Flotrack member Justin Britton:

dooney-shoutout

Meanwhile, Awad was stuck in the main pack for the first third of the race, where he was around 151st place at the 3km point.  The pack was so tight that another runner had stepped on Awad’s heel, injuring Awad’s Achilles in the process.  However, Awad moved up slowly, getting up to 66th place by the halfway point and then to 18th place by the 8km mark.  Awad ultimately finished in 27th place (30:46.3), finishing as the top Ivy undergraduate male in the race.  After the race, Awad told Penn Athletics “Receiving All-American honors was really special for me, since I’ve been working toward this all season,… Winning Heps and qualifying for NCAAs is nice, but I would not have viewed this season as successful if I had not gotten All-American today.” Awad also earned a second distinction from the meet – having the best “stach” at Nationals according to Flotrack.

The top Ivy-affiliated runner was Harvard graduate Maksim Korolev. Korolev, who is finishing up his eligibility at Stanford, once again needed to dig deep for his finish as he moved from 9th to 4th place in the final 200 meters.  Korolev’s fourth place finish (30:29.5) is his second consecutive top-5 finish at NCAAs and helped Stanford to a surprising 2nd place finish in the team standings (as they were predicted to finish 9th).

The other Ivy men who raced included the Columbia duo of Jack Boyle (121st – 31:41.9) and Daniel Everett (187th – 32:25.8), Harvard’s Tom Purnell (170th – 32:08.0), and Princeton alum Tyler Udland (196th – 32:32.0).

In the women’s 6km championship race, Princeton sophomore Megan Curham earned her second consecutive All-American honor for cross country.  Last year, Curham finished as the #2 frosh in the field with her 34th place finish.  This year, Curham was consistently in the top 20 throughout the race, with her peaking at 13th place at the 4km mark. Curham held on in the final 2km to finish in 18th place in 20:21.8.   Curham wasn’t the only Ivy affiliated runner to finish in the top 40 – Andrea Keklak, who competed for Princeton her freshman year before transferring to Georgetown, finished in 40th place in 20:44.3 to claim the final All-American spot and help the Hoyas finish 4th in the team standings.

Two other Ivy women just missed the All-America cut.  Morgan Kelly, running for Virginia after graduating from Harvard last year, was the 41st finisher in 20:46.5, missing the All-American honor by 2.2 seconds.  Dartmouth junior Dana Giordano finished in 45th place in 20:49.7; however, one could question if she would have earned another All-American honor had she not been tripped and fallen in the first 1,000 meters of the race.  Giordano’s teammate Sarah Delozier finished almost 4 seconds behind her, crossing the line in 52nd place in 20:53.4.

Other Ivies finishing in the top 100 included Columbia-transfer Waverly Neer (62nd – 20:57.0), Brown alumna Margaret Connelly (66th – 20:58.6), and Yale’s Kira Garry (92nd – 21:09.9).  Neer finished as Oregon’s second runner en route to their 6th place team finish, while Connelly was Iowa State’s 5th runner, helping her team to a second place team finish.

Giordano’s recovery and Delozier’s high finish helped the Dartmouth women (the lone Ivy squad in the team race) finish 20th in the team competition, seven slots higher than their coaches’ poll ranking going into the competition.  The other Dartmouth runners were Claudia Pham (160th – 21:37.1), Sarah Bennett (189th – 21:50.1), Reid Watson (202nd – 21:57.5), Helen Schlachtenhaufen (231st – 22:27.4), and Alison Lanois (241st – 22:49.3).

For the overall championships, the pre-race favorites came through – the Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won in the men’s championship, while Michigan State Spartans and Iona’s Kate Avery won in the women’s championship.  Photos of the meet can be seen through the Image of Sport, TrackandFieldPhoto.com, Letsrun.com (men | women | awards | pre-race banquet), Michael Scott (men | women | awards) and Sami Aziz websites.  Also, race replays are available for both races through NCAA (men | women).

Now, on to the Bronx.

The Columbia teams swept the IC4A and ECAC cross country titles at Van Cortlandt Park while the national championships were taking place.  In the IC4A men’s 5 mile competition, Columbia held off Princeton for the team title, 65 to 72, even though Princeton claimed the individual win from Michael Sublette (24:57.0).   Sublette won the IC4A title by a comfortable 8 second margin over Columbia’s Tait Rutherford (25:05.3).  Harvard’s Will Geiken finished 3rd in the individual standings (25:19.9), helping Harvard finish 4th in the team standings (114 points).  In the ECAC women’s 5km competition, Columbia held off Villanova and Princeton by comfortable margins for the team title, 49 to 61 to 89.  Olivia Sadler led the Lady Lions with her third place finish in 17:51.2, nine seconds ahead of Princeton’s top finisher, Kathryn Little (18:00.7).

The Ivies will not have that much of a break before the start of the indoor track and field season, as Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale will start their action this weekend.

photo from Track and Field Photos

 

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