Pre-Season Chatter

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So how do the Ivies stand going into the 2015 cross country season?  Let’s take a look around the web, shall we?

The 2015 season will feature the majority of the key players from the 2014 championships.  The Dartmouth women will be looking for a three-peat at HepsXC.  It would not be the first time they accomplish that feat – they won four in a row from 1994 to 1997.  The Princeton men want to keep the HepsXC in their house, even though the racing location has changed.  The Tigers have won 4 titles in the last 5 years and return two of their top 5 scorers from last year.  Defending men’s champion Thomas Awad of Penn is back for his final cross country season and is the favorite for the title again this year.  The women will have a new individual champion though – All-American Megan Curham will be taking the 2015-16 academic year off from Princeton and will not be defending her title.

What impacts has there been due to graduation?  Well, fourteen men who scored for their teams at HepsXC graduated in 2015.  Princeton and Brown had the hardest hits as both teams lost three of their scorers to graduation.  Penn, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Yale only lost 1 athlete each from their top 5.  Only nine women scorers graduated last year, and only one team returns all of their scorers – Penn.  Harvard was the hardest hit with graduation, losing three of their scorers.  All of the other teams only graduated 1 athlete each.

The USTFCCCA pre-season rankings have been out for a few weeks now.  None of the male squads are receiving votes at this time,  but the USTFCCCA has honored the Princeton women with a #29 pre-season ranking, making them the only officially ranked Ivy squad for now.   The Lady Tigers will be returning three of their HepsXC scorers from last year, including All-Ivy honorees junior Kathyrn Fluehr and sophomore Natalie Rathjen.

The Dartmouth and Columbia women are also receiving national votes from USTFCCCA, unofficially ranked #32 and #42 respectively.  Both squads are returning four of their HepsXC scorers from last year, with the Big Green women being led by senior Dana Giordano and Lady Lions being led by senior Olivia Sadler.  It should be noted that according to Flotrack’s pre-season rankings, the Dartmouth women is the only team ranked (#30) out of all of the Heps schools.

On the regional scale, Princeton is the top Ivy in the Mid-Atlantic region (4th for the men; 5th for the women) while the Columbia men (4th) and Dartmouth women (5th) are the top Ivies in the Northeast region.  A full listing is available here.

And of course, everything could be turned upside down because of the unknown factor – the freshmen.  Almost all of the schools have announced either their Class of 2019 or their 2015 cross country roster – we have done our best to list all of the rookies (including transfers).

Once again, there will be some familiar faces running in new uniforms.  Waverly Neer will be finishing up her collegiate eligibility for the Oregon Ducks, much like she did last year.  Four Harvard graduates are now considered New Mexico Lobos – Adam Cotton, Dan Milechman, Molly Renfer, and Whitney ThornburgDaniel Everett and Daniel Nestor are going from the Columbia light blue to Iowa State red and gold (although Everett only has track eligibility remaining).  Princeton has a few graduate transfers of their own – Connor Martin heads to Indiana while Erika Fluehr heads to national-contenders Michigan.  I’m sure there are more names out there – feel free to email us if you know of any more so we can keep an eye on them this cross country season.

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