First National Battles of 2015

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This past weekend offered HepsNation their first opportunity to score points on the national qualifying scene, as the Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown and the Panorama Farms Invitational both yielded some high quality fields and nationally ranked squads to test our teams early on in the season. The official championship season begins in a little over a month, but some individuals and teams are beginning to shine and present themselves as serious contenders for Ivy crowns or NCAA qualifying berths.  We’ll look at the changing regional and national rankings in a post later this week.  But for now, the weekend recap.

Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown (Boston, MA) – Rachel Sorna

As has been the case for the past few years, the Battle in Beantown featured a number of Ivy teams – men’s and women’s squads from Brown, Dartmouth and Harvard, as well as the Cornell men – challenging some of the best teams in the nation. Nationally ranked #3 Syracuse men and #8 Providence women claimed the team titles at Boston’s iconic Franklin Park in dominating fashion. Although it is still early and there is much racing yet to be done, Friday’s races gave a nice preview of the sure-to-be thrilling Heps match-ups come Championship Season.

Up first on the afternoon schedule of races was the championship women’s 5k race. Leading the way for the Ivy League was Harvard sophomore Courtney Smith. After getting out hard with leaders, Smith held on well to finish 5th in 16:58.1, only 8 seconds back from race winner Christina Melian of Stony Brook. Dartmouth senior Dana Giordano moved up in the field throughout the race and used a strong final 100 meters to finish 6th in 17:10.9. Leading the Brown women with an impressive finish of her own was sophomore Natalie Schudrowitz, who grabbed 10th with a time of 17:15.9. Rounding out the top 20 finishers was Harvard senior Paige Kouba (19th, 17:28.5). In the team standings, Harvard came out as the top Ivy team with 165 points and a 7th place finish. They were followed closely by Dartmouth in 8th with 181 points and Brown in 9th with 226 points.

Up next was the men’s 8k race. Cornell senior Ben Rainero literally led the Ivy men, along with the rest of the field, for the entire first half of the race. After the Syracuse team pack made its move at halfway and broke the race open, Rainero hung tough and earned a 5th place showing with a time of 24:04.0. Also cracking the Top 10 in the deep men’s field was Dartmouth senior Curtis King, with his time of 24:11.5 that was good for 8th place. Also competing well were Cornell senior Connor Herr (11th, 24:17.0), sophomore teammate Dominic DeLuca (20th, 24:28.3), and the Dartmouth pack of 4 that finished within 10 seconds of each other – seniors Brian Masterson (12th, 24:17.8) and Peter Geithner (14th, 24:21.4), and juniors Joey Chapin (15th, 24:24.7) and Nathaniel Adams (18th, 24:27.1). In the team race, Dartmouth used an impressive 16 second 5-man spread to finish runner-up to national powerhouse Syracuse, 25 to 67. The Cornell men were not far behind with 93 points and 4th place showing. They were followed by Harvard in 6th with 172 points and Brown in 8th with 288 points.

Panorama Farms Invitational (Earlysville, VA) – Nell Smith

On Saturday morning, Yale’s men’s and women’s cross country teams brought their A-games to the Panorama Farms Invitational, loaded with a field of nationally ranked teams. In this highly competitive race, the men’s team responded to the challenge and claimed fourth with 130 points beating the nationally ranked #20 Eastern Kentucky. The Bulldog men finished behind #9 Virginia (41 points), followed by Oklahoma (58 points) and Furman (88 points). The Lady Bulldogs also captured a fourth place finish in their 5-km race with 134 points. Virginia won with 30 points, followed by Mississippi State with 83 points and Auburn in 3rd with 106 points.

Senior Kevin Dooney was the first Bulldog to complete the muddy 8-km course with a time of 24:23.8 (16th), while teammate junior James Randon finished a tenth of a second later in 24:23.9 (19th). Sophomore Cameron Stanish finished 25th in 24:39.5 and junior Duncan Tomlin placed 27th clocking a 24:42.9. Junior Andre Ivankovic was the fifth finisher for Yale running 25:13.7, which was good for 51st place.

In the women’s race, sophomore Dana Klein set the pace for the Bulldogs with a 15th place finish in 17:32.1. In the final stretch of the race, junior Frances Schmiede moved up a few spots to finish 23rd in 17:50.8. Sophomore Kelli Reagan ran 18:01.9 to grab 29th, while junior Emily Waligurski (18:06.9) and freshman Andrea Masterson (18:07.6) finished within a tenth of second of each other for 33rd and 34th respectively. Frosh Gabrielle Rinne rounded out the meet for the women with her 18:17.0.

 Harry F. Anderson Invitational (Rochester, NY) – Mary Boggs

The Cornell men split up their squads this past weekend, allowing as many men as possible to familiarize themselves with the 8km distance this season.  In nearby Rochester, the Big Red dominated the Harry F. Anderson Invitational on Saturday morning.  The Big Red got four men in the top 10 – including individual winner Zack Israel (25:16.6) – to have a comfortable 30 point margin of victory over host school Roberts Wesleyan, 25 to 55.  This year, Israel was joined in the team scoring by Sam Baxter (2nd – 25:27.9), frosh Tomas Reimer (5th – 25:35.6), George Oliver (6th – 25:39.0), and Patrick Murphy (11th – 26:06.1, 5 seconds out of the top 10). Overall, this squad averaged a time of 25:37, 24 seconds ahead of Roberts Wesleyan, while having a 50 second scoring spread.  The 2015 race was overall faster than the 2014 race, as Israel and Oliver – who both raced here in 2014 – both ran significantly faster this year.  Israel improved his course time by over a minute (his 2014 time was 26:20.2, which was good enough for 14th overall) while Oliver improved his course time by 15 seconds (he ran 25:54.8 in 2014 for 4th place overall).

 photo by Michael Scott – facebook gallery

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