Hot Performances in Cool, Wet, Windy Conditions

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The weekend competition was defined with autumn temperatures (50s and 60s) and windy conditions, and depending on the location, lots and lots of rain.  Thank Hurricane Joaquin for this introduction to Fall.  Good thing that Ivy Leaguers can handle these types of conditions.

Paul Short Invitational (Bethlehem, PA)

In recent editions of the Paul Short Invitational, there had been a strong Ivy presence in the Gold Races. This year, only the Cornell women represented the Ivies in the wet, cold, and windy Gold Race. The Big Red women brought their A-team and finished as the top American squad in the 6km race as they finished as the runner up to the Canadian team from the University of Guelph – 105 to 155 points. Taylor Spillane and Caroline Kellner continued to show they are Cornell’s top two runners this season. Spillane had her best Gold Race finish this year, crossing the line in fourth place with a time of 20:34, while Kellner replicated her 2014 finish of fifteenth overall with a time of 20:57. The final three Cornell scorers crossed the finish line within a 10 second spread: Shannon Hugard in 21:22 for 35th place; freshman Gracie Todd in 21:30 for 48th place; and Jacquelyn Katzman in 21:32 for 53rd place. Overall, the team had a scoring spread of 59 seconds

The other Ivy representation at the Paul Short Invitational was seen in the Brown Races, where Columbia and Penn sent their B-teams to get the extra racing experience. In the men’s 8km race, the Lions were led by Jonah Hanig to a 2nd place team finish with 81 points behind Shippensburg University’s 57 points. Penn finished 5th overall with a score of 144 points. Hanig was one of two Ivies to finish in the top 10, as he finished 6th overall with a time of 25:07. He managed to stay one step ahead of Penn frosh Kurt Convey, who finished in 7th place with the same time. Another six Ivies finished within the next 11 seconds: from Columbia – Jason Menzies (11th in 25:09), Marc Violone (14th in 25:23), and frosh Johain Ounadjela (19th in 25:13); and Penn – freshmen Kevin Monogue (16th in 25:14) and Sam Webb (22nd in 25:17), and Keaton Naff (23rd in 25:18). Jack Baisley rounded out the scoring for the Lions by finishing in 31st place with 25:21, while Christopher Luciano capped the Penn scoring in 76th place with 25:46.

In the women’s 6km race, Penn frosh Olivia Ryan was the top Ivy as she was the only Ivy runner to go under 22 minutes for the 6km race. She finished 14th overall with a time of 21:56. Her rookie teammate, Carole Harsch, just missed breaking 22 minutes as she ran 22:01 that was good enough for 16th place. Even though they had these two low sticks in the race, Penn still finished as the second best of the Ivies as Columbia used a 32 second scoring spread to finish 5th in the team standings with 278 points, while Penn finished 7th with a score of 309 points. The Lady Lions were led by Nell Crosby who finished 35th overall in 22:15. Penn had the next finisher with Shannon McCarthy in 40th place (22:17), but Columbia brought in the rest of their scorers – Sarah Hardie (46th – 22:26), Victoria Ingram (56th – 22:34), Devon Towell (60th – 22:37), and Annie Fanta (81st – 22:47) – before Penn’s fourth finisher Karli Visconto (105th in 23:00). Emily Fisher of Penn was the final Ivy finisher, finshing in 134th in 23:15.

Meanwhile, Princeton junior Megan Curham won open 6km race in 20:16 by a good 17 seconds. The defending HepsXC champion is taking the year off from racing in a Princeton uniform. Her time would have won the women’s Gold Race as it was won by Temple’s Blanca Fernandez in 20:27. Cornell also had a number of their athletes in the open race. The first Big Red finisher was rookie was Briar Brumley, who ran 21:43 for fourth place as the top collegian finisher.

Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, IN)

In the next time zone over, the Penn A-teams competed against some of the nation’s best at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday afternoon.  While Indiana was spared a lot of the rain that hit the East Coast, it was still cool and windy, which resulted in a lot of the racing being done in tight packs.  The Lady Quakers finished 10th overall in the competitive women’s Blue 5km race that featured the #1 New Mexico Lobos.  Ashley Montgomery is establishing herself as the team’s #1 runner for the season as she finished 11th overall in 16:50.0, a second away from 9th place and two seconds ahead of Harvard graduate Molly Renfer (16:52.7) who is running for the Lobos as a graduate student.  The Whiting sisters were the next Quaker finishers, with Cleo finishing in 29th place with 17:10.0 and Clarissa in 58th place in 17:30.2.  Isabel Griffith was 87th overall in 17:49.5 while Amy Darlington finished 113th overall with 18:11.7

In the men’s Blue 5 mile race, the men had a similar team result as the team finished 11th out of a 20 team field.  Penn managed to finish ahead of #18 Arizona State in the team standings, who finished 19th in the team standings.  Thomas Awad made his 2015 season debut finishing 17th overall in 24:08.5 after keeping with the lead pack through most of the race.  Nick Tuck finished as the Quaker #2 in 25th place with a time of 24:19.5.  Penn’s two Brendans finished about a step apart, with Smith in 48th (24:41.8) and Shearn in 49th (24:42.2). Clark Shurtleff rounded out the Quaker scorers in 107th place in 25:11.8, resulting in a scoring spread of around 63 seconds.

Princeton Inter-Regional Meet (Princeton, NJ)

Princeton and Columbia brought their A-teams to West Windsor Fields for the inaugural Princeton Inter-Regional Meet.  Despite the cold and windy conditions due to the weekend storm system, the Ivies managed to surprise many in the field by having all four squads place in the top 3 in both the men’s and women’s races, including an event win for the #28 Lady Tigers.

In the men’s 8km race, three Ivies finished in the top 10 individually – Columbia’s Tait Rutherford in third place with 24:10.8, Princeton frosh Steven Sum in sixth place with 24:12.4, and returning HepsXC runner up Michael Sublette of Princeton in eighth place with 24:14.8.  These three stayed in the front chase pack throughout the race after Duke’s Shaun Thompson ran away from the field early and held on to win by over 30 seconds.  Rutherford used that final 100m to sprint past Indiana’s Kyle Duvall to secure third place. Both Princeton and Columbia had a tight scoring spread that helped them finish in the top 3 for the men’s race, besting nationally ranked #24 Providence, #29 UNC, and ‘Receiving Votes’ Virginia Tech in the process.  Going into this weekend, neither Ivy team was considered in the national polls, but that will change in the next week.  Princeton had two men in the top 10 overall, all scorers in the top 25 (Noah Kauppila in 11th, Sam Berger in 21st, and Jeremy Spiezio in 24th), and a scoring spread of only 14.1 seconds helped them secure the #2 team finish with 70 points. The only team that had a smaller spread was #19 Indiana, who won the overall team title with 47 points.  Only one other team in the field had a spread less than 30 seconds – Columbia Lions, who had a spread of 17.4 seconds to finish in third place with 84 points as all of their scorers finished in the top 30 (Jack Boyle in 16th, Ryan Thomas in 18th, Brian Zabilski in 20th, and Sam Ritz in 27th).  If you remove the competition and do a dual meet scoring setup for the five scorers, Princeton still edged out Columbia, 26 to 29, as Princeton has a closer spread in their top scoring half.

In the women’s 6km race, the #28 Lady Tigers surprised the field – which included #21 UNC, #25 Villanova, and #18 William & Mary – by taking the overall team title with 80 points.  Princeton was led again by Elizabeth Bird (in image on the right), who finished in 3rd place in the 6km race with a time of 20:42.7.  What led the Tigers to the title was by having their top 3 runners place in the overall top 10 – joining Bird in the top 10 were Emily de La Bruyere (5th – 20:51.8) and Kathryn Fluehr (7th – 21:06.7).  Alex Markovich (19th – center in the image above) and Nicole Marvin (46th) runded out the team scoring.  The Columbia Lady Lions were previously receiving votes in the national polls going into this weekend.  They will get a few more votes for the next release as they finished 3rd in the team scoring with 108 points, beating Villanova and William & Mary.  The Lady Lions were led by Natalie Tanner with a 12th place finish in 21:18.0.  Seniors Olivia Sadler and Leila Mantilla joined Tanner in the top 20 as they finished 17th and 18th respectively.  Frosh Emily Acker and Pegah Kamrani rounded out scoring by finishing in 29th and 32nd places.  The key for the Lady Lions team finish was their low scoring spread of 32.3 seconds – the lowest in the field by 10 seconds – as all of their scorers finished in the top 35 of the race.

photo from Princetontrack instagram account

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