Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams were left disappointed after their respective sixth and fifth place finishes at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Princeton, N.J, on Saturday.
Both teams were hoping to compete for the title, but fell short of their goals. The men’s team fell significantly short, behind eventual victor Yale, which placed all five scoring runners in the top 15 to score 38 points. The Red finished with a total of 147 points, ahead of Brown and Harvard.
Junior Sam Chauvin said he felt he and his teammates were unable to execute what they had worked on in training over the past few weeks.
“We weren’t able to stay tight in a group near the front of the pack,” Chauvin said. “We needed 12 guys to stay up near top and we weren’t all able to do that.”
Despite the shortcomings in Saturday’s competition, men’s head coach Zeb Lang ’03 was able to point out the positives of the team’s performances.
“I thought [senior] James Gowans showed a lot of grit to place 10th for Second Team All-Ivy honors,” Lang said. “[Gowans] passed 16 people in the last two miles and I think he is in good shape to run very well at the NCAA Regional meet and hopefully the NCAA Championships.”
Junior Dom DeLuca finished just behind Gowans, with juniors Josh Dryland and Chase Silverman and senior Mark Tedder rounding up the scoring five within the top 44 places overall.
The women’s team scored 113 points, with junior Erin McLaughlin earning her first All-Ivy honors by securing an 11th place finish overall. Senior tri-captain Taylor Spillane and Jackie Katzman finished soon after, in 26th and 28th place, respectively.
Katzman indicated that, while the result wasn’t what the team had aspired to, much of what happens on any given race day is hard to predict.
“I think that every individual tried to take advantage of the opportunity that we had yesterday,” Katzman said. “The Ivy League is extremely competitive this year, so on any given day, anything can happen.”
Katzman stressed that, despite the result, the team will focus on what went well as the end of the cross country season approaches.
“There were definitely some things that didn’t go our way for a variety of reasons,” she said, “but that’s just the reality of athletics and the key for us will be to remain positive going into our final competitions of the season.”
Associate Head Coach Artie Smith ‘96 outlined what he believed went wrong for the team.
“The spread amongst our scoring five is normally between 20 and 30 seconds and it was around 40 seconds yesterday,” Smith said. “This was also the first time this season that we didn’t establish good position as a group early in the race. I think that threw us off and contributed to the larger than normal gap between our scoring runners.”
All eight women’s teams in the Ivy League have earned spots in the national polls during this season, and five of them came into the Heps with current national rankings.
Both Cornell teams will now prepare for the NCAA Regional Championships in two weeks, which will take place in New York City.
“My goal for regionals is to continue to have fun and remain confident in our abilities and fitness despite not necessarily having the outcome that we might have desired at Heps,” Katzman said.
Lang said he believes the men’s team can rebound from this week’s performance, citing the potential of some of the Red’s strongest runners.
“I think both James Gowans and Dom Deluca have shown that they can contend near the front of the individual standings and I think they can contend for the NCAA Championships,” the head coach said.
While regionals represent another critical competition in the season, Chauvin said he knows that the team needs to relax and enjoy the experience in order to succeed.
“We need to enjoy it; we sometimes get so stressed out in school, and the only other thing we have is athletics,” Chauvin said. “We sometimes forget the reason we run, which is because we love it. So rather than being nervous before the race we need to be able to relax and stay composed.”