Women’s XC wins Ivy title, men fourth

| 11/2/14 4:39pm

The women’s cross country team won the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships title for the second consecutive year with 47 team points, defeating runner-up Princeton University by 20 points. The men’s team finished fourth overall in the Saturday race at West Windsor Fields in Princeton, New Jersey.

Leading the way for the women was Dana Giordano ’16, who placed second in the wet and muddy 6-kilometer race in 20:28. Right behind her was Sarah DeLozier ’15, who placed third in 20:36. Not far behind them were Sarah Bennett ’16, Reid Watson ’16 and Ellie Gonzalez ’18, who finished within three seconds of each other in 12th, 13th and 17th places.

“Right after I finished, I turned around to watch the finish,” Giordano said. “I was holding up numbers on my fingers and I had three for Princeton and two for us. When I saw our pack of three [Sarah, Reid, and Ellie], I freaked out because I knew we had won.”

Women’s head coach Courtney Jaworski was pleased with the runners’ execution of their race plan.

“We’d been talking about packing in meets all season, and I was happy to see them do that so well,” he said.

The Big Green women maintained a tight pack throughout the race, keeping the spread between the third and seventh runners being under 15 seconds.

“Our athletes did a really good job of sticking together, fighting together and pushing each other when it got tough,” Jaworski said. “That definitely won the race for us.”

Despite being the defending Ivy League champions, the women’s team had lost a key contributor in Abbey D’Agostino ’14 from last year’s championship team. Nevertheless, the team showcased its depth and youth.

The women’s team’s strategic knowledge of the course helped them seize the victory, Giordano said.

“We ran through the course the day before and mapped our race plan,” Giordano said. “Our plan was to stay relaxed and execute the race we knew we had trained this whole year for.”

The men’s team finished fourth overall. Princeton University took home the men’s team title, finishing with 30 team points. Cornell University placed second with 74 points, and the University of Pennsylvania edged the Big Green by one point for third place.

Despite the close finish, the Dartmouth men were disappointed with the outcome.

“I think we had high expectations going in — we were looking to come away with the win,” Silas Talbot ’15 said. “That did not exactly play out. We had disappointing performances across the board, myself included.”

Men’s head coach Barry Harwick echoed similar sentiments.

“Princeton ran a phenomenal race — no one in the conference was going to beat them -— but we should’ve placed second,” Harwick said.

Harwick noted that the team faced a bout of bad luck, as Nat Adams ’17, who was Dartmouth’s top runner for much of the race, lost his shoe and fell back.

Talbot was the top Dartmouth runner, placing 11th and finishing the 8-kilometer race in 24:47. Not far behind him were Tim Gorman ’16, who placed 14th in 24:52 and Julian Heninger ’17, who placed 22nd in 25:01. Rounding out the scoring runners were Curtis King ’16 and Brian Masterson ’16, who placed 30th and 43rd, respectively.

Nevertheless, there were some positive takeaways from the race.

Harwick said that Talbot and Heninger’s performances were positive because they made up ground over the last quarter of the course.

“Tim Gorman also ran very aggressively — at one point he was in the top 10 — and ran very competitively,” he said.

For now, the men’s team is shifting its focus to the NCAA Northeast Regional, to be held in two weeks.

“We have to completely put this behind us,” Talbot said. “It’ll be very difficult for us to qualify for nationals. We’ll have to have a phenomenal race at regionals. We’ll be spending the next few weeks recovering from some minor injuries — we had a lot of guys fall down in the race — and getting our morale back up.”

Harwick also emphasized the strength of the Northeast region, citing Syracuse University’s spot in third and Iona University’s spot in fifth nationally. He said though it may sound like a stretch, he thinks the team can place fourth.

Both teams will return to action in two weeks at the NCAA Northeast Regional on Nov. 14 at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. The top two teams on the men’s and women’s side automatically advance to the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Indiana, with 13 at-large bids available on each side for teams and 38 bids for individuals not on qualifying teams.