Women runners win third straight Heps
While the Dartmouth women's cross country destroyed the competition at the Heptagonal cross country race Friday, the men were unable to defend their crown and placed sixth.
It was a cold and rainy day at the Van Cortlandt Park course in the Bronx. But the Big Green women -- currently ranked fifth in the nation -- did not let weather get in the way of their third Heptagonal championship.
Co-captains Maribel Sanchez '96 and Kristin Manwaring '96 finished their final Heptagonal race in perfect form Friday afternoon. Sanchez finished first for the second year in a row and Manwaring was the runner-up, coming in only one second behind.
Jenna Rogers '98 finished 10 seconds behind Manwaring to give Dartmouth a 1-2-3 sweep of the race for the second year in a row.
The Big Green women's team finished with 28 points -- five off last year's record score -- which was a full 49 points ahead of second-place Princeton. This margin of victory is the largest since the Heps began in 1977. Brown and Cornell finished third and fourth, respectively.
The Dartmouth women's team was the favorite in the five-kilometer course. This year's race was much faster-paced than last year -- Sanchez took off about 30 seconds from her winning time last year to finish 17:28.0. In all, seven runners broke the 18-minute mark which was the time Sanchez had to win last year.
"We had never had anybody that had broken the 18-minute mark," Head Coach Ellen O'Neil said. "The fact that the top three ran under 18 minutes by a long shot is pretty impressive."
O'Neil said the team is looking forward to an excellent NCAA qualifier for the championship.
"On Friday, we had eight people who recorded a personal best on the course, and I think that is a real indication that we're ready for the championship portion of the course," O'Neil said. "We're at least on target for a really great performance."
Manwaring said there was great running at the Heps.
"Times were a lot faster," Manwaring said. "Last year Maribel won in 18 minutes and she improved by half a minute. I improved by 45 seconds."
"We were expected to win -- it was just a matter of how much we could win by," Manwaring added.
While the women crushed all competition on Friday the men -- Dartmouth's traditional champions in this event -- had more disappointing results at Van Cortlandt.
The Big Green's sixth-place finish was its worse -- and its 158 points highest -- since 1979. The men's team -- who have been champions in this event for the past two years -- fell to the likes of Navy, who won the event, Princeton and Brown.
Men's Head Coach Barry Harwick said the team was disappointed with its results at the Heps.
"I think that everyone hoped we would do a lot better than we did," he said. "We had a few good performances but as a group I would say we didn't run as good as we were capable of."
Harwick attributed the bleak results to a young team and several injured runners.
"Our guys were competing against juniors and seniors that were older and more experienced," he said.
Harwick said for sophomores and freshmen to break into the top ten was rare. He has high hopes for the NCAA qualifiers.
"I think the team certainly ran hard but the results weren't what we expected," he said. "I think we have every chance to bounce back and do well next week at the qualifiers."
Donald Conrad '99 was one bright spot on a bleak day -- he earned his first team All-Ivy with a sixth-place finish in 25:05. Navy stole the top two spots.
Both cross country teams will be racing again in two weeks, when the men race in the IC4A championships and the women compete for the ECAC title in Boston. Both events will serve as qualifiers for the NCAA National Tournament Nov. 25.