'I Intend to Go in There and Win'

by Rawson Daniel | 10/26/01 5:00am

When asked about today's cross country Heptagonals competition, which determines the Ivy League men's and women's champions, junior standout Tom McArdle said simply: "I intend to go in there and win, with anything less I will be disappointed."

McArdle echoes the thoughts of the entire Big Green men's cross country team as it heads to Van Corlandt Park in New York City.

This weekend, the young, talented Big Green expects to finish first. Coach Barry Harwick '77, whose team won the meet last year to bring home Dartmouth's 11th Heps championship, is optimistic.

"I think we have an excellent chance to defend our title at the Heps," he said. "Our workouts have gone great and the guys on the team are really fired up."

While the Big Green won the event last year, this team is very different from years past because much of the talent can be found in the sophomore and freshman classes. Harwick sums up the situation: "We'll put 12 guys on the line on Friday and 11 of them will be back next fall. And five of those guys are freshmen."

In Heps, as in all cross country meets, teams gain points according to the finish of their Top 5 runners; for Dartmouth, that group is expected to consist of McArdle, Jarrod Shoemaker '04, Mark Nichol '04, Jason Taylor '02, and Kevin Arnold '05. The times of the Top 5 are added together to form the team score.

While winning a race is an impressive individual achievement, team victory is gained by strong running throughout the lineup. For this reason, Harwick hopes the next four runners after McArdle run well.

"Tom McArdle has shown that he is a national level distance runner," the coach said. "Having him up front not only helps our team score, it pulls along the rest of a very talented team. A key for us will be how close Jarrod Shoemaker, Mark Nichol, Jason Taylor and Kevin Arnold can be to Tom. If they are all within a minute, we'll have a great team score."

The team that figures to give Dartmouth the hardest race is probably Princeton, whom some consider to be the class of the Ivy League. Princeton was the toughest competition last year also, when Dartmouth won.

The Dartmouth women, meanwhile, also expect to finish well. Junior Jessie Allen-Young has been racing well this season and expects to finish high in the final standings of Friday's race. If the Big Green women get solid support from their other runners, they should finish high also.

Both Yale and Cornell are nationally ranked as women's teams, but in this year's race no team is seen as a clear-cut favorite. The Big Green women are "hoping to catch one of them, or ideally both of them, off guard," coach Ellen O'Neil '87. "No team has distinguished itself apart from the league."

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