Dartmouth men's runners stormed to an NCAA qualifying bid and the women saw one of their own also make the cut as the Big Green cross country teams ran at the NCAA Northeast Region Meet in Boston's Franklin Park Saturday.
The men, ranked 16th nationally, took second out of 33 teams with a score of 50, bested only by Iona College's 33.
Providence College finished third with a score of 67.
"At the beginning of the season, Iona was ranked sixth," said men's coach Barry Harwick '77 of Iona's first place score.
"[Saturday] was the first time Iona was together [as a full team] and they are probably in the top six in the country."
He also added, "[Dartmouth] ran very, very well and I think this puts us in a great position going into the nationals."
Ben True '08 led the scoring for Dartmouth yet again, finishing third overall in a field of over 200 in 30:03.8, and Alec Wall '08 was close behind, taking seventh in 30:07.5. Iona's Richard Kiplagat took first in 29:11.2 and Providence's Martin Fagan was second in 29:15.6.
"The first two guys went out hard and separated themselves from the rest of the pack," said Harwick. "[But] Ben True had his usual fantastic finish to blow away guys down the stretch and take third."
Co-captain Dave Burnham '06 took 11th in 30:19.1, Ian Marcus '07 ran 30:29.0 to take 13th and Matt Davis '08 ran "his best race of the season," in the words of Harwick, to take 16th in 30:42.2, completing the scoring.
The women had their characteristic strong finishes from their top three, but fourth and fifth-place finishes out of the top 100 left the Lady Green with a team score of 271, in a tie for ninth out of 37 with Harvard.
Said women's coach Maribel Souther, "Honestly, we finished probably where we have been stacking up all year, which is kind of disappointing. We've struggled a lot this year, and have dropped a lot in team results from last year.
"We had a couple things that attributed to [the drop]. I lost a couple top athletes to injury and illness, but I don't want to make excuses."
Melanie Schorr '06 finished seventh in a field of over 250 with a time of 20:51.5, good enough to qualify individually for the NCAA Championship.
Schorr also qualified for the national meet in 2003, finishing 144th out of 252 runners.
Said Schorr of her race, "I took a risk and went out hard, and although I was not able to hold on as well as I had hoped, the most important thing on Saturday was to qualify for NCAA's.
"Running has been by far my favorite part of college and I wasn't ready for Saturday to be my last race."
Schorr will be shooting to finish well enough at NCAA's to make All-American status, which certainly seems to be within her reach after her consistently strong performance this season.
"[If] she runs the way she's been running all season, she can definitely be an All-American," said Souther of Schorr's chances.
Hilary Dionne '07 finished 17th in 21:28.5 and Susan Dunklee '08 was 24th in 21:40.4.
Aryn Gruneisen '09 and Meredith Curtis '06 rounded out the top five, finishing 102nd in 23:04.6 and 121st in 23:19.9, respectively.
With the cross country season over for most of the women's team, the Big Green is looking ahead to the indoor track season and a chance to improve upon the fall season.
"I know that our team is capable of much better results than we had this year," said Schorr.
"We're hungry for better performances indoor and we're looking to get a good base of training in during Christmas break."
The men are certainly looking forward to their last race of the season, as this will be the 18th time in Dartmouth history that the varsity squad has competed on the national stage. They will be looking to finish in the top half out of the 31 running.
"We have not run a bad race the entire season," said Harwick. "We've got one more [race] to go and I want to see the string continue."
"The NCAA meet is extremely unpredictable," said Wall. "A few good teams are guaranteed to choke and a few mediocre teams will run out of their minds.
"If we all have our best race of the season on Nov. 21st, I believe we have an outside chance to sneak into the top ten."
Each of the nine regions has two teams qualify for the NCAA Championship automatically and 13 more teams are chosen to receive at-large bids.
The Big Green men will be sending a squad to NCAA's after a three-year hiatus. Dartmouth finished second in 1986 and 1987.
The NCAA Championship meet will be held on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., on Sat., Nov. 21.