X-country fails in bid for nationals

by Matthew Ritger | 11/13/06 6:00am

The season came to a close on Saturday for the Dartmouth men's and women's cross country teams. Both teams failed to qualify for nationals at the NCAA regional meet, held in the Bronx at Van Cortland Park.

Ben True '08 will be the lone representative of the Big Green at nationals. His time of 31:28.3 was good enough for third place and an automatic bid as an individual to the championship.

The Dartmouth men tallied 201 points, finishing in seventh place out of the 34 competing teams and just three points behind Brown. Iona and Providence finished first and second, earning the two team bids to nationals with 59 and 72 points respectively.

At their last meeting at the Heptagonal championships on Oct. 27, Dartmouth easily defeated both Brown and Harvard, two teams that came from behind and finished above Dartmouth on Saturday. Harvard finished last at Heps but somehow managed to pull off a fourth place finish at regionals, even against tougher competition.

"Harvard ran an amazing race and surprised everyone," coach Barry Harwick said.

Dartmouth, it seems, just wasn't up to the challenges of the late season. After a fall full of frustrations, the Dartmouth men were sorely disappointed again this past weekend.

True's third place finish was followed by Steve Muchettti '06 in 13th place, just two spots out of an at-large bid to nationals. Glenn Randall '09 took 24th and juniors Pat Dooley and Harry Norton followed in 76th and 85th places, respectively.

"We got three very good races from Ben, Steve and Glenn; the rest of our guys really struggled," Harwick said.

Last year, the Dartmouth men were Heps champions, and they earned a bid to NCAAs, where they finished 15th in the national field. This year, returning almost all of their top runners, the men had expected to be much more competitive.

After being upset by both Princeton and Columbia at Heps and now by Harvard and Brown, the Dartmouth men will have a lot to consider before next fall.

Ben True will continue his season however, traveling to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete for the national championship on Nov. 20th. It will be True's second consecutive trip to nationals; last year, he placed 32nd and earned All American honors.

The Dartmouth women placed 12th in the field of 34 teams. Boston College took the title with 82 points while Iona took second. Salmoe Kosgei, of Iona, won the race at 20:45.3.

"I was a little disappointed with the results because we were capable of finishing a few places higher," coach Maribel Souther said. "We were only five points out of 10th place, which meant each person finishing just one spot higher."

Captain Susan Dunklee '08 led the scoring in 39th place, with a time of 22:39.3.

"I didn't feel very well at the start of the race and ended up about 20 spots back from where I wanted to be," she said. "But I'm happy with my season."

Caitlin Cunningham '09 was the Big Green's next finisher, followed by a trio of freshmen: Blair Sullivan, Ali Smcrina and Zaritza Petrova. Dartmouth will return all of its top five runners next year.

"We had a great season, filled with improvement and fun," Dunklee said. "We have a young energetic team and I think we'll continue to progress and surprise other teams in the future."

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