Women's, men's cross country come home with mixed results

| 10/6/09 10:00pm

Dartmouth cross country split its ranks this weekend, as both the men's and women's teams sent squads to the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., and to the Keene Invitational in Keene, N.H.

The men raced 42 other schools in Pennsylvania, including nationally ranked teams Iona College, North Carolina State, and Indiana University.

Highlighting the strength of the senior leadership, co-captain Tom Robbins '10 and Chris Zablocki '10 covered the 8-km course in 23:44 and 24:05, respectively.

Ethan Shaw '12 was also in the mix, finishing the narrowly contested race in 24:27.

Although illnesses and injuries held back a few of the Dartmouth's contenders, all of the Big Green's top four runners at the Paul Short Invitational set new personal records.

The quartet, which included co-captain Kevin Treadway '10 along with Robbins, Zablocki and Shaw, all crossed the finish line within a minute of each other.

"If we get our number-five and six guys running up there with the top four, I think we'll have a pretty good shot at making it to NCAAs," Robbins said.

The Dartmouth men ended the day with a sixth-place finish, while Indiana ran away with the top spot.

On the women's side, Kaityln D'Orazio '13 continued her strong season debut by pacing the Big Green squad at the Paul Short Invitational. The standout freshman finished the course in 21:47.

Elizabeth Short '12 and Kate Sullivan '13 rounded out the top 10, netting Dartmouth an 18th-place finish among the 40 schools competing.

Short was quick to credit the team's results to its combination of fresh faces and experienced veterans.

"I think having new runners is a good thing for the future," she said. "We have some really great seniors, too. I think that the team has a really good vibe right now."

At the Keene Invitational, which the team used to build experience for its younger runners, the Dartmouth got more than it bargained for as the runners dodged rain drops in poor racing conditions.

Phil Royer '13 anchored the Big Green effort for the men with a fourth-place finish in 26:09. Dylan Summers '12 and Chase Elderidge '11 rounded out the top 10, leading Dartmouth to a second-place finish overall.

"Our underclassmen came out strong at the race, and we're hoping that they also come up big at the important meets later on," Shaw said.

Laura Hempel '12 led the Dartmouth women in Keene, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:34, while Melanie Wilcox '13 was hot on her trail, covering the course in 19:39.

The team earned a fifth-place finish.

"I think we ran pretty well," Short said. "Everyone looked pretty good and strong. We all still know that there are small things we all can do to make a bigger improvement."

While the championship portion of the season looms ahead, Robbins said that Dartmouth has high hopes for the Heptagonal Championships and NCAA Regionals in November.

Men's team co-captain Alex Hall '10 credited the runners' good showing to their new outlook on the season.

"The team has a different dynamic this year," he said. "We're more excited about our potential this year as a team than we have been in the past couple of years."

Robbins added that he was ready to fill the leadership void created by the graduation of Ben True '08 and Glen Randall '09.

"I don't think it's a rebuilding year at all," he said. "I think we're actually better this year than we were last year.

The runners will have little time to relax as they head into the grind of the season. The squads will send runners to the New England Championships on Saturday at Boston's Franklin Park.