Cross country teams struggle in Ivy League Heptagonals

by Elizabeth Wilson | 11/4/19 2:00am

This weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Van Cortlandt Park in New York to compete in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. The men’s and women’s teams both finished eighth overall at the competition.

The men’s team finished the race with a total of 197 points. The Big Green had a strong start; coming through the 2.1 km checkpoint, Sam Morton ’21 and Ben Matejka ’21 were in 13th and 14th place with splits of 6:08.5, and only 1.7 seconds behind Harvard University’s junior Hugo Milner, who led the pack. Only 0.9 seconds behind his two teammates, Owen Ritz ’21 was in 20th place in the pack.

At the 4.1 km mark, Dartmouth had fallen two places overall, from fifth to seventh. Morton still led for the Big Green, sitting in 20th place, and was 11.8 seconds behind the leader. By the time the five mile race was finishing, the Big Green had gained 67 points from its standing at the 2.1 km split. The team’s top finisher was Ritz, with a time of 25:43.7. Ritz was 35th overall, and finished 1:11.7 behind Kenny Vasbinder, the Columbia University senior who took the top spot in the competition. Behind Ritz for the Big Green were Morton and Matejka in 39th and 40th. In 41st with a time of 25:53.5 was Quinn Cooney ’20, followed by teammate Reed Horton ’19 in 42nd at 25:56.4. Other competitors for the Dartmouth team were Nick Feffer ’21 in 43rd, Dom Repucci ’20 in 48th, Jake Winslow ’23 in 65th and Andrew Thompson ’23 in 67th. Patrick O’Brien ’21 was in 75th, and Will Eaton ’22 did not finish the race.

The men’s team was 16 points behind Brown, which finished in seventh place. The University of Pennsylvania took the top team spot with an overall score of 62 points, followed by Harvard close behind with an overall 65 points and Princeton University with 68. Columbia had the top individual finisher of the competition but came in fourth with 85 points, followed by Yale University, Cornell University and Brown University.

This performance is not one that would have been expected from a men’s cross country team that has previously been highly competitive in the Ivy League. Last year, the men’s team finished in third place in the competition.

The women’s team finished the race with 174 total points. At the 3.1 km mark, team captain Lauren Sapone ’20 was the leading runner for the Big Green, in 11th place. Eight seconds behind her in 26th was Julia Stevenson ’20. Claire Dougherty ’20, Breanna Glover ’22 and Dianna Vizza ’20 came into the first split in 40th, 44th, and 45th. By the 5.1 km mark, Sapone had fallen two places to 13th, Stevenson to 27th and their next closest teammate, Vizza, in 42nd.

At the end of the six-kilometer race, Sapone was 15th, with a final time of 21:39.1, 53 seconds off of the first place finisher, Yale University’s junior Kayley Delay. Stevenson finished the race in 30th with a time of 22:04.2, and Vizza closed close behind with a time of 22:18.6 in 42nd. Dougherty and Glover finished closer together with times of 22:30.2 and 22:31.3, coming in 44th and 45th in the standings. Other competitors on the Dartmouth team were Rachel Ludwikowski ’21 in 49th, Samantha Ford ’23 in 51st, as well as Corinne Robitaille ’23. Senior Lauren Archer finished with a time of 23:08.7 in 64th. Abigail Brazil ’21 was 67th, Anya Hirschfeld ’23 was 73rd and Margaret Tuthill ’20 did not finished the race.

The women were 43 points behind the Brown team, which placed seventh overall, and 117 points behind the top finisher, Columbia. Harvard and Penn tied at 89 points, with the tiebreaker second place finish going to Harvard, who had the second place individual finisher. Princeton was fourth, one point behind Penn. Despite having the first place individual finisher, Yale came in fifth overall, followed by Cornell and Brown.

The Big Green’s eighth place result is a fall from its performance last year. In the 2018 Heptagonal championships, the women were second place overall, that time with a team score of 88 points.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will now prepare for the NCAA Northeast Regional on Nov. 15 in Buffalo, NY in hopes of advancing to the NCAA Championship on Nov. 23, which will take place in Terre Haute, IN.