Women’s cross country squad finishes third in weekend race

Sports Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last Friday was a bittersweet day for cross country as the women’s squad captured third place at the Ivy League Cross Country Heptagonal Championships in Van Cortlandt Park, while the men finished last. Both the men and women of Princeton brought home the Ivy League title.

Margaret Connelly ’14, who finished the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 29 seconds, led the women. Her efforts placed her fifth overall and earned her the honor of being on the First Team All-Ivy.  

The next two finishers for Brown were Lauren Pischel ’11 and Elaine Kuckertz ’13 with times of 17:49 and 17:52, respectively. Finishing 10th and 12th, they were both named to the Second Team.   

“I would say we exceeded external expectations that other teams had set for us,” Pischel said. “We performed well and fought really hard for what we wanted.”

Pischel added that the women had been recently ranked behind most of the schools that they beat.

Heidi Caldwell ’14, who had been a top finisher for Brown in the past, slipped to fifth-place on the team. Caldwell said, “It was a very off day. I left the starting line and already felt bad, but the team did really well, so that was exciting.”

Women’s Head Coach Jill Miller said, “It was a good day, not an amazing day, so there are a couple of areas we could work on. Overall, I was really happy, but it can be a springboard.”

Dan Lowry ’12 and Matt Duffy ’12, who finished the 8-kilometer course in 25:20 and 25:24, respectively, led the men. The squad’s poor performance was reflected in the points with Brown accruing 188 points compared to seventh place’s 149 and the winner’s 33.  

Despite their finish, Lowry wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, “I think we all know we are capable of a lot better. We are ready to move on from Heps and come back to surprise people at Regionals.”

Men’s Head Coach Tim Springfield said, “I know we’re a better team than we showed on Friday. We didn’t perform to the level I know we’re capable.”

The men’s team will have another opportunity to prove itself when Bruno competes at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship on Nov. 13 in Madison, Conn.  

“I’m expecting the team to be really excited to just get back out there and execute a little bit better,” Springfield said. “I’m going to try to get us better prepared.”

The regional meet is the second of three important postseason competitions, with the Heptagonal Championships as the first and the NCAA National Championships as the finale on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. There are several paths that can be taken to qualify for nationals.  

The top two teams at each of the nine regional championships automatically qualify and 13 additional at-large teams will be selected by a committee based on a points system.

Additionally, individuals can qualify separately from a non-qualifying team if they are the first four finishers from a region. Again, two additional at-large runners will be selected by committee.

The selection system leaves open the possibility for both of Brown’s teams to advance or for runners to individually qualify. For example, though the men did not qualify as a team last year, Christian Escareno ’11 did compete at nationals by finishing 10th in the region.

For now, the teams are simply focused on running at the ability level they know themselves to be capable of, according to Miller and Springfield.

“We can’t take anything for granted,” Miller said. “We realize we have a lot more potential than we showed this weekend.”