Men take home fourth, women falter at Heps

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 31, 2011

While Saturday’s unseasonable snowfall left many students shuffling in the cold between Halloween parties, the men’s and women’s cross country teams raced eight and six kilometers respectively in the swirling snow at the 2011 Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships at Princeton.

The men garnered 91 points to earn fourth place among the eight teams competing, 12 points behind third-place Dartmouth. The Princeton men took home the hardware for the second straight year.

The Brown women finished seventh in the eight-team field and tallied 153 points, 24 points behind Harvard and 104 points behind first-place Cornell. The Big Red victory ended the Princeton women’s streak of five consecutive Ivy League titles.

Midway through the men’s race, a steady rain turned to snow, which did not let up until both races were over.

“That was the most painful experience I have ever had in my entire life,” said Dan Lowry ’12. “The cold and the fatigue were completely unreal.”

Tim Springfield, head coach of the men’s squad, said the conditions were as harsh as any he has seen at a cross country race.  

“I don’t think any of us have ever had such terrible conditions before,” said Margaret Connelly ’14. “It was definitely the hardest race I had ever had.”

Though the inclement weather affected all competitors, runners responded variably to the conditions, said Mitchell Baker, head coach of the women’s team.  

“Many were trying to push, and they couldn’t get their legs going,” Baker said. “They finished feeling like they had more to give.”

Connelly led the women’s team with a time of 22 minutes, 30 seconds and finished 10th overall. Heidi Caldwell ’14 was the next finisher for Bruno in 22:38 and claimed the 14th spot in the race. Both Connelly and Caldwell were named to the All-Ivy second team.  

Connelly and Caldwell turned in strong performances, but the next finisher for Brown, Abigail Jones ’15, was almost a minute behind the duo, which hurt the team’s collective score.

Lowry, who finished the race fourth overall in 24:58, led the men’s team in the race. Matt Duffy ’12 claimed the sixth spot in the field and second for Bruno with a time of 25:10. Both Lowry and Duffy earned first-team All-Ivy honors for their performances, helping Bruno improve on its last place finish in 2010.   

“They both ran really excellent races and led the team in every aspect,” Springfield said. “Those guys have been great leaders for four years, so it was nice to see them go out with very strong performances.”

Lowry said he had initially planned to stay at the back of the top group, but race conditions forced him to be more aggressive.

“There was a lot of pushing and shoving, so I just went right to the front row,” Lowry said. “The last mile you could just feel your body shutting down, and it was just a matter of making it to the finish.”

Though Springfield said the team had hoped to perform at a higher level, he was pleased with the team’s depth.

Multiple runners competed for the fifth and final scoring finish for Bruno, including Brendan Boyle ’14 and Erik Berg ’13, who finished within a second of each other.

“It was just a lot of improvement over the course of the year,” Springfield said. “I was really pleased with the amount of improvement that the squad showed.”

The men and women will next compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 12. Both teams will have the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships later this month in Terre Haute, Ind. Runners can also qualify individually for the race.

“I don’t think this race is a reflection of our ability or our fitness level,” Connelly said. “I think regionals will be a whole new start.”


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