Women’s team places third in Ivy League Championship

Sports Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In a repeat of its 2010 results, the women’s cross country team earned third place, while the men’s team finished last at Saturday’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, hosted by Princeton. The women earned 93 points, tying Harvard and falling shy of second-place Princeton by only two points. Cornell won on the women’s side with 31 points, while Princeton dominated the men’s race, accruing only 26 points compared to Bruno’s 223.

“It was a good day all around,” said Mitchell Baker, head coach of women’s cross country. “I think it is hard to sometimes know what’s going to happen at the end, but we batted a pretty good percentage yesterday.”

Heidi Caldwell ’14 led the women in the six-kilometer race and finished fourth overall in 20 minutes, 36 seconds. She was followed in quick succession by Olivia Mickle ’13 and Margaret Connelly ’14, who finished in 20:39 and 20:44, respectively. 

“I think we really went out there and showed what we could do,” Caldwell said. “I was so proud of everyone.”

All three women were named to the first-team All-Ivy, the first time that the women’s team has had three runners receive the honor since 2000, Baker said. 

The women’s finish shows that they have a presence in both the league and the region, Caldwell said. 

The final two women to score for Bruno were Leah Eickhoff ’15 and Bree Shugarts ’13, who finished back-to-back in 21:50 and 21:51, respectively. The total spread – time difference between the first and fifth runners to finish – was 1:15. But Baker said he would like to see a spread closer to one minute at the upcoming regional meet, as a small spread is important in larger races. 

The women ran a strategic race with Connelly and Mickle establishing themselves in the top pack of runners early on, while Caldwell worked her way up to the front, Baker said. Eickhoff and Shugarts planned to be in the middle of the race, Baker added.

“The front three raced really well. There was quite a bit of jocking out of the front 10,” Baker said. “In the second half, it was the Cornell women and us back and forth the whole time.”

Conor Grogan ’13 led the men’s cross country team and finished the eight-kilometer course 31st overall in 24:38. He was followed by Brendan Boyle ’14, who crossed the finish line in 24:59, and Austin Snyder ’13, who finished with a time of 25:01. 

Ned Willig ’16 and Mark McGurrin ’15 rounded out the final two scoring slots for Bruno and claimed times of 25:20 and 25:31, respectively. One of Bruno’s top runners, Erik Berg ’13, was forced to drop out of the race due to a possible injury, said Tim Springfield, head coach of men’s cross country.

“It was the same story we’ve been having all year,” Springfield said. “I don’t know the cause, but we’re not able to execute in the race in a manner that is consistent with our level of fitness.”

The season’s lackluster performances include a 14th place finish at the Paul Short Invitational in September and a 44th place finish at the Adidas Invitational earlier this month. 

“It’s frustrating for me and for the athletes,” Springfield said. “I just know that the team’s better than that.”

The men will have an opportunity to redeem themselves Nov. 9, when both teams will compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional championship meet in Madison, Conn. The meet will offer the opportunity to qualify as a team or individually for the Nov. 17 national NCAA Championship in Louisville, Ky.

The Ivy League Championship was a good confidence builder for the women, but work remains to be done, Baker said. Caldwell said she hopes to qualify for nationals along with teammates Mickle and Connelly. 

Springfield said the men will persevere and bring their best effort to regionals.

“You get knocked down sometimes, and you have to get right back up and get on it,” Springfield said. “So that’s the message going forward.” 


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