On Saturday, the Brown men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships. For the first time in the event’s history, the tournament was held at Franklin Park in Boston. The men competed in the eight-kilometer race, finishing in eighth place with an average time of 26 minutes, four seconds. Averaging a time of 22 minutes, 28 seconds in the six-kilometer race, the women placed last among all Ivy teams as well.
Apart from individual results, both teams improved as a whole compared to last year’s Heps performance: The men, on average, were 23 seconds faster, while the women’s team improved by 17 seconds on average.
Miles Mullins ’25 spearheaded the Bears’ efforts with a time of 25 minutes, 20.4 seconds. He “has been a constant leader for our team in big meets and did the same on Saturday,” Men’s Coach Collin Zeffer wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “He was patient early and really raced from 5k on,” finishing the race strong.
Despite being held back by an illness, as Mullins later informed The Herald, he did his best to “position the team for a good day.” Finishing as Brown’s fastest runner and securing the 32nd overall position, he did just that.
“Our team dynamic is very supportive, and we care a great deal about one another,” Mullins wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “When you have this type of relationship with your teammates, it definitely spills over on race day. Racing for the team, and for what we can accomplish together, is often more satisfying than an individual result.”
Further helping the men’s team was Geordie Young ’23. Crossing the finish line in a personal-best time of 26 minutes, 2.2 seconds, Young finished second amongst Brown athletes and 57th overall. Sam Colton ’25 followed, with a time of 26 minutes, 5.1 seconds placing him in 60th.
On the women’s side, Olivia Fraga ’27 delivered a standout performance, finishing in 22 minutes flat. Despite not repeating her season-best time of 21 minutes, 28.4 seconds, her 30th-place finish garnered her the top position among the Bears. “Going into my first Ivy Heps, I was extremely nervous,” Fraga wrote, “but my coach, John Kenworthy, prepared me for this competition very well. I had a great experience running with my teammates and (we pushed) each other during the race.”
“We have done a really good job racing consistently as a group,” Kenworthy wrote of the Bears’ chemistry in a message via Brown Athletics. “We have a large group of women who can contribute and that has been our strength.”
Following just a second behind Fraga, Nimrit Ahuja ’26 finished in 33rd place with a time of 22 minutes, 1.5 seconds. Stephanie Kriss ’24 came in at 22 minutes, 30.1 seconds, placing third among Brown women and 45th overall.
Despite the ultimate last-place result for both teams, Kenworthy and Zeffer remained optimistic about the future. “As we look to build through the league, the first goal is for us to show up and run to our abilities consistently,” Kenworthy wrote. “I think we did a good job at that this weekend, and ultimately we put three finishers ahead of where our first was last year.”
“Even though there weren’t significant changes on the results sheet compared to last year, I’m proud of the way the athletes carried themselves,” Zeffer wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “I’ve seen a lot of progress … and I see positive trends in the way (the team) approaches the sport and the hunger they have to compete.”
Ultimately, the Bears’ key to success is “consistency,” Zeffer wrote. “We really need to live and become driven by competing against those teams and athletes that are better than us. I think our team has a great energy so it’s my job to maintain that.”
The cross country teams will compete next in the NCAA Northeast Regionals in New York on Nov. 10.