Cross country posts strong results before Wisconsin Invitational
By Emma Willems
Published on Thursday, October 11, 2012
On Sunday, both the Dartmouth men’s and women’s cross country teams found success at the 100th annual New England Championship in Westfield, Mass. The runners proved that the Big Green can perform well even with its top runners resting for this weekend’s important race at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wis.
The men’s team finished the meet in first place with 83 points, 40 points ahead of runner-up Boston College. The runners competed in an eight-kilometer race on a relatively flat course in ideal dry and cool conditions.
Silas Talbot ’15 finished first for the team and third overall with a time of 24:24, almost a minute faster than his personal best.
“Going into it, I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did,” Talbot said. “Although I wanted to help the team as much as I could, coming out on top exceeded my expectations.”
Henry Sterling ’14 followed Talbot in seventh place with a time of 24:34, another personal best. Behind him were Brian Masterson ’16 in 16th place with a time of 24:46 and Steve Mangan ’14, who came in 22nd place with a time of 24:59. Adam Doherty ’13 rounded out the Big Green top five, coming in 35th at 25:11.
A total of 37 teams participated in the men’s race. Yale University, Boston University and Tufts College made up the rest of the top five.
With top runners out of the picture this weekend, the meet was a chance for other runners to qualify for the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships, a meet in which the top 12 runners on the team participate.
“For a lot of guys, this is one of the deciding races that gets them into the Heptagonals,” Talbot said.
The meet was also particularly significant for underclassmen on the team.
“It’s a good opportunity for freshmen and sophomores to show how they’ve been improving because its not a huge intensity meet, but there’s still pretty good competition,” Sterling said.
Overall, the meet results illustrated the depth on the cross-country team this year.
“I think this year is the deepest that our team has been in a while,” Sterling said. “Our freshmen are already running under 25 [minutes], which is faster than it was when I got here.”
For its part, the women’s team came in third place with a total of 139 points behind champion Boston College and runner-up University of Vermont. The women competed in a five-kilometer race, shorter than the six-kilometer race they usually run.
Samantha Harmon ’15 led the Dartmouth pack of finishers, completing the course in 16th place at 17:48, a personal best. She was followed by Alison Lanois ’15, who finished in 22nd place with a time of 17:53.
“We did really well as a team,” Harmon said. “Almost all of the girls [ran personal bests] and did really well.”
Katelyn Walker ’14 came in 28th at 18:04. Ashley Ulrich ’15 and Claudia Pham ’15 finished fourth and fifth on the team, crossing the finish line in 36th and 37th place, respectively.
The meet was also a chance for some of the female runners to gain a spot at the Heptagonals.
On Friday, Dartmouth’s top men and women will travel to Madison for the Wisconsin Invitational to face off against several other top teams in the nation. The meet is at a much higher level than most of Dartmouth’s previous meets and represents a chance for the Big Green to scope out this year’s NCAA competition.
“It’s a highly competitive meet,” Harmon said. “It’s good for [the team] to get out there and see what the competition is like before the bigger races.”
The meet in Wisconsin is also vital to the team because it is a chance for Dartmouth to battle other ranked teams to gain at-large points and qualify for nationals.
“I think everyone is looking good and feeling great,” Talbot said. “I think we’re all confident that we can do something big this weekend.”
Teammates point to the runners’ training thus far as a deciding factor in preparing for this meet and the season as a whole.
“The guys have shown that they’re in really good shape in workouts,” Sterling said. “I think we’re going to have a really good race, and I’m excited to see the results.”
Whether or not they succeed this weekend, the older runners have already played an important role on the team this year.
“They’ve done a great job getting the team used to the intensity of cross country and to the focus you need to succeed,” Sterling said. “A lot of the younger teammates look up to them because they’ve been one of the best classes on the team in terms of [personal bests] and just in general.”