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BRIEF: Cross Country Squads Show Promise at H-Y-P

Senior Collin Price sprints toward the finish line in a race last season. The senior finished sixth at last weekend's Harvard Yale dual competition.
This past weekend, the Harvard men’s and women’s cross country teams put forth encouraging performances as they competed against Ancient Eight rivals, Yale and Princeton. On the men’s side, with an average time of 18:45 for the 6k, the Crimson defeated its rivals from New Haven by a score of 21-36 in a dual meet. For the women, Harvard finished in third place behind the Bulldogs and the Tigers, scoring 59 points with an average time of 18:16 for the 5k.

The men’s decisive victory over the Bulldogs could be attributed to strong races by sophomore Hugo Milner and junior Will Battershill, who earned first and second in the race respectively. Both Milner (18:32) and Battershill (18:37) averaged under five minute mile pace for the entirety of their 6ks and outpaced everyone else in the race by over nine seconds. The team’s leaders are both looking to improve upon their times from last season, and this race appears to be a good indicator of their capacity to do so.

The Crimson’s success in this dual meet was also predicated on the stellar races run by star freshmen David Melville and Luke Laverdiere. The freshmen arrived in Cambridge after decorated high school running careers, both with sub 4:20 miles, personal bests in the two mile of 9:11, and sub 15:20 in the 5k for cross country. Melville (18:47) and Laverdiere (18:58) were fourth and ninth respectively in this race and both had sub-19 minute times. As Harvard’s third and fifth scorers, both freshmen played a critical role in leading the Crimson to victory and will continue to be an integral part of their rotation for the remainder of the season.

The rest of the men’s team had solid races, but has room for improvement if the team is to compete at its best during the back end of the season. There were seven different Yale runners in between the Crimson’s sixth man Kaeo Kruse and their seventh man John Fish, who finished 9th and 17th respectively in the race. In order to perform well at bigger meets with more teams, Harvard will need stronger races from their sixth and seventh man, whose ability to displace other runners will be vital to the team’s success. If the back end of the team is able to keep pace with the Crimson’s front runners, Friday’s victory will be a harbinger of good things to come for the men’s cross country team.

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Despite finishing behind the Bulldogs and Tigers in the women’s meet, the top three Crimson runners had formidable races that demonstrated their capacity to compete against the Ivy League’s best runners. Sophomore Abbe Goldstein lead the way with a fourth-place finish and a 17:46 in the 5k. Junior Gillian Meeks (18:00) and freshman Maya Rayle (18:25) also ran well, finishing ninth and thirteenth respectively. In order for Harvard to have better results as the season progresses, the rest of the runners in the top seven must keep pace with Goldstein, Meeks, and Rayle.. The aforementioned trio have shown the potential to be an anchor upfront to help the Crimson reach its utmost potential this season, and compete with the best of the Ancient Eight.

Next week, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete at the Battle in Beantown in Franklin Park, where they look to build off the stellar races they had at HYP this past weekend.  

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