NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale women's cross country team will vie for a spot at the NCAA National Championship this weekend. The Bulldogs will take on competition from the Northeast region in Buffalo, N.Y.
For the second straight year, the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship is hosted by Buffalo at the Audubon Golf Course. Last season, the Bulldogs narrowly took fifth at the competition and Andrea Masterson secured an individual bid for the NCAA National Championship.
To qualify for the NCAA National Championship meet automatically, the team must finish in the top two spots. However, after the competition, the NCAA selects several at-large team bids based on performances in inter-regional competitions earlier in the season, creating another opportunity to secure a spot at the national championship.
The top four individual finishers who do not qualify with a team also earn spots for the NCAA National Championship.
The Bulldogs are looking to improve on their finish from last year, and are in a good position to do so. The most recent USTFCCCA regional ranking has Yale ranked fourth regionally, just behind Ivy League competition Dartmouth. Given the team's solid finishes among highly ranked inter-regional competition earlier in the season, the Bulldogs are positioned well heading into the weekend.
Seven Bulldog athletes will be competing in Buffalo on Friday. For a majority of the athletes, they will be returning to Buffalo for the second time, which could afford an advantage of familiarity with the course.
Masterson is coming off a Ivy League individual title, having won in a dominant fashion, and is returning to Buffalo after earning her first NCAA National Championship individual berth last season on this course. At this competition last year, she finished 10th in a talented field. Five of the athletes who finished ahead of her last year have graduated, placing Masterson in a promising position heading into the weekend especially considering her performance at the Ivy League Championship two weekends ago.
Kayley DeLay had a breakthrough race at the Ivy League Championship, finishing second for the team and ninth overall. The Florida native was able to do so despite challenging conditions, which will likely serve her well in the anticipated weather for regionals. Jocelyn Chau will be another athlete to watch having just finished in the top 10 of her first Ivy League Championship in addition to her consistent scoring finish for the Bulldogs so far.
Chau and DeLay will be a duo to watch on Friday's competition.
Morgan McCormick has already proved herself as an important facet of the Bulldogs' varsity squad and will be an impact athlete for Yale this weekend at her first regional competition. Sevanne Ghazarian is returning to Buffalo for the second straight year and looking to continue her consistent pattern of finishing in a scoring position for the Yale. Last season, she recorded a remarkable 20th place finish at this competition.
Juniors Arianna Lord and Jane Miller are also traveling to Buffalo. Miller continued her trajectory of continuous improvement at the Ivy League Championship, coming up just shy of her personal best and finished sixth for the team. For Lord, this will be her first regional competition representing Yale. A classically middle-distance runner, she has significantly improved over the course of the season to establish herself as a cornerstone athlete for the Bulldogs.
Bolstered by veteran athletes and newcomers alike, the Bulldogs are in a strong position heading into the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship. If the team finishes in the top two spots on Friday, it will be the first time since 2016 that the team earned an NCAA National Championship qualifying spot.
Preview by Yale Sports Publicity.