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Elis Set to Begin 2016 Season

James Randon.
James Randon.

Bulldogs Seek to Build on Strong 2015 Season This Fall

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After marking the team's best performance at the Ivy League Championships since 2003 last year, building and improving on this strong finish will likely be on the minds of 2016 men's cross country team. Lead by Head Coach Paul Harkins and captain James Randon, the team is set to begin competing in just a couple weeks. This season promises a mix of historic meets and races that none of the athletes on the team have raced before, as well as a combination of new talent and seasoned upperclassmen.

"Every new season brings with it such excitement and optimism and this year is no different!" commented Coach Harkins.  "From the talent we have returning to the arrival of our freshman class—we are just itching to get started and see how we stack up!"

While the team loses the fast times and leadership of All-American Kevin Dooney '16, the depth of the team ensures that there are many athletes who are poised to step up.

First in line is Randon, who beat Dooney at Pre-Nationals in 2015. Randon went on to break Yale records and earn All-American recognition during the track and field season, culminating with an eighth-place finish in the 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Championships. Randon's primary task will be converting these quick track times into strong performances on longer cross country courses and leading the team to strong collective performances as team captain.

Juniors Adam Houston and Cameron Stanish will likely be key athletes this season. Stanish regularly finished within the team's top five and Houston moved into this group by the end of the 2015 season. With both athletes marking the halfway point in their collegiate careers, they will be important leaders for the incoming athletes.

Seniors Andre Ivankovic and Spike Sievert as well as sophomore Pascal Ungersboeck make up the remainder of the returning athletes who often finished in the team's top seven last season. Some of these athletes will likely move up into the team's scoring five this fall.

Seniors Tim Cox and Ryan Douglas as well as juniors Ryan Brady, Casey Celestin, Matt Chisholm, Thomas Gmür, Schan Lartigue, Scott Meehan, Hale Ross and Michael Yuan comprise the remaining upperclassmen. These athletes will be important leaders and mentors and could also move up into the team's top seven or five with strong performances.

Among the returning sophomores, Trevor Reinhart will bring experience from a strong track and field season, alongside Zach Capello who competed at the Ivy League Championships last cross country season. Dylan Lesko rounds out the group of returning sophomores.

The team also welcomes six talented athletes with strong high school performances that will benefit the team and help replace the graduated seniors.

James Lewis (Westport, Conn.) was the Connecticut State Runner-Up in the 1,000-meter run in 2016 and earned All-State honors in cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track and field.

Jonathan Lomogda (Virginia Beach, Va.) placed third in 2014 then first in 2015 at the Virginia State 6A Cross Country Championships and then went on to finish 17th at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships.

Armstrong Noonan (Darien, Conn.) is an All-American track and field athlete who placed sixth in the 3,200-meter run at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals after taking second at the Connecticut State Championships.

Peter Ryan (Manlius, N.Y.) earned All-American honors for finishing 15th at the Nike Cross National Championships and lead his team to victory at this meet in 2014.

Allen Siegler (San Diego) raced at the California State Cross Country Championships two years in a row and placed eighth in the 1,600-meter run at the California State Track and Field Championships.

Austin Stoner (Haddonfield, N.J.) led his team to two cross country state championships and individually placed seventh at the New Jersey State Championships in 2015.

The team will race at eight or nine meets, depending on qualification for the NCAA Championships. The team opens with the Fordham Fiasco on Sept. 10, allowing the team to preview Van Cortlandt Park, where the NCAA Regional Championships will be held. The next week the team will race Harvard and Princeton at Princeton on Sept. 17, followed two weeks later by the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 30. Then the team will run a familiar set of meets: the New England Championships (Oct. 8), Pre-Nationals (Oct. 15) and the CCSU Mini-Meet (Oct. 21). Of these, Pre-Nationals is the largest meet and provides a valuable opportunity to run on the NCAA Championships course in Terre Haute, Ind. The team's post season begins on Oct. 29, with the Ivy League Championships, hosted by Princeton this year, followed by NCAA Northeast Regionals (Nov. 11) and the NCAA Championships (Nov. 19).

Report by Joseph Battles '18, Yale Sports Publicity