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Elis to Race Rivals Saturday

Andre Ivankovic. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Andre Ivankovic. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale to Run at Harvard/Yale/Princeton in First Ivy League Competition of 2016

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's cross country team will head to Princeton on Saturday to compete at the Harvard/Yale/Princeton Tri-Meet. After many athletes ran personal bests last week at the Fordham Fiasco, the team is looking to put down some strong performances against its historic rivals. All three teams have lost two of their seven top finishers from 2015, including three of the overall top five runners from this meet last year. Furthermore, over the past two years, the tri-meet has often featured very close finishes, with the Bulldogs missing first place in 2014 by just a point and beating Harvard in a tiebreak in 2015. Thus, each athlete on the team, and especially the rising athletes who will replace the graduated seniors on the team's top seven, could help the Bulldogs pull off a victory.

In the past two years, the Elis have raced the majority of the athletes on the team at this meet, and assuming this year is similar, junior James Randon will likely lead the way for the team. He finished 10th last year and made large strides through the rest of the cross country season and then improved even more rapidly during his record-breaking track season. If he runs, Randon will be one of the favorites to win the race, as he finished ahead of every Harvard and Princeton athlete who ran at the Ivy League Cross Country Championships in 2015.

However, the performance of a large group of seniors and juniors behind Randon will likely be even more important than any one person's race. This group includes four athletes who raced in the team's top seven at this meet last year: juniors Adam Houston and Cameron Stanish, and seniors Andre Ivankovic and Spike Sievert.

Stanish was the highest finisher among this group at Harvard/Yale/Princeton last year and actually finished ahead of Randon. Houston finished fifth on the team at this meet last year and scored as the third finisher for the Elis at the Fordham Fiasco last week. Sievert and Ivankovic finished sixth and seventh, respectively, for the Elis at HYP in 2015. Both have continued to demonstrate their ability to finish among the top racers on the team at Fordham, where Ivankovic finished second for the team and third overall, while Sievert set a personal best, placing fourth among the Elis.

Junior Hale Ross will also likely be a part of this group of upperclassmen. He took second overall and the top spot on the team at the Fordham Fiasco with a personal best of more than 30 seconds.

There are also many freshmen and sophomores who could be vital contributors to the team's performance on Saturday. Based on previous performances, sophomores Trevor Reinhart and Pascal Ungersboeck are two of the stronger athletes in this group, with Ungersboeck competing in the team's scoring seven through most of the 2015 season and Reinhart making big improvements throughout the track and field season. Sophomore Zach Capello is also competitive with this group, and raced at the Ivy League Championships during both the cross country and indoor track and field seasons.

Among the freshmen, Armstrong Noonan and Allen Siegler scored for the Bulldogs at Fordham, with Noonan finishing in the Bulldogs' top five and in the top 10 of the meet as a whole. Siegler finished just 4.2 seconds behind Noonan at this meet. They could be top-seven competitors for the Elis should they race this Saturday.

There are also many more athletes, especially in the junior class, who would bring strong momentum from Fordham if they race this weekend. Juniors Matt Chisholm, Scott Meehan and Michael Yuan all set personal bests of more than 20 seconds last week, with Chisholm running about a minute faster than he ever had before in the eight-kilometer race.

Finally, freshmen Jonathan Lomogda and Peter Ryan have yet to race this season, while James Lewis and Austin Stoner have just one collegiate race behind them. Any of these four athletes could be strong finishers, potentially even among the team's top seven, on Saturday.

The meet will take place at West Windsor Fields in Princeton, N.J. on Saturday. The races begin at 10:30 a.m.

Report by Joseph Battles '18, Yale Sports Publicity