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Ancient Eight Descend on Princeton for Heptagonal Men's Cross Country Championship

Princeton's Alejandro Arroyo Yamin

Championship Central

Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the second-straight year, the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships will be held at Princeton's West Windsor Fields. After dealing with rain and snow in 2011, the Ancient Eight are hoping that running will be the only element of the race they will have to concern themselves with.

The women's race will begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by the men's race at noon. The awards ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m.

For the first time in Ivy League history, the event will not be held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx in consecutive years. The 2011 race marked just the third time the event had only been away from Van Cortlandt on the men's side (1947 and 1979) and the first for the women since 1981. The 2012 competition will have the teams running the same distances as in 2011, with the men going 8K and the women 6K.

Location does not seem to bother the Princeton men's team, which has won five of the past six titles, including the last two. The Tigers are looking for their third-straight Ivy League cross country championship, a feat they have accomplished four times in their history. Columbia edged the Tigers by one point in 2009; otherwise Princeton would be gunning for its seventh-straight title. Princeton junior Tyler Udland is the only first-team All-Ivy winner from a season ago to return, but he will be competing against the entire 2011 All-Ivy second team in this year's race.

Team-by-team breakdowns:

Brown
Ranked No. 11 in the USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll … senior Conor Grogan led the team in both the Paul Short Invitational (47th) and the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (164th) … senior Ben Stephenson led the team in the 8K Nassaney Invitational with a ninth-place finish out of 125 runners … seniors Kevin Cooper and Erik Berg went 6-7 as the Bears won the 8K Iona Meet of Champions … Brown also won the Rothenberg Invitational as Sheeran took second overall.

Columbia
Ranked No. 10 in the nation in the latest USTFCCCA poll, the highest ranking in program history … listed at No. 2 in the Northeast Regional poll … senior Leighton Spencer won the 8K Vermont Invitational and placed 18th in the 8K Louisville Classic, as the Lions placed first and second, respectively … Columbia tied for fifth in the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational … senior Mike Murphy led the way with a 22nd-place finish, crossing the line in 23:47.

Cornell
Ranked No. 10 in the USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll … sophomore Ben Potts has two individual titles this year, in the 8K tri-meet with Army and Binghamton and the Rochester Invitational … senior Nick Wade placed 14th overall in the 8K Paul Short Invitational to lead Cornell to a sixth-place finish … both the team and junior John Schilkowsky placed seventh at the Princeton Invitational on the same course as the Ivy League Championships.

Dartmouth
Spent time in the receiving votes category of the USTFCCCA National Poll this season … currently sits at No. 5 in the Northeast Regional Poll … junior Will Geoghegan has led the team three times, taking the top collegiate spot in the 8K Dartmouth Invitational, placing fifth at the 8K Paul Short Invitational and crossing the line at the same time as junior Jonathan Gault in the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational … Dartmouth won the 100th running of the New England Championship, matching a feat it accomplished in 1912.

Harvard
Ranked No. 4 in the USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll … juniors Maksim Korolev and James Leakos and senior Jakob Lindaas have been the Crimson's best runners, with a 1-2-3 performance in the annual HY meet … Korolev was the only Ivy runner in the top-20 of the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational, placing 18th, while Leakos took 36th … senior Sean Pohorence led the way with an 18th-place finish in the 8K Princeton Invitational as Harvard placed second.

Penn
Ranked No. 12 in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional poll … freshmen Thomas Awad, Brendan Smith and Brandon Clark have led the team so far in 2012 … Awad finished fifth in a 6K race against La Salle … Smith took 12th to lead the team to a sixth-place finish in the 8K Iona Meet of Champions … Smith, Clark and Awad took third, fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 8K Paul Short Invitational Brown race … Smith and Clark went 6-7 in the 8K Leopard Invitational.

Princeton
Defending Ivy League champion … ranked No. 23 in the USTFCCCCA National poll and No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic poll … junior Alejandro Arroyo Yamin has led the team three times this season, including a win in the 8K Spiked Shoe Invitational, a 10th-place finish at the 8K Notre Dame Invitational and a 29th-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational … junior Chris Bendtsen took 17th at Notre Dame and 49th at Wisconsin … Bendtsen was a second-team All-Ivy a year ago.

Yale
Ranked No. 7 in the Northeast Regional poll … sophomore Matthew Nussbaum and senior Kevin Lunn have been Yale's best runners this season … Nussbaum won the 8K Fordham Fiasco and Lunn took second as Yale placed first … Lunn led the team with a fourth-place finish in the annual HY meet … Nussbaum placed 21st in the 8K Paul Short Invitational and crossed the line in 24:26 at the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the fastest time for a Yale runner in over four years.