Princeton Looking for Sixth Men's Heptagonal Cross Country Title in Past Seven Years
Photos Courtesy of Columbia Sports Information/Media Relations, Cornell Athletic Communications and Dartmouth Athletics Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton's West Windsor Fields will serve as site of the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships for the third straight year, where the Princeton men's team will be looking to win their third-straight title. But for the third straight year, the Tigers will have to get past the rest of the League to accomplish their goal, which is no easy feat.
Princeton has won six of the past seven Ivy League Cross Country Championships, including the last three. Last year, the Tigers, ranked 23rd in the nation, upset No. 10 Columbia to take the title. In 2013, the Lions (No. 10 nationally, No. 1 Northeast) are again ranked ahead of Princeton (No. 15 nationally, No. 1 Mid-Atlantic), which should make for an exciting race even before you take into account the other two nationally-ranked Ivy squads, Harvard (No. 21) and Dartmouth (receiving votes).
The Bears are ranked No. 13 in the latest USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll. Junior Mark McGurrin has led the team in three different races, placing first overall at the 8K Rothenberg Invitational, 18th at the 8K Iona Meet of Champions and 66th at the 8K Paul Short Invitational. At the Meet of Champions, fellow classmate Jordan Mann took 26th as the Bears finished sixth out of 20 teams. Freshmen Stephen Bourguet and Tucker Hamilton and junior Ben Halpin went 20-23-25 at the 8K Dartmouth Invitational.
The Lions are ranked No. 10 nationally and No. 1 in the Northeast Region by the USTFCCCA. They reached as high as No. 8 in the national poll, a program-best. Columbia has four top-10 finishes this season, including a win at the five-mile Notre Dame Invitational and a sixth-place finish at the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational. At Notre Dame, the Lions bested 27 other teams thanks to senior Nico Composto, fellow classmate Jake Sienko and junior Daniel Everett, who went 12-13-14. The same three were key to the Lions' finish at Wisconsin, as Sienko finished 34th, Everett took 40th and Composto took 50th. Sienko is the team's lone returning All-Ivy runner from 2012, as he placed 13th.
The Big Red is No. 10 in the latest USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll. Sophomore Brian Eimstad has been at the forefront for the Big Red all season. He was the second Big Red to cross the line in both the team's season-opening dual meet against Army (third overall) and the 8K Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown (32nd overall). He then led Cornell with a 122nd-place finish at the 8K Pre-Nationals, his final race before Heps. Senior Gabriel Heck took 30th at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown to lead the team, while junior David Melly was 85th to pace the squad at Paul Short.
The Big Green is in the receiving votes category of the latest USTFCCCA national poll and is No. 6 in the Northeast Region. Dartmouth has finished no worse than third this season, taking second at its 8K home invitational, the 8K Paul Short Invitational and the 8K Rothenberg Run and third at the 8K New England Championship. The team's second-place finish at Paul Short marked a program-best. Senior Will Geoghegan was the top collegiate finisher at the Dartmouth Invitational and took third at Paul Short, where he was followed closely by fellow classmate John Bleday (seventh). Geoghegan placed fifth at last year's Heps.
The Crimson is ranked No. 21 nationally and No. 5 in the Northeast Region by the USTFCCCA. Harvard took fourth at the 8K Paul Short Invitational, ninth at the 8K Princeton Invitational and 13th at the 8K Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Seniors James Leakos and Maksim Korolev, who placed 19th and 22nd at last year's Ivy League Championship to lead the Crimson, have again led their team in 2013. The two went 1-2 at the 8K HY meet, with Leakos in front. He then won the Paul Short Invitational with the second-fastest time in race history (23:13), while Korolev took 11th. The two switched places at Wisconsin, as Korolev was the runner-up and Leakos finished 10th.
The Quakers are ranked No. 9 in the latest USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional poll. Penn returns sophomores Brendan Smith and Thomas Awad, who led the team at the 2012 Ivy League Championship by placing 27th and 33rd, respectively. Both have paced Penn this season, as Smith was the first Quaker to cross the line at the four-mile Main Line Invitational (eighth) and Awad led the squad at both the 8K Paul Short Invitational (25th) and Pre-Nationals (65th). Senior Conor Nickel finished 10th in a pair of races, the 6K Big 5 Invitational and the Main Line Invitational.
The Tigers, ranked No. 15 nationally and No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by the USTFCCCA, return three of the top four finishers from last year's Heps, including Chris Bendtsen, Alejandro Arroyo Yamin and Tyler Udland, who went 1-2-4. Princeton won the 8K Paul Short Invitational Brown race and the 8K Delaware Invitational, placed third at the five-mile Notre Dame Invitational and the 8K Princeton Invitational and sixth at the 8K Pre-Nationals. Junior Sam Pons led the team at Delaware and Pre-Nationals, winning the former and taking 35th in the latter. Bendtsen and Udland placed second and third, respectively, at Delaware and then ninth and 11th at Notre Dame.
The Bulldogs are No. 7 in the latest USTFCCCA Northeast Regional poll. Sophomore Alex Conner, who placed 32nd at the 2012 Heps, led the team in the annual 8K HY meet with a sixth-place finish, followed by freshman James Randon, who took seventh. The Bulldogs placed second at the 8K Iona Meet of Champions, as Conner (14th) finished just ahead of Randon (15th). The team then took seventh at the 8K Paul Short Invitational, led by sophomore Kevin Dooney (29th) and junior John McGowan (38th), who also finished eighth at HY and 17th at the Meet of Champions.