Get to that last stretch and everything will be fine.
“Once you have only a little [of the race] left,” Galebach said, “you can gut your way through it no matter how you’re feeling.”
Using a late-race surge over the last portion of the course, Galebach blasted his way to a No. 3 place finish and a time of 24:48, leading the Harvard men’s cross country team to a No. 21 finish in a field of 45 teams at the New England Championships.
Crimson coach Jason Saretsky knew that Galebach was capable of such a performance.
“I knew he was fast,” Saretsky said. “The expectations were for him to go out and run a good, solid race.”
Galebach far exceeded those expectations, as his time of 24:48 was the fastest of any current Harvard harrier and marked the first time a Crimson harrier had run under 25 minutes for the eight-kilometer course.
Behind Galebach was a slew of freshmen, many of whom were running in their first varsity race. With most of the Crimson’s top runners resting in preparation for next weekend’s Pre-Nationals meet in Indiana, this was an opportunity to give some younger runners a chance to shine.
“The way the schedule is set up,” Saretsky said, “gives each member of the team an opportunity to run fast. I thought [the freshmen] performed well out there today.”
Handling themselves like veterans, freshmen Charles Gillespie, Tom Cox and Robert Kenney all placed in the top 165 of the field of 303, gaining valuable experience and laying the groundwork for future success.
The women’s cross country team, like the men’s, rested most of their top runners, allowing younger runners like freshman Stacy Carlson the chance to prove themselves.
Carlson, leading the women’s team to a No. 31 finish in a field of 46 teams at the New England Championships, placed No. 73 with a time of 19:00 for the five-kilometer course, earning a spot on the varsity team for next weekend’s meet.
“It was different without [the top runners] there,” Carlson said. “Usually I can see them up ahead of me and I try to stay with them...There were a lot of people in the meet though, so I was able to find a different group to latch on to.”
Following Carlson was junior Lauren Walker, who placed No. 138 in a time of 19:34, and junior Erika Geihe, who negotiated the course in 19:51 for No. 168 place.
Up next weekend for both the men’s and women’s teams is a trip to Terre Haute, Ind. to run in the famous Pre-Nationals meet alongside the best collegiate runners in the country.