Two weeks after beating Yale in the 100th iteration of the Harvard-Yale meet at Boston’s Franklin Park, consistency and individual improvements carried the Crimson women’s cross country team into a fourth-place finish at Virginia’s Panorama Farms invitational.
Viviana Hanley, the junior who finished first at the meet two weeks ago, managed to shave off 31 seconds from her previous time to finish first for Harvard and 19th place overall. Captain Morgan Kelly likewise took off almost half a minute for a time of 17:34.
Coming ten places behind Kelly, freshman Madeleine Ankhelyi clocked a 17:56 to give the Crimson its final sub-18 minute 5k time for the race. At the two-mile mark, all three runners were separated by roughly ten seconds.
“Harvard-Yale was a wonderful opening to our season, but the race this weekend at Panorama Farms was our first chance, as a team, to compete at a large invite,” Ankhelyi said. “The course was challenging, and allowed us to make a real testimony to the hard training we’ve been putting in. It was definitely mentally tough to get through, but having such a supportive team made it that much easier. At any point during the race, I was able to look up and find another crimson uniform in the crowd around me. We have improved since our first race at Franklin Park, and this season is bound to see a lot more coming from Harvard women’s cross country.”
Three of the next four to finish for Harvard—junior Jennifer Guidera, freshman Caroline Marshall, and junior Erika Veidis—were not able to produce half-minute improvements like Hanley and Kelly, but managed to stay as a pack, as they all passed the two mile mark within a second of 11:29. The trio finished in the top 60, with Guidera leading the way with a time of 18:10.
For those three, as well as sophomore Selena Pasadyn, the final mile would prove to be the deciding factor. Pasadyn, leading Guidera by 12 seconds at the two mile mark, fell behind, as Guidera clocked a strong 6:41 final mile on her way to finishing 38th overall.
Guidera passed 21 runners in the last mile of the race, more than any other runner at the invitational. Despite the strong kick, Guidera was unable to pass Navy’s Christina Blair, who edged the junior by one one-hundredth of a second.
“I definitely would have liked to have passed that girl,” Guidera said. “I was pretty tired and I was coming through with a bunch of people on that final stretch. If I could go back, I would’ve liked to have passed her.”
The combined effort from the rest of the team helped Harvard top Ole Miss and California by 6 and 14 points, respectively. Virginia, ranked 16th nationally and running on its home turf, took first with a total of 42 points, while William and Mary and Eastern Kentucky finished second and third, respectively.
“The most important thing for the team is going to be staying healthy,” Kelly said. “We’re off to a really good start…[and] we’re going to keep on improving.”