Battling the elements as well as some of the top programs in the country, the Harvard men’s and women’s cross country teams had a strong showing on Friday at the 2017 Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown.
The meet took place at the Crimson’s home course, Franklin Park, located in between Dorchester and Jamaica Plain in Boston. Competing against a strong lineup of other schools from around the nation, the men’s team finished 11th out of the 18 teams represented, with a score of 288 in the 8 kilometer race. On the women’s side, Harvard took home ninth out of a total of 22 schools, competing in the women’s 5K race, racking up 271 points along the way.
For the men’s team, three freshman led the way. In his first career NCAA race, Hugo Milner finished in 19th with a time of 24:46. The next top individual performers were Matthew Pereira and Michael Albers, who crossed the line at 25:34 and 25:38 respectively. The Crimson’s fourth finisher, was Tyler Spear, a senior and team veteran, who clocked in at 25:40. Harvard’s top five finishers all finished within 1:01 of one another, showing the consistency possessed by the team.
“We were led by a really strong contingent of freshmen,” Spear said. “We were very happy with where we were yesterday. It was a step in the right direction. We had some incredible runs from a lot of the guys. We want to keep taking good steps forward and keep developing some of the younger guys.”
In the women’s race, it was again a freshman who led the pack for the Crimson. Abbe Goldstein, in her competitive collegiate debut, finished with a time of 17:36, coming in as the 17th individual finisher out of nearly 200 of the nation’s top long-distance runners. Not far behind were two seniors, captain Elianna Shwayder and Fiona Davis, with times of 17:58 and 18:28, respectively.
“Yesterday was our first real measurement of the season, and we had a couple of real standout performances,” Shwayder said. “Mainly our goal was just to start to get a feel for racing, and apply a good and relaxed approach to that. I think that there are definitely a few more pieces of the puzzle to fall into the fold that will come along as we move out of our foundation state of training.”
With light rain giving way to showers at times throughout the day, the course was extremely muddy. As a result, there were many falls in both the men’s and women’s races. The hardest rain of the day came right as the men’s race was set to begin, causing a sloppy start. Experienced seniors, Spear and Shwayder both saw the challenging conditions in a positive light, seeing the mud as fun and exciting.
“It’s kind of cool to go out there and get muddy.” Spear said.
The women’s team travels next to the Midwest for the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational on October 13th. The men’s team will face off with some of the region’s heavyweights at the New England Championships on October 7th.
—Contributing writer Eamon Mcloughlin can be reached at email@example.com
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