PRINCETON, N.J. - For the second consecutive season, the Columbia men's cross country team finished second in the 8k-race of the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Princeton, N.J. on Saturday, Oct. 27. A team total of 58 points placed the Lions 19 points ahead of third-place Dartmouth (77), but fell short of first-place Princeton with 26 points, the second lowest Heps team score since 1997.
The 10th-ranked Columbia Lions headed into Heps this year facing the challenge of the frontrunner. Coming off fantastic performances in the Greater Louisville Classic and the Wisconsin Invitational, the Lions were one of the favorites in this year's race. Through the second mile mark Columbia took a slim team lead over Princeton controlling the pack for much of the race. On their home course, the Tigers battled back to place four runners in the top-10 to capture the title.
Leading the Lions was senior Leighton Spencer placing third with a personal best time of 23:50.6, earning first team All-Ivy League honors. Columbia garnered two second team All-Ivy League selections with an eighth place finish from senior Mike Murphy (23:59.3) and 13th place finish from junior Jacob Sienko (24:12.5).
The Columbia women's team faced a different challenge heading into the 6k-race at Heps. Due to injury, the team lined up without the programs top two finishers in last year's race, first-team All-Ivy League performers, Waverly Neer and Caroline McDonough.
The women's race saw a dominating performance by Cornell, who swept the top three spots en route to a team winning total of 31 points. The Lions placed sixth with a team total of 116 points with four runners in the top 25. Senior Mallory Anderson led the pace with an 18th place finish, crossing the line at 21:07.5. Finishing just seconds apart were, senior Erin Gillingham (23rd, 21:12.0), junior Caroline Williams (24th, 21:13.8), and senior Clare Buck(25th, 21:14.5).
Up next, both the men's and women's team will compete in the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regionals in Madison, Conn. on Saturday, Nov. 9.