PRINCETON, N.J. – Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 will now go down in history as the day the Columbia men’s cross country team captured its fourth Ivy League title at the 2013 Ivy League Cross Country Heptagonal Championships. The Lions put on a show in the men’s 8k race on the way to one its best Heps performances in program history.
With a team total of 48 points, Columbia tied its best total since 1979 when they captured their first Ivy League title. The Lions victory ended the reign of three-time defending conference champion No. 15 Princeton. The Tigers finished in second place with 56 points, followed by Dartmouth in third place with 64 points and No. 21 Harvard in fourth place with 103 points.
The Lions fabled pack-running performed at an all-time high on Saturday with three Lions grabbing top-five finishes. Senior Nicolas Composto led the way with a stellar day to take second-place with a career-best time of 23:44.5. Composto’s runner-up finish marked the fastest individual 8k Heps time in program history and earned the Chicago native a first-team All-Ivy League honor.
“Every year Princeton always seems to beat us at Heps, but today was our day,” said Composto. “We were determined to run as hard as we could and we just really wanted to win the championship today.”
John Gregorek had a strong performance, finishing in fourth place with a career-best time of 23:45.0, just steps behind teammate Daniel Everett, who came in fifth with a time of 23:46.3. These big-time efforts gave the Lions three first-team All-Ivy League honorees, the most in Columbia history.
Three more Lions also helped Columbia round out the top-25 in a field of 95 runners. Senior Jacob Sienko came in at 17th with a time of 24:07.0, first-year Jack Boyle came in at 20th, clocking in at 24:14.2 and sophomore Ben Golestan added a 21st-place finish at 24:19.3.
On the women’s side, Waverly Neer had a standout day, garnering her second consecutive individual runner-up performance at Heps. The junior crossed the finish line in 20:20, only trailing one of the nation’s best runners in Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino, who posted an Ivy League record time of 19:40.8.
“Waverly ran phenomenal today," said Columbia head coach Willy Wood. “For her to finish second with the time she had was just an incredibe step forward considering the amount of time she missed last year.”
Neer led the Columbia women’s squad to a fifth-place overall finish. Senior Caroline Williams captured 15th-place at 21:16.9 and junior Madeline Rathbun posted a top-25 finish by placing 21st in 21:32.6. First-year Pegah Karmani also performed well in her inaugural Heps meet with a 27th-place time of 21:39.5.