PRINCETON, N.J. - Columbia's Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Daniel Ireland has been tabbed the Ivy League Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year, announded today by the league office.
This past Friday, the No. 24 ranked women's team picked up an Ivy League title at Van Cortlandt Park behind a pair of all-conference runners. The Lions edged second place Dartmouth by seven points, with six individuals among the top-18 finishers. Nell Crosby was a first team All-Ivy honoree, taking fourth place in 21:15.0 over the 6k course, followed by second team All-Ivy selection Erin Melly, who was 14th overall at 21:32.9.
Columbia's next four runners followed right behind Melly in places 15-18, helping to secure enough points to take the title behind Fiona Danieu, Erin Gregoire, Bianca Alonzo and Sarah Hardie. Ireland and his staff helped the women's team accomplish a feat no other team had achieved in Ivy League history, when Columbia went from eighth place a season ago to capturing a crown this year.
This is the third time Ireland has picked up an Ivy League Coach of the Year honor, as he was also recognized when the Columbia men won an Ivy League cross country title in the fall of 2015, and when the Columbia women finished second at the 2015 Indoor Heps.
The cross country staff also helped the men's team to a strong outing last Friday, with the overall champion coming from Columbia, along with four total All-Ivy League honorees.
Ryan Thomas took the tape in the men's 5 Mile race on Friday, edging a trio of Princeton runners to lead the Lions, who were receiving votes in the latest USTFCCCA poll, to a second place team finish. The senior earned his second career Ivy League Championship, as he also won the 5,000m run at last spring's Outdoor Heps. Thomas crossed the line in 24:57.0, giving him his second victory of the fall after winning Iona Meet of Champions on Sept. 15.
Kenny Vasbinder and Brian Zabilski joined Thomas on the All-Ivy League first team, taking fifth place and seventh, respectively. The pair were both second team All-Ivy League runners a season ago, and both qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Junior Lucky Schreiner claimed eighth place for a spot on the All-Ivy League second team, nabbing his third top-10 finish of the fall.