NEW YORK - Led by sophomore Caroline McDonough, who finished second, and senior Jacqueline Drouin who came in third, the Columbia women's cross country team had an outstanding performance at the 2010 Ivy League Cross Country Championships, coming in second overall, with 60 points. On the men's side, senior Thomas Poland was the top performer, coming in fourth overall, and leading the team to a third place finish.
The women’s 5k race started at 11 a.m., with a light rain falling on Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. But that didn’t affect Columbia’s top two runners, as McDonough and Drouin were with the front of the pack right from the gun. Coming out of the woods, both women looked good, as they came in ten and five seconds ahead of their nearest competitor. McDonough crossed the line in 17:18.9, second out of 93 runners, while Drouin placed third with her time of 17:22.3. Both women will earn first-team All-Ivy League honors for their efforts.
Senior Julianne Quinn was next to cross the line for the Lions, as she came in 15th overall, in 17:54.8, just one place shy of second team All-Ivy League honors. She was followed shortly by sophomore Noelle Van Rysselberghe, who came in 17th, in 17:56.7. Senior Erin Hays had one of her best Heps performances of her career, coming in 23rd overall, finishing with at time of 18:02.1 to round out the top five. Hays’ top 25 finish was critical for the Lions, as third place Brown was just three points behind Columbia.
Rounding out the top seven for the Lions were sophomore Erin Gillingham (28th – 18:15.7) and sophomore Clare Buck (37th – 18:25.9). Senior Hannah Kligman was the next to finish, coming in 44th, and displacing those who followed her, with a time of 18:32.2, just ahead of sophomore Emily Lanois (47th - 18:35.3) and first-year Alexis Shustrom (48th – 18:36.0). Senior Alexandra Crawley (55th – 18:43.1) and Samantha Casale Lee (73 – 19:06.1) completed the squad, fairing well at their last cross country championships.
The men followed the women’s race, as their five-mile trek began at 11:45 a.m., with better weather. There was no rain, but the battle for the top spots were just as intense, if not more so. On the first lap around the infield of Van Cortlandt Park, the entire men’s field of 93 runners stayed together, and they didn’t change pace on their second time around. Columbia ran as a pack, with seniors Brendan Martin and Thomas Poland taking the lead, but with all 12 of Columbia’s runners hanging tough near the front. But then the squad headed into the hills, and the pack began to separate. Coming out of the woods on their way into the final miles, Poland had stayed with the front four runners, and Martin wasn’t far behind. A second lap through the hills of VCP sorted things out even more, as the top four runners didn’t cross the finish line together.
Poland had an outstanding race, coming in fourth out of 93 runners, with a time of 24:30.4, averaging 4:56 a mile. He will earn first-team All-Ivy League honors for his efforts. Martin wasn’t far behind, coming in 15th overall, with a time of 25:02.6. First-year Jacob Sienko (23rd – 25:12.4), senior Anthony Merra (25th - 25:14.3) and senior Dustin Martin (27th – 25:15.4) rounded out the top five for the Lions, who finished third as a team, with 94 points. Junior Justin Heck and sophomore Mark Feigen rounded out the top seven, as Heck came in 30th in 25:24.5, and Feigen placed 36th in 25:32.1.
Up next for both the men and the women are the NCAA Northeast Regionals, which will determine which squads and individuals will compete at the NCAA National Championships. Regionals will take place at Hammonassett State Park, in Madison, Conn., Saturday, November 13.