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While it is still early in the season for the men’s and women’s cross and country teams, it seems that the teams' underclassmen will be critical to the success of both squads during their 2017 campaigns.

Both teams were active this weekend and were represented well by their freshmen and sophomore runners. On the men’s side, all the Princeton runners finished within two seconds of one another as the Tigers took sixth in the Iona Meet of Champions. For the women, three underclassmen finished in the top 12, complementing the impressive performances by the other women en route to a first place finish at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet.

Photo: Beverly Schaefer

Princeton University men's and women's cross country HYP, Princeton, NJ, September 17, 2016.

The men’s team chose their freshmen and sophomores to represent the majority of the Tiger team in the Iona Meet of Champions in New York City. After sending out their middle distance crew last week, the NCAA’s third-ranked Mid-Atlantic team decided to send out their younger runners. Racing in the meet for the first time since 2001, Princeton finished a respectable sixth on the backs of these runners.

Leading the charge for the men’s team was sophomore Eli Krahn, who ran a time of 27:35.6 and placed 38th overall individually in his first meet as a Tiger. He was, however, not alone in his run, as right behind him were the rest of the Tiger runners, all of whom finished at most two seconds behind Krahn. Sophomore Perrin Hagge had an identical time to Krahn and finished right behind him, at 39th individually. The rest of the Tigers took five of the next six spots, as freshman Matt Grossman, sophomore Gannon Willcutts, freshman Kevin Berry, senior Wolfgang Beck, and freshman Ed Trippas rounded out the Orange and Black squad. All together, Princeton’s young team performed well in the meet, providing an optimistic glimpse into what future lineups and seasons may look like for the Tigers.

On the women’s side, sophomores and freshmen helped contribute to a sweep of Harvard and Yale during the tri-meet. Freshman Sophie Cantine and Melia Chittenden placed fourth and seventh, with times of 14:02 and 14:09, respectively, in the 4K race. Sophomore Madeleine Sumner finished 12th overall and rounded out the Tigers,, who had “a positive team effort overall,” according to head coach Brad Hunt. Princeton underclassmen overall earned five of the top 10 spots, providing much needed support to the strong junior class.

Remarked Hunt, “Our depth is our strength. We remain focused on building momentum throughout the fall.”

Ultimately, the underclassmen stepped up this week and contributed to both cross country teams’ great performances. The Tigers can rest a bit easier knowing they have a strong supporting cast that will help them throughout the remainder of the season.

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