Capturing the 2018 Heptagonal Championships title on Oct. 27 is not far-fetched for this year’s women’s cross country roster. The team has worked its way into the national NCAA rankings, currently standing at No. 30. The only other Ivy League team nationally ranked is No. 20 Columbia; Yale and Dartmouth received votes, but are not ranked.
“[The Penn State Invitational] gives us confidence going into Heps. We finished with one of the smallest spreads in the field,” said senior Allie Klimkiewicz. The Tigers also had a stellar showing at the Lakefront Invitational in Chicago, capturing first. Klimkiewicz described the Chicago win as an “unexpected confidence boost.”
Princeton’s advantage over its league competitors lies in its unbelievable depth. Most recently, at the Penn State Invitational, the team finished fourth, one spot ahead of Dartmouth. Impressively, the top five finished with a 24-second spread; the top 10 runners finished with a minute spread.
In order for the Tigers to capture the Ivy League title, the Tigers must maintain this small spread.
“The pack is an important entity,” said Klimkiewicz. Many contributors are key to the team’s success: Sophomore Melia Chittenden led the team at Penn State and has been having an outstanding season. Freshman Gillian Wagner did not race at Penn State, but finished in first for the team at Lakefront; freshman Page Lester had her first collegiate race at Penn State and was the fifth scorer for the Tigers. A quartet of four seniors — Maddie Offstein, Alie Fordyce, Klimkiewicz and Brighie Leach — have shined throughout the season.
“Heps is my favorite race of the year. It’s anyone’s race,” said Klimkiewicz, “As a senior, to have it on the home course is very nostalgic and wonderful. We’re extremely excited.”