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Men's and women's cross country close out on seasons

The men’s cross country team finished in third at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Regional at Penn State this past Friday just missing a qualifying position for the NCAA Championships. The fall season concluded after the same race on the women’s side after an eighth-place finish.

The Tigers were led by freshman Conor Lundy on the men’s side, who finished third overall at 30:48 on the 10k course and qualified automatically for the NCAA Championships.

Senior captain William Bertrand, freshman Viraj Deokar, junior Noah Kauppila, freshman Gannon Willcutts, freshman Gavin Gaynor, and sophomore Jeremy Spiezio were respectively the remainder of the top 7 Princeton runners.

Lundy reflected on this season’s accomplishments and also looked to the future with hopeful eyes. “The goal going in, which is always the goal every year, is to win the Ivy League Championships,” Lundy stated. “We got second this year to Penn, which was very close, but we dealt with a lot of injuries throughout the season. We also have a really young team, so I think over the next couple of years, we can definitely bring home the Ivy League Championship several times and then hopefully move on to the bigger stage and go to the NCAA Championships as a team.”

Senior Ally Markovich helped guide her team to their eighth-place finish at Penn State. Markovich has consistently been the team’s No. 1 runner and placed 25th overall at 21:19 on the 6k course.

Junior Melissa Reed, sophomore Alie Fordyce, sophomore Brighie Leach, freshman Rachel Granovsky, sophomore Allie Klimkiewicz, and junior Melinda Renuart were respectively the other top Princeton runners.

Markovich expressed pride for team for an admirable season finish despite the challenges that confronted them. “The team had a lot of adjustments to make this year,” Markovich commented. “It was a transition year for us in many ways, and one thing that applied to was getting a new coach after Peter Farrell, who retired after 39 years. Another thing we had to adjust to was that our top 2 runners were injured this season and unable to compete. As a result, we had to adjust our expectations. Last year as a team, we won the Ivy League Championships and made it to nationals, and scored quite well. Going off of that, it can be hard to finish eighth at the regionals after finishing third the previous year. But I think that once we adjusted our expectations, which Coach [Brad] Hunt did fairly quickly and effectively, we met our expectations in that we worked together as unit. One other thing that I think is remarkable is that we haven’t had any serious injuries.”

Reed also praised her team for its accomplishments and hopes this foundation will translate into the next cross country season. “We just finished up our season at regionals,” she said, “We wanted to finish in the top ten, and we finished eighth in the region. Not only that, but we had the smallest spread, which means we all ran close together. That speaks a lot to how our team is functioning and how we’re looking to be successful moving forward. We have so much depth. I think cross country is a really individual sport, but this season, we really made it into a team effort. I think this teamwork is something we’re really excited about looking forward.”