Men’s cross country ran its way to a third-place finish at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (HEPS) at Van Cortlandt Park in New York last Friday. Senior captain Conor Lundy, Princeton’s third finisher to cross the line, picked up his fourth consecutive All-Ivy title, making program history.
The Tigers were led by two first-years, Camren Fischer and Connor Nisbet, who finished fifth and sixth at their first HEPS championship. “I was definitely a little surprised and very ecstatic with the way I performed that day, and it was exciting to see my teammate Connor Nisbet do so well, too,” Fischer said. Their race strategy helped them achieve their great results. Nisbet explained, “Camren and I worked together almost the entire race, staying patient through the backhills, and really made our move with 1k left to go.”
Finishing right behind Fischer and Nisbet was Lundy, who completed the eight-kilometer course in seventh place in a time of 24:51. His finish in the top 10 makes him the first athlete in the Princeton men’s cross country program’s history to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors for four consecutive years.
The Princeton men’s program has exceptional depth, and while seven Tigers who have taken part in the program have earned first-team All-Ivy League honors three times, Lundy is the first to do so every year of his collegiate career.
“It's truly an honor to be a part of such a historical program like Princeton cross country,“ he said. “While it is bittersweet to finish my college career without a team win, I am happy to look back and do my part to continue the successful tradition of Princeton's cross country program.”
Despite these strong individual performances, the third place finish was a disappointment for the team. “Previous to the meet we were hoping to bring home the team title,” said Fischer while recapping the race. At 4.1 kilometers, approximately halfway through the race, Princeton had a definitive lead, with their top five runners in the top 12 separated by about two seconds.
However, the final half of the race did not go as planned.
“Unfortunately, some extraordinary circumstances towards the last kilometer of the race worked against us, leading to a very close defeat with some guys falling back in the last stretch. I think there was a lot of pressure on our guys to perform, considering we had won the last two years, but we're hoping to bounce back for regionals and NCAAs,” said Lundy.
The Princeton men will race at Lehigh University next Friday, Nov. 15, to compete at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, where they will run their first 10-kilometer race of the season. The men are optimistic about their ability to have a strong performance at regionals and at nationals the following week.
Describing next steps, Fischer explained, “At HEPS we all learned a lot about ourselves and what our team has potential for. With that in mind, and just enjoying being able to train with such a talented group of guys day in and day out, we are all looking forward to competing at the highest level with one another.”
The top two teams at regionals will automatically earn qualifying spots for the NCAA National Championships, which will take place in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Saturday, Nov. 23.