Cross Country Looks to Make Statement at Heptagonal Championships Saturday

Cross Country Looks to Make Statement at Heptagonal Championships Saturday

Harvard looks for a balanced effort from both its mens and womens squads (Harvard Athletic Communications).

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The Particulars
The Harvard cross country team heads to Princeton, N.J., to vie for the Ivy League championship at the 2011 Heptagonal Championships Saturday. The men's championships race begins at 11 a.m., and the women's race is slated to start at noon.

Heps History
For just the third time in the history of the event, and first since 1979, the championship race will be held at a course other than Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. This year marks the second time that Princeton has hosted Heps, the first coming in 1947 at Battlefield Park.

The Harvard men have captured the league title seven times in program history, including a stretch of four straight from 1967-70. Harvard's last men's title came in 1972 and the men have finished sixth out of eight the last three years. The men's team has produced the individual champion nine times in the race's history, with Daniel Chenoweth '11 winning the most recent solo title in 2009.

The women's team has captured six Heptagonal Championships titles, highlighted by a string of five straight from 1981-85, the year in which Harvard won its most recent title. In 2009, the women had their best showing in over a decade, placing second at Heps. Harvard runners have claimed the women's individual title nine times in the history of the competition, with Kate Wiley '84 collecting three straight from 1981-83. Suzanne Jones won Harvard's last women's individual crown in 1989.

Last Year's Race
The Harvard men's and women's cross country teams each placed a runner in the top six as the women claimed fifth place and the men took sixth at the 2010 Cross Country Heptagonal Championships.

Daniel Chenoweth followed up his first-place performance from 2009 with a runner-up finish to lead the Crimson men. Chenoweth covered the 8K course in 24:14.0, placing second behind Princeton's Donn Cabral who ran a time of 24:03.8. Aaron Watanabe turned in a solid performance in his first Heps event, placing 22nd with a time of 25:11.1. Michael Hoffman was the third Harvard runner to finish, running a time of 25:27.5, and was followed by James Leakos (35th, 25:29.5) and Kellen Blumberg (49th, 25:51.4), the final Crimson scorers.

Jeanne Mack fronted the Harvard women's effort with a time of 17:29.6 on the 5K course, good for sixth place overall. Nicole Cochran worked her way into the top 15 with a 14th-place time of 17:53.4 and classmate Kailyn Kuzmuk wasn't far behind in 26th place, posting an 18:06.9 mark. Veteran Eliza Ives crossed the line in 36th place overall with a time of 18:25.5, and Sammy Silva's time of 18:28.1 was good for 39th in the standings.

Last Time Out
Harvard traveled to Madison, Wis., to take on the nation's best teams at the 2011 Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.

Seniors Jeanne Mack and Kailyn Kuzmuk continued to be the top runners for the Crimson women as both placed within the top 200 finishers. Mack clocked in with a time of 21:43 on the 6-kilometer course, which was good for 171st overall, while Kuzmuk was just nine seconds back at 21:52 in 198th. Rookie Viviana Hanley ran a poised 21:54 to capture 203rd overall and classmate Alaina Alvarez crossed the line in 22:00-even, good for 218th. Senior captain Kirsten Jorgensen rounded out the Harvard scorers with a time of 22:10 and a 231st-place finish.

The men were led by sophomore Aaron Watanabe, who hung near the front of the pack for the length of the 8K track en route to a time of 25:24.7, good for 13th in the race. Jakob Lindaas crossed the line in 36th position with a time of 25:54.2 and rookie Will Geiken came in under 26 minutes, posting a time of 25:58.6 and coming in 44th. Jeremy Gilmour (47th, 26:09.0) and Kellen Blumberg (60th, 26:17.7) were the final scorers for the men.