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Cross Country Heads to Heptagonals in Pursuit of Ivy Titles

Maksim Korolev was the top male finisher from the Ivy League at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Photo courtesy: Harvard Athletic Communications). 

The Particulars
The Harvard cross country teams make the trek south to New Jersey with its eye on a pair of Ivy League titles at the Heptagonal Championships. It will be the second trip to the Garden State this month for many of the runners after several competed in the Princeton Invitational Oct. 13.

Last Time Out
Harvard split up its team two weekends ago, sending parts of its squad to Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational and to New Jersey for the Princeton Invitational. In Madison, both the Crimson men and women posted the third-best team score out of the seven Ivy schools at the event (only Penn did not compete). Junior Maksim Korolev was the top Ancient Eight finisher on the men's side, placing 18th overall in the collegiate field with a time of 23:44. Fellow junior James Leakos ended up 36th after running a 23:57. On the women's side, junior Emily Reese topped the team with a 70th-place finish in 20:40.

Back on the East Coast, the men's team had all five of its runners finish in the top 26 finishers on the same course that this weekend's Heptagonal Championship will be held. Senior captain Sean Pohorence took 18th in 24:48 and sophomore Dan Milechman was milliseconds off the pace in 20th to lead the squad to a second-place overall finish. A pair of rookies led the women's team as Selena Pasadyn was 30th (22:25) and Paige Kouba was 44th (22:42).

Last Year's Meet
On an unseasonably cold October day, the Harvard men placed sixth and the women took seventh at last year's Heptagonal Championship, also head at Princeton. Then-Junior Jakob Lindaas led the way for the men, finishing 28th overall (25:41.6), while then-sophomore Aaron Watanabe was right on his tails, placing 32nd (25:47.0). On the women's side, seniors Jeanne Mack and Kailyn Kuzmuk led the team taking 13th (22:33.4) and 21st (22:55.8), respectively.  Princeton won its second straight Heptagonal crown behind four top-ten finishers, while Cornell trimmed Columbia by three points to take home the women's title.

Scouting the Field
Columbia enters the championship as the favorite, ranked No. 10 in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll on the men's side after a strong showing at the Wisconsin Invitational. The Lions tied for fifth with No. 19 Arkansas behind the strength of four top-70 runners. Princeton is also in the poll, sitting at No. 23, after taking 14th in Madison.

On the women's side, Cornell enters at No. 7 in the polls, the highest ranking in school history. The Big Red placed fifth to lead all Ivy schools, excluding Penn, in Wisconsin. Katie Kellner had the best finish of all Ivy competitors, taking 15th. Yale was the only other Ancient Eight school to finish ahead of the Crimson, ending the meet tied for 15th with Toledo.

Up Next
Harvard will have another long layoff before returning to action Nov. 9 in Hammonasset, Conn., for the NCAA Regionals.