Captains, Award Winners Named at Annual Cross Country Banquet

The Harvard women highlighted the 2012 season with a trip to the NCAA Championships (Harvard Athletic Communications).

Following a historic 2012 campaign that saw the Harvard women qualify for the NCAA Championships, the Harvard cross country team held its annual banquet last week in the Hall of History. The team presented four team awards and nominated two male and one female captain for the 2013 campaign.

The Jerry Kanter Improvement Award, presented to the upperclassman that has shown the most improvement, went to Viviana Hanley. The Attleboro, Mass., native was a consistent performer throughout the 2012 season and was one of two Crimson women to earn USTFCCCA All-Region honors, thanks to a top-20 finish at NCAA Regionals. She was also the first Harvard runner to cross the line at the NCAA Championships and the fifth Ivy League finisher in the race.

Morgan Kelley was awarded the Kate Wiley Women’s Cross Country Award as the team’s most valuable performer. The junior finished as a scoring runner in every meet she ran in this season, and started the season with a fourth-place finish at the Nassaney Invitational, helping Harvard claim the team title at the race. She also led the Crimson contingent at the Paul Short Invitational and was the second Harvard finisher at the NCAA Championships.

On the men’s side, senior Jakob Lindaas was named the winner of the Jaako Mikkola Award as “the team member who, through continued and conscientious effort for team success, has shown noteworthy improvement in physical performance.” Lindaas began the year with a third-place finish in the annual Harvard-Yale meet, helping the Crimson to victory thanks to a 1-2-3 finish. He also ended the year on an up note, recording a top-25 result at the IC4A Championships where the men took fifth overall.

The final award presented on the evening was the J.D. “Don” French ’56 Memorial Cross Country Award, given to “the team member who best combines the qualities of team inspiration, enthusiasm, improvement and ardent belief in the values of the sports and athletics at Harvard.” Junior Maksim Korolev was the 2012 recipient as one of two Harvard male runners to qualify for the 2012 NCAA Championships. Korolev earned his spot in the NCAA finals thanks to a second-place finish at the NCAA Regionals, a performance that earned him all-region accolades. He also took home the individual title at the HY meet, helping the Crimson to victory.

The team also announced its captains for the 2013 season at the banquet. Korolev and classmate James Leakos will serve as captains of the men’s squad, while Kelly will be the sole captain of the women’s team.