by Robert Johnson
October 26, 2013
The 2013 Women’s Ivy League Heptagonal cross-country championships will take place next Saturday in Princeton, NJ. Artie Smith‘s Cornell Big Red women have won the last two years. Having only graduated one from last year’s top five, will they make it a three-peat?
On paper, surprisingly, the Big Red women are the underdogs heading into Heps.
The favorites are Mark Coogan‘s Big Green of Dartmouth. The Big Green are out to show they aren’t a one-woman juggernaut (Abbey D’Agostino). Heading into Heps, they are one of four Ivy League teams receiving votes in the national polls.
Current Women’s NCAA Rankings
#31 Harvard (unranked technically, but they lead the “receiving votes” category).
So how do those four teams stack up?
Well, Dartmouth hasn’t faced Princeton yet this year but they have raced Cornell, which is just one spot behind Princeton in the rankings, each of the last two times out, first at Paul Short and then at Wisconsin and both times the Big Green have defeated Cornell pretty easily. At Notre Dame, Dartmouth had 246 to Cornell’s 464 and at Paul Short, it was Dartmouth 125 to Cornell 182.
Now I know some of you are saying, “But D’Agostino helps Dartmouth a lot more in a huge invitational by winning than she does at Heps.”
That’s true to some extent, but Dartmouth still is the strong favorite. I took out the other individuals from the Wisconsin results and scored the Ivies only and the results were as follows:
Ivy Only Scores At Wisconsin
Dartmouth 30 – 1, 4, 6, 9, 10
Cornell 51 – 3, 5, 13, 14, 16
Harvard 60 – 7, 8, 11, 15, 19
Yale 131 – 17, 21, 30, 31, 32
Dartmouth had five in before Cornell even had three. Dartmouth is thus far from a one-woman show. At Paul Short, their win over Cornell wasn’t quite as convincing, but they still put six in before Cornell had four finishers. In both meets, Dartmouth’s #1 beat Cornell’s #1, Dartmouth’s #2 beat Cornell’s #2, and so on all the way down the line through the top 5.
So Cornell is really going to up its game to have a shot at Dartmouth. The same seems to be true of Princeton, because there is reason to believe besides the national rankings that Princeton and Cornell are pretty even on paper. At Notre Dame, Princeton finished one spot behind BYU and one spot ahead of Notre Dame. Well, Cornell raced those two teams at Wisconsin and they beat BYU and finished two spots behind Notre Dame.
The team two spots behind Cornell at Wisconsin was Harvard. They seem to be fourth on paper so far based on 2013 results, but #2-3-4 seem closer to each other than they do to Dartmouth.
What About 5-8?
Columbia is a clear-cut choice for #5 and could finish maybe as high as second as they did beat Harvard at Paul Short and weren’t too far behind Cornell.
However, they were 27th at Wisconsin and thus it seems unlikely they’ll be higher than third.
At Wicso, there was one other Ivy racing, Yale, and they finished last (37th). But Yale could still finish as high as sixth as Brown, Penn and Yale all seem to be struggling this year. While Yale was last at Wisconsin, they are only one spot behind Brown in the Northeast regional rankings and Brown was just one spot ahead of Penn at Paul Short.
Abbey D’Agostino is the favorite for NCAAs, so she’s a lock for the win. Well, I say that assuming there isn’t a blizzard or hurricane. And don’t think those are out of the realm of possibilities as there was a blizzard at Heps in 2011 and last year a week after Heps there was a hurricane in New York. And when there was a blizzard, Donn Cabral only ended up third at Heps in cross-country – less than a year before he placed 8th in the Olympic final in the steeplechase.
Columbia’s Waverly Neer seems to be a lock for second as well, so the question is who gets third?
Cornell’s Rachel Sorna was third last year, was an All-American in cross, indoors and outdoors, and is the leading candidate for third again this year along with Princeton super-frosh Meghan Curham. The Foot Locker finalist Curham was just three seconds behind Notre Dame’s Keely Curran at Notre Dame and Curran was just two seconds behind Waverly Neer at Wisconsin.
1) Dartmouth – Their first women’s title since 1997.
2) Cornell – They’ve got experience. Their #2 this year, Emily Shearer, was actually second at Heps last year.
3) Princeton – They have a good #1.
4) Columbia – Did beat Harvard at Paul Short.
5) Harvard – Made NCAAs last year.
6-8) Brown, Penn, Yale – I don’t know enough about these teams to rank them and by not putting someone last, I don’t anger some coach.
Individual Predictions – Top 10 Individuals
1) D’Agostino – D
2) Neer – Col
3) Curham – Pr
4) Sorna – Cor
5) Giodorna – D
6) Shearer – Cor
7) Delozier – D
8) Kelly – H
9) de La Bruyere – Pr
10) Hanley – H