Cross Country Heps: Princeton Men Finish Second, Women Place Fourth

As the men’s cross country team set out to defend its Ivy League title at Saturday’s Ivy Heptagonal Cross Country Championships, the women set out to return to the top. It was an unseasonably warm day at Princeton’s West Windsor Fields, which seemed to suit freshman Megan Curham, the Tigers’ top finisher for the day.

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Megan Curham ’17 placed fourth in the Ivy Heps Championships, helping the Princeton women earn a fourth-place finish as a team. (Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

Curham placed fourth for the women with a time of 20:26.1 to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors and lead the women’s team to a fourth-place finish overall. This marks the best individual finish by a Tiger since Alex Banfich ’12 placed third in 2011. Curham, a freshman from Warren, N.J., came onto the cross country scene late in high school, but has made the most of her short career. She won the 2-mile run at New Balance Indoor Track Nationals during her senior year, and since coming to Princeton, Curham has led the Tiger women, finishing first on the team in all four races in which she has competed.

“To see how [Megan] has developed here has been amazing,” senior Molly Higgins said. “She’s an incredibly hard worker and … it’s just been unbelievable to train with her and also to watch her race.”

Also scoring for the women were junior captain Emily de La Bruyere, who finished 10th and earned second-team All-Ivy League honors, as well as sophomore Kathryn Fluehr (18th), junior Lindsay Eysenbach (26th), and sophomore Kathryn Little (37th).

Dartmouth won for the women with 38 total points, while Cornell placed second with 66 points, Harvard came in third with 73 and Princeton placed fourth with 95 points.

The No. 15 Tiger men, hoping to defend their title for the fourth consecutive year, fell short in a tight race against No. 10 Columbia. Seniors Tyler Udland and Chris Bendtsen finished sixth and seventh respectively with times of 23:48.6 and 23:49.7, both earning first-team All-Ivy League honors. Senior Alejandro Arroyo Yamin finished 12th, earning second-team All-Ivy League honors. Juniors Sam Pons and  Matt McDonald (16th and 17th, respectively) rounded out the scoring, and junior Eddie Owens was close behind in 19th place. 

“We ran even with them through most of the race, through about 6k, but then they started to separate a little,” Udland said of the competition with Columbia. “We tried to move up around the last 700-800 meters, but it was just a little too much to overcome and close the gap.”

Columbia won the title with 48 points, while the Tigers came in second with 56. Dartmouth was third with 64 points. 

“It was obviously a little disappointing — for some of us it’s our senior year so we wanted to defend our title — but our season isn’t over,” Udland said. “Our goals haven’t changed and we’re still where we want to be, fitness-wise. Now we have to look ahead to Regionals and hopefully Nats after that.”

Quick Takes

Football (6-1, 4-0 Ivy) beat Cornell 53-20 to remain perfect in Ivy League play. Junior quarterback Quinn Epperly set an NCAA record with 29 completed passes in a row, breaking the previous record held by Richie Williams of Appachian State. With Penn’s loss at Brown, the Tigers are now alone in first place in the Ivy League.

Field hockey (11-4, 6-0 Ivy) shut out Cornell Saturday to guarantee a share of the Ivy title. The win was sophomore goalkeeper Anya Gersoff’s second shutout of the year. A win over Penn (5-1 Ivy) next week would give Princeton the outright title and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

Men’s soccer (6-7-1, 3-1-1 Ivy) defeated Cornell 2-1 on Saturday to remain in contention for a share of the Ivy title. Goals by junior forward Cameron Porter and senior midfielder Patrick O’Neil helped the Tigers gain three points in the conference standings as they enter the final two weeks of the season.