Verona, Wis. — In the midst of a fall when Princeton athletics has performed at an exceptionally high level across the board, it would be easy to overlook the lonely and often isolated sport of cross country. But a more careful examination of the Tiger harriers – both the men’s and women’s teams – reveals that Princeton continues to improve, often dominating its Ivy competition, and is beginning to establish itself as a perennial competitor in the season-ending national championships.
Both programs took another step forward Nov. 17 at the 2018 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships when 31 teams and more than 250 athletes in each race competed on the snow-covered Zimmer Championship Course in Verona, Wis.
In the women’s race, Princeton scored 488 points (74-88-92-114-120) to finish 21st among the 31 competing teams. Senior Allie Klimkiewicz (21:02) led the Tigers’ tight pack, followed closely by the youthful quartet of freshman Page Lester (21:09), sophomore Sophie Cantine (21:12), sophomore Melia Chittenden (21:25), and freshman Gillian Wagner (21:28).
In the men’s competition, Mid-Atlantic-champion Princeton was looking for redemption after last year’s disappointing performance on the national stage when the Tigers finished 28th out of 30 teams. They earned 22nd in a field of 31 finalists this time around, with underclassmen providing all of the scoring. The Princeton men, who had decisively won the Heps title and the Mid-Atlantic Regional crown earlier in the fall, hit the finish line with 557 points (81-82-83-138-173). Junior Gannon Willcutts crossed first for Princeton, just inches ahead of junior Conor Lundy and sophomore Matt Grossman — all timed in 30:37. Sophomores David Krahn (31:15) and Ed Trippas (31:51) completed the scoring for the Tigers.
Pleased with his squad’s continued improvement, men’s head coach Jason Vigilante provided candid yet optimistic observations. “We have very high standards and cross country is a tough sport. There are 300 [Division I] universities that sponsor cross country. So for us to be inside the top 10 percent is really good,” he said. “Sometimes it is hard to look at it that way, but those are the facts. We have made a lot of progress. The tie that binds us is that we want to be up top. While we understand that it is not going to happen overnight, we keep moving forward. The takeaway for today is we were able to run as hard as we possibly could today. And there is value in that.” By Dave Hunter ’72
Dave Hunter is a U.S. Correspondent for Track & Field News, writes a weekly column and serves as senior writer for www.RunBlogRun.com, and covers championship track and field competition domestically and abroad.
Princeton FIELD HOCKEY outshot Maryland, 7-5, and earned nine penalty corners in regulation but could not break a 0-0 tie in the NCAA semifinals Nov. 16. The Terrapins’ Bibi Donraadt scored the decisive goal 7:54 into overtime. Tigers Julianna Tornetta ’21 and Elise Wong ’19 were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.
In its first NWPC Tournament under coach Dustin Litvak, MEN’S WATER POLO swept Iona, St. Francis-Brooklyn, and Harvard on consecutive days to win the league title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament field. Casey Conrad ’21, the tournament MVP, scored seven goals in the three games, including three in a 12-10 win over Harvard. The Tigers will host George Washington in an NCAA play-in game Nov. 24.
Benjamin Martin ’19 scored first in the Ivy League-champion MEN’S SOCCER team’s NCAA Tournament game at Michigan Nov. 15, finding the back of the net in the 39th minute. The host Wolverines tied the score in the 75th minute, and neither team was able to score in the remaining time or two overtime periods, forcing a penalty shootout. Goalkeeper Jacob Schachner ’20 made a pair of saves in the shootout, but Michigan prevailed in the 14th round.
WOMEN’S SOCCER won its last four Ivy games, all by shutout, to clinch the league title and an NCAA Tournament bid. Princeton fell to Texas Tech, 3-0, in the tournament’s opening round in Lubbock, Texas, Nov. 9. The Red Raiders outshot the Tigers 24-11. Goalkeeper Natalie Grossi ’20 made eight saves in the loss. By B.T.