Cross Country Announces Newcomers for the 2011 Season

Cross Country Announces Newcomers for the 2011 Season

The Harvard men's and women's cross country teams add 19 freshmen to squads that finished fifth and sixth respectively at the 2010 Heptagonal Championships. (Courtesy Harvard Athletic Communications)

Director of track and field and cross country Jason Saretsky announced his incoming class for cross country Tuesday  made up of 19 freshmen. The new class hails from nine states (Arizona, California, Georgia, Rhode Island, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Minnesota) and two countries (United States and England). 

"I am extremely excited about this year's incoming class as it's arguably one of the most talented classes in the country and I am confident their impact will be felt immediately," Saretsky said.  "We already have a great group of returning middle distance and distance runners so adding this group of freshmen should help both our men's and women's teams compete at the highest level."

California is the most represented state amongst the group as Will Geiken, Daniel Milechman, Conner Reck, Alaina Alvarez, and Lucia Mcculough all hail from the Golden State. Both Massachusetts and North Carolina have a trio joining the ranks as Billy Looney, Vivana Hanley and Marissa Shoji are from Massachusetts while Carl Ward, Fredrick Ward and Whitney Thomburg reside in North Carolina. Two athletes will be running in a new country as Adam Cotton and Molly Renfer will both be traveling to Harvard from England . A runner each from Georgia (Anders Gonzalez), Rhode Island (Ryan Meehan),  Minnesota (Heather Borowsky),  Arizona (Billy Orman), Pennsylvania (Jennifer Guidera) and New Jersey (Erika Veidis) round out the freshmen class.

The 19 newcomers will be looking to immediately help both of the Crimson cross country squads. Last year the men finished sixth and women fifth at the Heptagonal Championships. To go along with those strong finishes men's cross country runner Dan Chenoweth earned an All-Region selection and was also honored with 10 students (five men and five women) earning Academic All-Ivy honors.

 Freshmen Men
Adam Cotton  Distance   Penkridge, England/Stafford Grammar School
Will Geiken  Distance  Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos
Anders Gonzalez  Distance  Lawrenville, Ga./Collins Hill
William Looney  Distance  Mansfield, Mass/Bishop Feehan
Ryan Meehan  Distance   East Greenwich, R.I./Bishop Hendricken
Daniel Milechman  Distance  Mill Valley, Calif./Tamalapis
Billy Orman  Distance  Tuba City, Ariz./Tuba City 
Conner Reck  Distance  Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Ynez Valley
Carl Ward  Distance  Durham, N.C./Durham Academy
Fredrick Ward  Distance  Durham, N.C./Durham Academy

Adam Cotton
Freshman • Penkridge, England • Stafford Grammar School

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2011 European Junior gold medalist – 1500m
2010 World Junior semi-finalist – 800m
2009 World Youth participant – 800m
Personal bests of 1:48.30 for 800 and 3:41.33 for 1500m

High School
Cross country and track and field team member and captain every year at Stafford Grammar … ISA national cross country champion in 2004 and cross country midland champion from 2004-08 … National champion and national record holder in the 800-meter run in 2008 … Placed second in the 800 at the English Schools National Meet and UK School Games in 2008 … World youth semifinalist in the 800 and U20 national indoor champion in 2009 … In 2010, was a semifinalist at world juniors and placed second at the national indoor and outdoor meets in the 800 … Won the gold medal at 2011 European juniors in the 1500m.

Top 100 nationally in 5 Decade Chemistry Challenge … Received gold, silver and bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards between 2005-10 … Parents, Mary (1,500) and David (race walk) Cotton, were both nationally competitive track and field athletes … Uncle, Ian Stewart, competed in the Olympics in the 5,000, winning a bronze medal in 1972,  and Uncle Peter Stewart, was a European indoor champion in the 3,000.

Will Geiken
Freshman • Los Gatos, Calif. •
Los Gatos

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2010 fourth-place at California XC State Division II in 15:16
Personal-best of 9:08.96 for 3200m

High School
Four-year member of the cross country and track and field teams at Los Gatos … Served as captain of both squads as a sophomore, junior and senior … Four-time all-league cross country honoree and team MVP from 2008-10 … Named to All-CCS third team as a sophomore, second team as a junior and first team as a senior … Also named to first team All-Northern California as a senior … Track team MVP in 2009 and '10 … 2010 CCS cross country champion … Set freshman/sophomore 3,200-meter run record and holds school 5K cross country record.

Named Wildcat/Principal's Scholar three times and Junior Scholar Athlete in 2010 … Presidential Service Award, Wildcat Service Award and Avagadros Excellence in Chemistry Award recipient … Involved with Los Gatos recreation department community service from 2007-10 … Hobbies include surfing, soccer, capture the flag, camping and hiking … Grandfather, Harold Jack Geiken, received his Masters degree from Harvard in 1951 … Father, Stacy Geiken (Stanford), and aunt, Linda Gill (UCLA), were both collegiate athletes.

Andres Gonzalez
Freshman • Lawrenceville, Ga. • Collins Hill

High School
Four-year letterman for Collins Hill cross country and track and field teams … Captained both teams as a junior and senior … Three-time all-county cross country honoree and named to all-state second team in 2009 … Named cross country team MVP as a senior and track team MVP as a junior and senior … Helped cross country team to state title in 2007 and runner-up finish in 2008 … Led team to three-straight regional cross country championships and was the individual runner-up in 2009.

Class valedictorian … National Merit finalist and AP Scholar with distinction … Member of National Honor Society, Gwinnett Student Leadership Team and Collins Hill Leadership Team … Prom and homecoming king … Enjoys skiing, boating, Frisbee, hiking, the outdoors, reading and video games … Great grandfather, Richard Meisenbach '28, attended Harvard and played basketball and great-great grandfather, Roland O. Meisenbach MD '05, attended Harvard Medical School … Parents, Enrique and Lisa Gonzalez, both ran cross country and track at Stephen F. Austin.

Billy Looney
Freshman • Mansfield, Mass • Bishop Feehan

High School:
Placed second at the Massachusetts state meet for the 1,000-meter run … Secured a third-place finish at the New England Championships in the 1,000 … Came in third at the Massachusetts state meet in the 800 … Holds personal records of 2:29 for the 1,000 and 1:55 for the 800.

Sister Megan is the Harvard women's track and field captain.

Ryan Meehan
Freshman • East Greenwich, R.I. • Bishop Hendricken

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2011 New England 2-mile Indoor Champion
2011 Rhode Island 3k Outdoor Champion
Personal-best of 8:27.02 for 3k

High School
Lettered three years on cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams at Bishop Hendricken … Cross country and track and field captain as a senior … Rhode Island Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2010 … Two-time all-state cross country, indoor and outdoor track selection … New England indoor champion in the two-mile run and outdoor champion in the 3,000 as a senior … Earned All-America honors as a member of the mile relay squad during senior indoor and outdoor seasons … Named Cox Sports Rhode Island Athlete of the Year … Helped cross country team to New England Championship and top-10 national ranking in 2009 … Led team to three-straight cross country and indoor track state championships, along with an outdoor championship in 2011 … mile relay team turned in New England record in 2010.

National finalist for Wendy's High School Heisman Award in 2010.

Daniel Milechman
Freshman • Mill Valley, Calif. • Tamalapis

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2010 Footlocker finalist
2010 and 2009 California cross country state champion for Division IIII, best time of 15:11
Personal-best of 4:14.03 for 1600m

High School
A tri-sport athlete at Tamalapis high school, earning letters in cross country for four years, track for three and golf one … Severd as team captain for school's cross country team during the 2009 and 2010 seasons and track in 2011 … Was named cross country and track and field team MVP from 2008-2010 … Earned track and field All-MCAL honors from 2008-2010 … Holds  school record in the 1,600 meter event … Secured Division IV NCS titles in cross country in 2008, 2009 and 2010 … Helped win MCAL cross country titles in 2009 and 2010 … Earned an NCS Redwood Empire title in the 1,600 … A three-time state qualifier in the 1,600 from 2009-2011.

Served as a volunteer tutor at the "Bridge the Gap College Prep" program from 2009-2011 … Earned the Renesslaer Polytechnic Institute Award for outstanding achievement in math and science … Received a letter of commendation for outstanding performance on the preliminary SAT exam … Brother, Sam, excelled in cross country and track and field at Tamalpais high school and graduated from UCLA in 2011.

Billy Orman
Freshman • Tuba City Ariz. • Tuba City

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2010 and 2009 Footlocker Finalist, sixth-place finish as a senior
2010 NXNSW Champion
Broke state records in both the 1600 and 3200
Personal best of 4:05.29 and 8:48.63 for 3200m

High School:
Four-year letterwinner in track and field and cross country … Captained the cross country and track teams in his junior and senior years … Earned all-state accolades all four years of competition in cross country … Was named a cross country Foot Locker All-American as a senior  … Named the Arizona Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year and Arizona Republic Track Athlete of the Year during senior season … Member of three-time state championship cross country team freshman through junior years … Two-time individual state cross country champ during his junior and senior campaigns … Two time Arizona state track champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200 his junior and senior seasons … Hold's the Arizona record in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish club … Volunteered with youth soccer organization

Connor Reck
Freshman • Santa Barbara, Calif. • Santa Ynez Valley

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
Personal-best of 1:51.38 for 800m

High School
Three year letterwinner in both cross country and basketball  and participated on the track team for four years … Served as team captain on the track team in 2009 and 2010 and the cross country and basketball teams in 2010 and 2011 … Earned all-league honors in cross country during the 2009 and 2010 seasons … Was a cross country individual state finalist and team MVP in 2010 … Secured individual league championships in the 400 meter event in 2009, the 4x400 relay in 2010 and the 1,600, 800 meter and 4x400 relay in 2011 … Was a CIF section champion in track for the 4x400 relay in 2009 and the 800 relay in 2011 … Named track team MVP in 2011 … Received all-league accolades in basketball in 2010.

Served as a National Honor Society officer … AP Scholar … Member of the California Scholarship Federation … Uncle Jerry Stephenson, pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1965-1968. 

Carl Ward
Freshman • Durham, N.C. • Durham Academy

High School
A four-year participant in both track and cross country at Durham Academy … Served as team captain for his cross country team in 2009 and 2010 and track team in 2011 … Four-time all-state  NSCIAA cross country and all-state NCISAA track honoree … Secured state championships from 2008-2011 in the 4x800 relay … Was a state runner-up in the 1,600 in 2009 and 2010 … Holds the state record in the 4x800 relay … Part of the 2008 and 2009 NCISAA cross country champions … Holds school record in the 1,600, 4x800 relay, 4x1600 relay and distance medley relay.

Served as a member of the 2008 North Carolina state champion chess team … Twin brother Fredrick will also be a member of the Crimson track team … He and Fredrick both tutored another set of twins as a part of a local tutoring program from 2008-11.

Fredrick Ward
Freshman • Durham, N.C. • Durham Academy

High School
A four-year letterwinner in cross country and track … Served as team captain for the cross country team in 2009 and 2010 and the track team in 2011 … Was a five-time all-conference honoree … Also earned North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state accolades … Four-time state record holder for the 4x800-meter relay … School record holder for the 3,200, 1,600 relay, 800 relay and distance medley relay … Has twice earned championships in the Triangle Independent School Athletic Conference and the NCISAA … Named cross country team MVP three times in his tenure.


Served as a member of the 2008 North Carolina state champion chess team … His twin brother Carl will also run for the Harvard track and field team … He and Carl both tutored another set of twins as a part of a local tutoring program from 2008-11.

Freshmen Women

Heather Borowsky  Distance   Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins
Molly Renfer  Distance  Esher, England/Titan Girl's School
Erika Veidis  Distance  Sparta, N.J./Sparta
Whitney Thornburg   Distance  Asheville, N.C./Asheville Christian 
Alaina Alvarez  Distance  Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills
Jennifer Guiedera  Distance  Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East 
Vivana Hanley  Distance  Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan
Lucia Mccullough  Distance  Rafael, Calif./Marin Academy
Marissa Shoji  Distance  Newton, Mass./Noble and Greenough School 

Hannah Borowsky
Freshman • Minnetonka, Minn. • Hopkins

High School
Lettered every year of high school in track and field and also participated in cross country and tennis … Named track and field team captain as a senior … Four-time all-conference track and field selection and three-time all-state pick … Named team MVP as a sophomore and Most Valuable Relay Runner a year later … Recipient of the Hopkins Royal Award, the Twin Cities in Montion Scholarship and Hy Truman/Donald Goldberg Mercury Award as a senior … Holds one individual and two school relay records, as well as the 4x400 state record … Helped 4x400 relay squad and high school team to back-to-back state titles in 2010 and '11 … Competed at USATF Junior National in the 800 and Nike Track Nationals in the mile in 2011 … National Honor Society Member … AP Scholar with distinction, National Merit Commended Scholar and Honor Graduate with distinction … 2009 Minnetonka Caring Youth Award recipient … Earned runner-up status in Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition and departmental honors in science … Founder/President of Hopkins Young Liberals Club … Involved with Minneapolis Children's Hospital, Global Volunteers and Global Citizens Network

Enjoys playing guitar, canoeing, camping, rollerblading, speaking Spanish, cooking and frozen yogurt … Father, Steve Borowsky '83 attended Harvard.

Molly Renfer
Freshman • Esher, England • Titan Girls' School

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
Represented Switzerland at the European Junior Championships in 2011
Personal-best of 2:08.94 for 800m and 56.85 for 400m

High School
Competed in track, cross country, biathlon, triathlon and field hockey at Tiffin Girls' School … Served as captain of the cross country team five times between 2004 and 2011 … Cross country borough champion 2004-2011 … Borough champion in the 800-meter run from 2004-2011 … Won the 800 at Surrey Schools Championships in 2009 and 2010 … Placed third in the 800 at English Schools competition in 2010 … Placed in the top six in the national biathlon championships five times between 2003 and 2011 … Also finished in the top 10 at national biathlon championships in 2008 and '09 … Recipient of the 2009 Junior Sports Leadership Award.

Hobbies include snowboarding, skiing, horseback riding, art and photography … Father, Thomas Renfer, skied for Switzerland and brother competed for Ireland in the triathlon.

Erika Veidis
Freshman • Sparta, N.J. • Sparta

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2011 New Jersey Meet of Champion winner in the 800m
Personal-best of 2:08.53 for 800m and 55.11 for 400m

High School
Four-year letterwinner on Sparta cross country team and three-year member of track and field squad … Served as captain of cross country and track and field teams as a senior … Received All-America honors during 2010 indoor and outdoor track seasons … Three-time all-league pick in cross country and two-time all-league selection in both indoor and outdoor track … Named to the all-state track team as a junior … Three-time cross country team MVP, two-time outdoor track team MVP and received the honor as a junior for indoor track … Ranked top-10 nationally in the 800-meter run … Posted county and league records in the 400 and sprint medley relay … Holds five individual school records and seven school relay records … Helped outdoor track team to sectional state championship and group state runner-up finish in 2010.

Sparta's scholar athlete nominee for Sussex County Scholar Athlete Award … National Honor Society and French National Honor Society member … High school valedictorian … Completed Robert Wood Johnson Mini Medical School … Pass-It-Along and peer development  volunteer and Latvian Youth Organization and American Latvian Association member … Enjoys playing the violin and guitar … Uncle, Andris Zmuidini, played football and lacrosse at Princeton … Father, John Veidis, played volleyball at Syracuse … Mother, Mara Veidis, was a competitive figure skater and track runner.

Whitney Thornburg
Freshman • Asheville, N.C. • Asheville Christian Academy

High School
Four-year member of the cross country team at Asheville Christian Academy, and also competed in track and field, basketball and softball … Served as cross country and track and field team captain as a junior and senior … Four-time cross country all-county, all-state and all-conference selection and individual county and state champion as a senior … Three-time conference Runner of the Year and two-time All-Western North Carolina first team selection … Four-time School Excellence Award winner in cross country and track and field … Conference and state champion in the 3,200-meter run and conference champion in the 1,600 and 800 as a junior and senior … County champion in the 3,200 as a senior … Qualified for New Balance national meet in the 5,000 and 2,000 steeplechase as a senior … Holds school records in five events and holds Volunteer Classic 2,000 steeplechase meet record.

Salutatorian and class treasurer (junior) and vice president (senior) … Mountain Amateur Athletic Association Bob Waters Award recipient as a junior … Founder/director of Sports Excel Elementary Running Program … Enjoys playing the violin, cooking, baking and hiking … Father, Lacy E. Thornburg, attended Harvard Medical School and brother, Luke Thornburg '13, is currently a student.

Alaina Alvarez
Freshman • Dana Point, Calif. • Dana Hills

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2009 Footlocker finalist
2009 third-place finish at the California cross country championship, 17:39
Personal-best of 10:36.16 for 3200m

High School
Foot Locker National Cross Country finalist placing 31st in 2009 … Had a ninth-place showing at the 2009 Foot Locker National Cross Country West Regional competition … Finished third during the California Division I Cross Country Championships in 2009 … Took 15th at the New Balance National Outdoor Championships for the 3,200 meter in 15th place in 2011 … Holds personal best times of 10:36 in the 3,200, 4:57 in the 1,600 and 17:09 for the three-mile event.

Interested in studying environmental science.

Jennifer Guidera
Freshman • Doylestown, Pa. • Central Bucks East

High School

Four-year member of the cross country and track and field teams at Central Bucks East … Two-year captain for cross country and indoor track and field teams … Named cross country team MVP in 2007, '08 and '10 … Two-time cross country state medalist and named to second team all-state in 2010 … Received all-league first team honors as a junior and senior and league Athlete of the Week as a senior … 2009 Patriot Award recipient … Received Most Improved Runner award in indoor track in 2010 … An all-league third team selection for outdoor track in 2010 … Holds school records in the indoor mile and distance medley relay … Placed ninth at outdoor state meet in the 3,200-meter run in 2010.

National Merit finalist, AP Scholar with distinction and Princeton Book Award recipient … National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society member … Founder/President of Music for the Soul in 2009 … Enjoys writing music.

Viviana Hanley
Freshman • Attleboro, Mass. • Bishop Feehan

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
3200m – 10:48.57
Second-place in Massachusetts state meet two-mile in 2011
Led team to Nike Nationals in 2009

High School
Ran cross country, indoor and outdoor track at Bishop Feehan … Served as captain of all three teams as a senior … 2011 Boston Globe/Richard Phelps Student Athlete Award recipient … Two-time Boston Globe Cross Country All-Star and Boston Herald All-Star in 2010 … Three-time EAC and Sun Chronicle cross country and track and field all-star … State cross country champion in 2010, indoor mile champion and outdoor two-mile champion in 2011 … Helped team to state cross country championships in 2009 and 2010 … Member of National Honor Society as well as Art, Science, Spanish, History, Math and English Honor Societies … Involved with student council, STAND anti-genocide group, Animal Rights Council … Named Bishop Feehan Woman of the Year in 2011 … Won 2010 Brown Cross Country Invitational … Competed at Nike Cross Country Regionals and Nationals … Placed 11th in the 5,000 at New Balance Outdoor National in 2011 … Received All-America honors with mile relay team at 2010 Nike Indoor Nationals. 

Daughter of Sean and Monica Hanley … Enjoys visual art.

Lucia McCullough
Freshman • Rafael, Calif. • Marin Academy

Accomplishments/Personal Bests
2009 and 2010 California XC state champion for Division V
Personal-best of 4:54.82for 1600m

High School
Four-year letterwinner in cross country and track and field at Marin Academy … Served as track and field team captain as a junior and senior and cross country captain as a senior … North Coast Section Division V cross country champion all four years (first female athlete to accomplish the feat) and league champion as a sophomore, junior and senior … Two-time state champion in cross country … Named to all-region second team thanks to 16th-place finish at 2009 Footlocker Western Regional Championships.

Voted "Best Witness" in Marin's mock trial club … Co-founder of political discussion group "Think Club" … Crossroads tutor for three years … Enjoys swimming, coaching swimming, geocaching and hiking … Mother, Theresa Gschwind McCullough, participated in cross country, track and crew and father, Andrew McCullough, was a swimmer at Yale.

Marissa Shoji
Freshman • Newton, Mass. • Noble and Greenough School

High School
Secured an eighth-place finish in the Nike Cross Country Regional competition … Took sixth-place in the 5k during the New Balance National contest in 2011 … Finished 12th in the 3,200 at the New Balance National competition in 2011 … Holds personal bests of 16:55 in the 5k, 4:33 in the 1,500 and 10:37 in the 3,200 ... Two-time Nobles' Trustee's Prize for Scholarship winner and AP Scholar ... 2011 National Merit Scholar ... Cum Laude Society member ... Involved with Boston Cares leadership and community service efforts, Campus Against Cancer club and chief organizer of Children's Hospital 5k Fundraiser ... Highest academic distinction all four years of high school.