Award Winners, Captains Named at Annual Cross Country Banquet

(Photo Courtesy: Harvard Athletic Communications).

Captains and award winners were announced as the Harvard cross country team held its annual end-of-season banquet Thursday night in the Harvard Hall of History. Two men and women received team awards at the event, and the program announced the captains for the 2012 season.

On the men's side, junior Sean Pohorence was selected to lead the team during the 2012 campaign. Pohorence had some of his best performances during his first year in Cambridge, placing third overall in the Harvard-Yale meet and finishing fourth among Harvard runners at the NCAA Pre-National Invitational. For the women, Emily Reese will take the reins for the 2012 season. Reese competed at the Paul Short Invitational this season, placing 90th overall with a time of 22:05, third among Harvard runners.

In terms of awards, senior Jeanne Mack was presented with The Kate Wiley '85 Women's Cross Country Award as the team's most valuable performer. It is the second year in a row that Mack has received the award. Mack was a consistent leader for the Crimson this season, finishing as either Harvard's first or second runner in three of her final four races. Her crowning achievement came at the 2011 Cross Country Heptagonal Championships, where she placed 13th with a time of 22:33.4, earning her second-team All-Ivy League honors.

Captain Kirsten Jorgensen also took home her second team award in as many years, receiving the Jerry Kanter Improvement Award for the second year in a row. Jorgensen regularly placed within Harvard's top-five finishers, and posted a time of 22:24.3 at the NCAA Regional Meet, good for 73rd overall and fourth on the team. Her finish helped Harvard place 14th as a team at the competition.

Sophomore James Leakos had a breakthrough season for Harvard and was presented with the J.D. "Don" French '56 Memorial Cross Country Award. The award is given to the team member who is considered the most valuable performer and best combines the qualities of team inspiration, enthusiasm, improvement and ardent belief in the values of the sport and athletics at Harvard. Leakos won the title at the HY(P) meet this season with a time of 24:21, helping the Crimson men to the team title as well. He also finished fifth at the Paul Short Invitational, clocking in at 24:14.

Junior Jakob Lindaas was the final award recipient on the evening, taking home 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 steadily improved through the 2011 cross country season and capped the year as Harvard's top finisher at Heps, placing 28th overall with a time of 25:41.6.