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Cross Country Heads to Connecticut for NCAA Northeast Regionals

Jakob Lindaas was Harvard's top finisher at NCAA Regionals a year ago (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Particulars
After a strong showing at the 2012 Heptagonal Championships and a weekend off to recover, the Harvard cross country squads travel to Madison, Conn., for the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships Friday. The race will take place at Hammonasset State Park and is co-hosted by Yale and Fairfield.

Harvard at Regionals
The Harvard men's team has captured two regional titles in its history, with its most recent championship coming in 1976. A fourth-place finish in 2006 represents the men's best in recent years, and the squad has recorded top-15 finishes in each of its last four competitions. Last year, Jakob Lindaas finished 45th in the competition as Harvard's top runner, recording a time of 32:35.2 on the 10k course. James Leakos (32:55.5) and Aaron Watanabe (33:24.1) also recorded top-100 finishes, helping the Crimson to a 15th-place finish at the competition.

The women's squad has three regional titles to its credit, capturing three straight from 1981-83. 2008 nearly saw the women capture their fourth trophy, as the squad placed second at the regional event. The past two seasons have seen the women place 14th overall at the competition. Morgan Kelly was Harvard's top finisher last year in Buffalo, N.Y., placing 49th overall with a time of 21:58.3. Viviana Hanley (66th) and Jeanne Mack (68th) were the next to cross the line for the Crimson and Kirsten Jorgensen and Alaina Alvarez helped Harvard place all its scoring runners within the top 100.

Last Time Out
A strong team effort saw the Crimson women post their best result in three years at Heps two weekends ago. The women's squad finished with 93 points, tying Brown for third place at the meet, while the men ended with 131 points in their fifth-place result. The women were just two points behind second-place Princeton, who had 91 points on the afternoon.

Senior Sammy Silva provided the biggest spark on either side for Harvard, shattering her best 6-kilometer effort and racing to a sixth-place finish with a time of 20:39.8. Only 10 places back in the final standings was captain Emily Reese who narrowly missed breaking the 21-minute mark, crossing the line in 21:03.0. Harvard's third scorer was Morgan Kelley, who was one spot and three second behind teammate Reese. Viviana Hanley was three seconds back of Kelley in 21:09.8. Alaina Alvarez was the final Harvard scorer across the line, posting a time of 21:39.6, good for 32nd overall in the competition.

Junior James Leakos led the way for the men's squad, who only had a 16-place and 32-second spread between their five scoring runners. Leakos' time of 24:16.6 on the 8-kilometer course was good for 19th overall and just three seconds outside of the top 15. Classmate Maksim Korolev crossed the line in 22nd position, finishing just eight seconds back of Leakos in 24:24.3. Rookie Tom Purnell had a strong run in his first Heps appearance, riding the heels of Korolev to a 25th-place finish and 24:29.8 time. Kurt Ruegg was the third junior and fourth Harvard scorer across the line in 24:35.3, good for 30th, and freshman Billy Gaudreau ran a time of 24:48.3 in his first Ivy championship meet, good for 35th overall.

Up Next
Following the NCAA regionals, the Crimson will wrap up its season by sending runners to the ECAC/IC4A Championships, as well as qualified runners to the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. Both races take place Nov. 17.