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Cross Country to Open Season at Princeton for H-Y-P

Cross Country to Open Season at Princeton for H-Y-P

The Harvard women's team won the HYP in 2015 (Gil Talbot).

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard men's and women's cross country teams open the 2016 season on the road with the Harvard-Yale-Princeton (HYP) meet, to be held at West Windsor Fields in Princeton, N.J.. The women's race will begin at 10 a.m. and the men's 8k will start at 10:30 a.m.

A Year Ago
The Harvard women's team finished sixth at the NCAA Regionals, led by Courtney Smith's fifth place showing, helping her qualify for the NCAA Championships. Smith finished 60th in the field of 254 runners, narrowly missing All-America recognition with her time of 20:36.6. The Crimson placed seventh at the 2015 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, led by Smith's third place finish. The women's team won the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, the programs' first victory in the event since 1995, as Smith and senior Paige Kouba finished second and third respectively to lead the Crimson.

Harvard men's cross country wrapped up the 2015 season with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Regionals, led by senior Chris Allen's 28th-place result. The men's squad took seventh-place at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and sixth at the Coast to Coast Battle of Beantown. Senior Thomas Purnell won the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet in an exciting finish, holding off Princeton's William Bertrand in the final 100 meters for the victory.

HYP History
The Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet dates back to 1924 on the men's side and 1976 on the women's side. The Harvard men have won the event more than any other team, winning 29 meets to Princeton's 23 and Yale's 16. The Tigers' women's squad leads the standings with 16 victories, while Harvard has captured 11 titles and Yale has earned 10 wins. Last year, Princeton triumphed on the men's side, while the Harvard women earned their first win at the H-Y-P meet since 1995.

Scouting Harvard
The women's team enters the 2016 season ranked No. 13 in the Saucony Flo50 XC countdown and No. 25 in the USTFCCCA preseason coaches' poll, the second time in program history the Crimson have been ranked in the coaches' poll. Harvard is led by junior Courtney Smith, who qualified for the NCAA championships last fall. Smith was an indoor All-American during the track season, and qualified for the USATF Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters after running 32:08.32 at the Stanford Invitational – a top-10 mark in NCAA history. Harvard also returns junior Elianna Shwayder, who was consistently a top-three finisher for the Crimson.

On the men's side, the Crimson begin the season ranked in the USTFCCCA Northeast regional preseason poll released earlier this week. Harvard senior Brandon Price is Harvard's leading returner. Price was Harvard's top finisher last season at Coast to Coast Battle of Beantown.

Scouting Yale
The Bulldogs took third on the men's side and second on the women's in 2015 at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and second (men) and third (women) at HYP a year ago. On the women's roster, senior Frances Schmeide, an All-Region and All-Ivy first team selection last season leads the Elis. Senior James Randon leads the men's squad after finishing fifth at the Ivy League Championships and having a strong showing on the track, earning All-America recognition after an eighth place finish in the 1,500m at the NCAA Championships.

Scouting Princeton
Princeton lost three scorers from last season, including two-time All-Ivy League and all-regional runner Michael Sublette. Jeremy Spiezio and Steven Sum scored in five meets last year as freshmen and will be among Princeton's leading returners along with team captain William Bertrand. The women's team, ranked No. 23 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll, will be led by senior Lizzie Bird, the Ivy League Heps champion who will captain this year's squad.

At the Helm
Jason Saretsky is in his 11th season as the William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, and during his tenure the Crimson has landed 29 student-athletes on All-America teams. A five time Women's USTFCCCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year winner, Saretsky has mentored 40 combined NCAA qualifiers at Harvard.

What's Next?
The Crimson women's team heads to the Pacific Northwest in two weeks for the Washington Invite, hosted by the University of Washington at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Oct. 1, while the men's team will compete in the Paul Short Invite hosted by Lehigh University on the same day.

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