Women's Cross Country Set For New England Championships at Franklin Park

Women's Cross Country Set For New England Championships at Franklin Park

Last year at the New England Championships, Madeleine Ankhelyi finished 30th overall. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Members of the Harvard women's cross country team will compete at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association (NEICAA) Championships on Saturday (Oct. 8), held at Franklin Park.

About the New England Championships 
The New England Championships, hosted by Boston University, takes place on a 5,000m course located within historic Franklin Park, five miles southwest of downtown Boston. It consists of equal parts on flats and hills, with fields, wide trails and grass pathways. Races start and finish at Playstead Field near White Stadium at the entrance to the Franklin Park Zoo. Harvard will compete against runners from 36 other schools hailing from across New England.

Women's Travel Roster
Women's 5K – 11:45 a.m. ET
Madeleine Ankhelyi
Fiona Davis
Gillian Meeks
Eliza Rego
Elianna Shwayder
Brooke Starn

The Last Time Out
Led by junior Courtney Smith's fourth place finish, the Harvard women's cross country team took third place at the Washington Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington at Jefferson Park Golf Course. Harvard recorded 78 points, with Smith and freshman Lisa Tertsch (10th) both placing in the top-10. 

Competing on a course with multiple 2K loops on flat fairways, Smith recorded one of her fastest 6K times, finishing in 19:47.60. Tertsch outkicked runners from Colorado St. and Oregon to finish 10th overall in 20:22.00 in her Harvard debut.

Freshman Judy Pendergast (20:39.20) and sophomore Erin Dietz (20:40.70) finished back-to-back in 20th and 21st overall, while junior Elianna Shwayder finished in 27th in 20:55.60 to round out the scoring for the Crimson.

In The Rankings
Harvard returned at No. 29 in the National Coaches Poll released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Crimson women are No. 4 in the USTFCCCA Northeast Region rankings. Harvard is ranked No. 17 in the Saucony Flo50 team rankings, and Courtney Smith is ranked No. 20 in the nation in the Saucony Flo50 individual rankings.

Tertsch Honored
Freshman Lisa Tertsch was named HepsTrack.com Women's Rookie of the Week. In her Harvard debut last weekend, Tertsch recorded 10th-place finish at the Washington Invitational held at Jefferson Park Golf Course. Tertsch, a native of Darmstadt, Germany, outkicked runners from Colorado St. and Oregon in a 6K to finish in 20:22.00.

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. 

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.

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?
Harvard will split next weekend and compete at three events, the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 14, the Princeton Invite on Oct. 15, and the Pre-National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., also on Oct. 15.