HANOVER, N.H. – It wasn’t as easy as ‘win and you’re in’, but eventually the Dartmouth men’s cross country team found a way into the field of 31 at Saturday’s 2013 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute hosted by Indiana State.
The Big Green needed to benefit from a point system used in determining the 13 at-large berths to round out the field after 18 teams from across the nation earned their way in automatically by finishing in the top-two spots at the nine regional meets last Friday.
Dartmouth was fifth at the Northeast Regional held at Van Cortlandt Park and had to wait until the following afternoon at 3 p.m. when the at-large berths were announced. By finishing ahead of other qualifying teams often enough during regular-season meets, the Green and White earned the neccessary points under the current system to claim one of those hotly contested spots and make the trip to southwestern Indiana.
Joining the Big Green are Princeton and Columbia via automatic berths and Harvard, who finished sixth at regionals and got one of the final at-large spots along with Dartmouth. Never before has the Ivy League sent as many as four teams to the NCAA Championship meet, sending three squads only five times since 1957. A trio of Ivy teams has not gone to nationals in the same year since 1976 when Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth all went, demonstrating the depth and talent the Ancient Eight has produced this fall.
For the team from the Upper Valley, 2013 will mark the 18th time making the trip to the final cross country meet of the season, the best figure by any Ivy program (Princeton’s 14 ranks second). Consecutive second-place team finishes in 1986 and 1987 by the Green remain the best results by any conference squad in league history.
Leading the way this fall has been a mix of veterans and surprising newcomers to the team’s scoring seven.
Seniors Will Geoghegan and John Bleday have been at the top of the team’s scores all season. Most recently, the duo earned a pair of top-10 finishes at regionals to help secure individual spots at nationals were it not for the team making it as a whole with Saturday’s announcement. Geoghegan ran a 30:22.1 to take fifth, while Bleday was eighth in 30:26.0.
Sophomore Tim Gorman has stepped up to solidify the Big Green’s talented core of runners as he was 10th at Heps and 32nd at Van Cordlandt Park, bursting onto the scene at just the right time.
Senior Steve Managan was 27th at regionals and rounded out the Dartmouth scoring at the Ivy League meet with an 18th-place showing. Classmate Henry Sterling has also been making a name for himself this fall as he was 14th at Heps and 34th last weekend.
Silas Talbot and Dylan O'Sullivan have also been in and out of the scoring all season, giving Herbert Chase Head Coach Barry Harwick ’77 a wealth of talent in his top-seven throughout the 2013 campaign.
The men will run on a 10K course for just the second time this season with the first coming last weekend at regionals. The race is set for a noon start on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. In addition to the 31 teams, 38 individuals will also line up in Terre Haute.