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BRIEF: Three Cross Country Runners Advance to Nationals

ByConnor J. Wagaman, Contributing Writer

On Friday, a quintessentially Buffalo, N.Y., day of mud and blustery snow, junior Kieran Tuntivate and sophomores Hugo Milner and Lisa Tertsch slogged along faster than the competition to advance to next week’s NCAA National Championships in Madison, Wisc.

“The conditions were really, really bad,” Milner said. “It was snowing for a while. It was very, very cold. It was very tough. And I think that brings it down to more of a mental game than a physical game. A lot of people gave up early on.”

To qualify for nationals, teams must place in the top two at regionals, or, if their team does not qualify, individuals must place in the top four out of all individuals not on a qualifying team.

All Harvard runners advanced individually, with Tuntivate earning second, Tertsch finishing third, and Milner coming in fifth. The Harvard men’s team placed 11th, and the women’s team placed eighth, marking the close of each team’s season.

MEN

After a dominant second-place showing at the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championship on October 27, expectations were high for Harvard. Coming off its best Ivy Heps finish since 1976, the men’s team entered Friday ranked second in the NCAA Northeast Regional ranking.

Tuntivate, Harvard’s first men’s Ivy League champion since Maksim Korolev ’14 won in 2013, came out hot on Friday despite the 35 degree temperatures.

Hanging seconds — or fractions of a second — off the leader for the entire 10K course, the Delaware native placed second overall with a time of 32:32.4, a mere 1.5 seconds off regional champion senior Paul Hogan from UMass Lowell. Milner, who placed third at Heps, came in 18 seconds behind Tuntivate to earn fifth overall and earn the final individual ticket to Wisconsin.

The challenging course conditions, though, proved too great for some of the rest of Harvard’s squad. Junior Will Battershill, who earned All-Ivy honors with a 12th-place finish at Ivy Heps and has consistently been the third Harvard runner through the finish this season, was Harvard’s last runner through the line. Sophomore Matthew Pereira, who placed 17th at Heps, also had a rough outing, coming in 122nd.

WOMEN

The meet progressed routinely for the women. After finishing sixth at Ivy Heps, the women were ranked seventh entering Friday’s Northeast Regionals, and they finished eighth.

一个独唱d run from Tertsch, who spent the whole course in the front pack, earned her a trip to Madison next week on the heels of her third place finish. Tertsch, who also finished third at the Ivy League Championship, was the first Ivy League runner.

Junior Kathryn Gillespie was the second Harvard runner and 29th overall, with a time of 22:31.6. Sophomore Anna Juul, the third Harvard woman to finish, came in 48th.

Milner, Tuntivate, and Tertsch now have a week to prepare for the final race of the season.

“Most of the hard work is done now,” Milner said. “Our fitness has reached a level that it’s not going to really improve over the next week, so now we’re tapering down and starting to relax a bit so that we’re a bit more fresh for nationals, and so hopefully this week training will go well, and we’ll prepare well, and hopefully have a good race at nationals.”

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