Quakers Finish Third at Heps

2005 Heps Results

NEW YORK - The Columbia women's cross country team took its fourth-straight Heptagonal cross country championship Friday morning at Van Cortlandt Park, but you would have never known from the smile on Penn head coach Gwen Harris' face.

The smile said it all. The Quakers finished third Friday, their best finish at this event since 1991 (third) and a massive improvement from last year's eighth-place finish. With 104 points, Penn finished Friday's race behind the only ranked teams in the race -- No. 7 Columbia (54 points) and No. 18 Princeton (65). Yale was fourth with 111 points, followed by Brown (129), Cornell (132), Dartmouth (147) and Harvard (164).

"Being at the bottom is tough," said Harris. "And this was amazing. We knew we could do this, but we knew we had to do everything right. Everyone ran so tight in the pack. I was real proud of them. The girls could not have run a better race -- I am excited, and the girls are ecstatic."

Penn was led by a record-setting performance Friday. Stacy Kim got caught up in a fast pace with the leaders and hung tough, in the process running the Van Cortlandt Park course faster than any previous Penn woman. Her time of 17:33.9 placed her eighth overall and earned her second-team All-Ivy.

It was the second through fifth spots that gave Penn its lofty standing. Claire Kim -- Stacy's twin sister -- was the second Penn runner across the finish line in 18:04.1, good for 16th overall. Less than 30 seconds separated her from the other Quakers who scored: Leah Brogan was 23rd overall in 18:12.8; Jamie Liberti was 26th in 18:17.5; and Christina Morrison was 31st in 18:31.4.

Penn's other runners Friday included Kinjal Parikh (51st in 19:16.0), Jacqueline Dunn (56th in 19:50.2), Elizabeth Rosenblatt (84th in 19:54.0), Charlotte Lawson (87th in 20:11.8), Michelle Cassidy (88th in 20:16) and Christine Capetola (90th in 20:55.2).

Columbia's Caroline Bierbaum won the race in a record time of 17:01.4, breaking by eight seconds the 23-year-old Heps Van Cortlandt Park record of 17:09.8 set by Harvard's Kate Wiley in 1982. in fact, Bierbaum wasn't the only runner ahead of record pace-- Yale sophomore Lindsay Donaldson was clocked in 17:04.3 to finish second, and Princeton senior Cack Ferrell was third in 17:08.1.

"It was an awesome day," said Bierbaum, who won in 17:12.2 last season. "I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was perfect conditions and I felt great all day. You never want to lose a title once you get it, so I was happy to get it back."

The Lions have now won four straight Heps women's cross country titles, becoming the fourth team to do so. Harvard (1981-85), Yale (1986-89) and Dartmouth (1994-97) have also won four consecutive titles.