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11th Place Team Finish Best In Tigers' History

Saving its best for last, the Princeton men’s cross country squad ran a brilliant and heady race when it counted most. Closing hard over the final kilometers in Louisville’s E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, the Tiger runners moved smartly through the field and captured their prize: an 11th place team finish – the best NCAA championship performance by any men’s cross country team in the school’s history. A beaming Jason Vigilante – the Tigers new head cross country coach – described his charges’ big race performance as “beyond exceptional.”

The Tigers were led by Heptagonal champion Chris Bendtsen ‘14 who raced over the 10K course in 30:07 to finish 43rd. Chasing him into the finish chute were Heps runner-up Alejandro Arroyo Yamin ‘14 (58th in 30:24) and Tyler Udland ‘14 ( 79th in 30:33). Mike Franklin ‘13 (134th in 31:06) and Matt McDonald ‘15 (151st in 31:06) rounded out the scoring.

Nimble pre-season adjustments were necessary to preserve the team’s opportunity for success this fall. Coach Vig cited the resiliency of his athletes. They were compelled to adapt to the late summer departure of Tiger head coach and distance guru Steve Dolan – who left Princeton to take on the Director position at Penn – and to his arrival as the new coach. “The guys who had moved on from the program had really established a phenomenal culture. For me coming in, it wasn’t difficult. I was accepted,” explained Vigilante. “The runners here wanted to be part of a new program, a new page.” But the head coach is quick to acknowledge this season’s boost from the legacy of excellence established by Dolan and his accomplished athletes, many of whom had graduated. “Coach Dolan had done a tremendous job. Donn Cabral, Joe Stillin, and Trevor Van Ackeren [all of the Class of ‘12] really were the foundation for developing this new program. This [the best-ever NCAA championship team performance] is the byproduct of that.”

In the women’s 6K championship race, senior Greta Feldman – who earlier this year earned All-America honors for her 6th place finish in the 1500 at the NCAA outdoor national championship – ran 20:42.5 to finish 88th.

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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