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For the first time in program history, the Harvard men’s cross country team has earned a top-30 ranking in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I coaches’ poll. The Crimson is coming off perhaps its best showing of the season at the elite Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, where the squad took 13th place (out of 35) in a competition of the nation’s best teams. The performance earned Harvard the No. 21 spot in the national rankings.
“It’s a good testament to the hard work and dedication that our student-athletes have put into their training and preparation,” Crimson coach Jason Saretsky said. “I know how much thought goes into the rankings, since I used to do them.”
The USTFCCCA coaches’ poll began in 1998. Harvard’s best-ever finish at the NCAA Championships came in 1968, when the squad took ninth place. Though a few individuals on the men’s team have qualified for nationals in recent years, including current co-captains Maksim Korolev and James Leakos, the Crimson men’s team has not earned a bid since 1979.
The Harvard women’s team qualified for the national championships last season, and just missed out on a spot in the top 30 of the coaches’ poll. The Crimson received 15 votes, two shy of the 17 votes that were awarded to 30th-place Mississippi.
In two weeks, Harvard will compete at Princeton in the most important meet of its season, the Heptagonal Championships. Columbia and Princeton, ranked 10th and 15th, respectively in the most recent poll, are expected to duke it out with the Crimson for the men’s title, while 11th-ranked Dartmouth is the favorite on the women’s side.
-Staff writer Dominic A. Martinez can be reached at dominic.martinez.@thecrimson.com.
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