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Kali Duffy / For Spectator

Women's cross country won its first Ivy League title since 2005 when it took home the last of its four consecutive title wins.

Cross country ran away with first place on the women’s side at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Van Cortlandt Park on Friday, while the men took second behind senior Ryan Thomas’ first-place finish.

Senior Nell Crosby led the Lions to their first Ivy title since 2005 with her fourth-place finish in a time of 21:15.0. Crosby recently placed 35th at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, one of the toughest competitions in the nation, and was a favorite to win this weekend, as she had not yet lost to an Ivy competitor this season.

Crosby’s finish was backed by a pack of Lions who all finished among the top 20 to round out the top five for Columbia. Senior Erin Melly lead the group with a 14th place finish, followed by sophomore Fiona Danieu in 15th, junior Erin Gregoire in 16th, and sophomore Bianca Alonzo in 17th.

The women collected a total of 66 points, ahead of second-place Dartmouth’s 73 points. While Crosby was unable to capture first place individually, the team’s ability to race and finish together demonstrated the depth of the squad—which made it into the national rankings for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, the men’s performance was highlighted by Thomas, who became the individual Ivy Champion in a time of 24:57.0, less than two seconds faster than Princeton’s Noah Kauppila in second. Earlier this season Thomas was named NCAA Cross Country Athlete of the Week after he won the Iona Meet of Champions on the same course in September.

The men’s team had three other finishers in the top ten, with sophomore Kenny Vasbinder in fifth, junior Brian Zabilski in seventh, and junior Lucky Schreiner in eighth. Despite these top finishes, the Lions were unable to overcome Princeton, which collected a total of only 28 points, while Columbia gathered 43 points.

Looking forward, the Lions will hope to continue their successful run at next month’s NCAA Regionals, where they will look to qualify both individually and as teams for the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

The NCAA Regional Championships will take place on Nov. 10 in Buffalo, New York.

ally.mcdonough@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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