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Ancient Eight Compete at 2010 Heps Women's Cross Country Championships Friday

Princeton's Sarah Cummings

2010 Cross Country Championships Central

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 2010 Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships are set to get underway Friday, Oct. 29 as the Ancient Eight begin postseason racing at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y.

The women's 5k begins at 11 a.m., followed by the men's five-mile race at 11:45 a.m. The awards ceremony for both will take place by the Tortoise and the Hare statue on Broadway.

Complete individual and team results will be posted at ivyleaguesports.com immediately following the meet.

The following is a brief preview of the women's competition:

Princeton enters the 2010 Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championship as the four-time reigning team champion and looks to be the heavy favorite for a fifth consecutive title, returning three of the top five individual finishers from 2009.

Princeton's recent dominance aside, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell look to be clipping at the Tigers' heels. Brown, Dartmouth and Penn have been led by underclassmen for much of the year, and will look to their freshmen and sophomores to step up in the postseason as well. Yale, meanwhile, looks to a solid group of returners with a lot of experience under their belts.

Individually, three-time champion Liz Costello has departed due to graduation, leaving the field open for a new individual title winner in 2010.

See below for a team-by-team breakdown:

Brown Bears -- Ranked No. 12 in the Northeast Region...return four of their top five from last year's championship...placed fifth as a team in 2009...freshman Margaret Connelly has stepped up as the Bears' top runner for much of the season, completing her most recent 5k in 17:27.1.

Columbia Lions -- Ranked No. 7 in the Northeast Region...return three of their top five from last year's championship including Jackie Drouin who placed eighth overall...placed third as a team in 2009...Drouin's time of 17:34.4 ranks tied for the seventh fastest in Columbia history...sophomore Caroline McDonough and senior Druin have gone one-two in the Lions' last two races.

Cornell Big Red -- Ranked No. 5 in the Northeast Region...return four of their top five from last year's championship...placed fourth as a team in 2009...freshman Devin McMahon has been the Big Red's top finisher in three races this season, including their last two outings.

Dartmouth Big Green -- Ranked No. 15 in the Northeast Region...return  three of their top five from last year's championship...placed sixth as a team in 2009...freshman Katelyn Walker led the Big Green in their last three races.

Harvard Crimson -- Ranked No. 6 in the Northeast Region...return all five scorers from last year's championship, including Claire Richardson who placed sixth overall...placed second as a team in 2009...Richardson's time of 17:28.1 ranks as the eighth fastest in Harvard history...Richardson was the top finisher twice this season as the Crimson upperclassmen continue to lead the squad.

Penn Quakers -- Ranked No. 9 in the Mid-Atlantic Region...return their top two finishers from last year's championship...placed seventh as a team in 2009...the Quakers are led by their underclassmen this season as sophomore Margaret Diacont, Leslie Kovach and Megan Powell and freshman Catherine Phillips have been Penn's top performers consistently throughout the fall.

Princeton Tigers -- Ranked No. 18 nationally and No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic Region...return three of their top five from last year's championship-winning squad...returning trio of Alex Banfich, Sarah Cummings and Ashley Higginson placed second, third and fourth, respectively, in 2009...2009 Tigers were the first ever to finish one through five for 15 points...seeking a fifth consecutive team title in 2010...Banfich's time of 17:12.9 ranks the fifth fastest in Princeton history.

Yale Bulldogs -- Ranked No. 8 in the Northeast Region...return three of their top five from last year's championship...placed eighth as a team in 2009...junior Jennifer Downing has consistently been one of the Bulldogs' top performers this season, along with classmate Anne Lovelace, who was Yale's top finisher at the 2009 championships.