Cross Country teams headed to Regionals

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Author: Emma Lodes

Women finish second, men fourth at SCIAC Championships

The cross country team exceeded expectations in the SCIAC Conference Championships at Prada Park last Saturday. 

The women came in second behind only Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) and the men came through finishing fourth despite the absence of key runners Cole Williams (sophomore) and Tommy Warfel (first-year) due to injury. Results from the SCIAC Championships and the multi-dual meet two weeks ago at La Mirada are combined to determine both teams’ rankings for Regionals, taking place in two weeks in Salem, Oregon. The Tigers will have to be in the top two at Regionals in order to qualify for Nationals.

Women’s team Captains Deanna Dupuy (senior) and Megan Lang (senior) finished the 6k in seventh and eighth place within two seconds of each other at 23:42 and 23:44, respectively. Marnie Kinnaird (junior), Tara Saxena (senior), and Jenna Wong (junior) were close behind in 14th, 17th and 20th place. 

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On the men’s side, Colin Smith finished the 8K in 12th place overall at 26:39. Louis Jochems (sophomore) and Charlie Sauter (senior) finished in 15th and 18th place. 

The top seven finishers on both the women’s and men’s teams will be racing in Salem for Regionals. Dupuy, Lang, Saxena, Kinnaird and Wong will race for the women, along with Lydia Harmon (senior) and Danielle Lyons (junior). For the men’s squad, Andrew Imthurn (senior), Shawn Dunn (junior) and Robbie George (first-year) will join Smith, Jochems, Sauter and Warfel. 

The teams went into the SCIAC Championships with half of their conference score already posted from the first SCIAC multi-dual meet on Oct. 12. At the multi-dual, the women’s team came in third place and the men came in fourth. 

According to head coach Rob Bartlett, the results were a mixed bag. He was pleased with the women’s results. “The women ran well,” he said. “It was their best meet of the season so far. There were only 32 seconds between our one and our five, so that says they did a great job of running as a pack.” 

Bartlett had hoped for a second place finish for the women at the Championship meet, and he got his wish. 

“Pomona finished right in front of us and beat us by one point in multi-duals, so we want to turn the tables,” he said. 

And turn the tables they did, beating Pomona-Pitzer and in turn raising their rank from third to second in the conference. Barlett believes that the men under-performed at multi-duals but exceeded his expectations with their fourth place at SCIACs, one place higher than his prediction. The team knew that it had lost its chance to finish in the top three, especially after the loss of Williams and Warfel prior to SCIACs.

Multi-duals ended in crisis for the men when Williams dropped out of the race due to an injury. Williams is usually one of the top two runners on the men’s team, and finished first for the black and orange at last year’s Nationals. He will be out for the remainder of the cross country season, but hopes to be healthy in time for track season. 

The team suffered another hit when Warfel sprained his ankle just days after the team lost Williams. Warfel would have been a point-scorer at SCIACs, but was unable to participate. Barring any setbacks to his ankle, Warfel will compete at Regionals.

With the men’s team limping its way through the rest of the season, the women are hoping to carry the load for the Tigers through the remainder of the postseason. 

Since they have achieved their goal with the second place finish at the SCIAC Championships and a trip to Regionals, the question is whether the team can maintain that rank when confronted with three times as many teams at Nationals. 

Considering the unexpected disadvantages for the men’s team in particular, Bartlett is overall pleased with the final outcome of SCIACS for both teams. “I was very proud of both genders,” he said. “We did as well as we could have given our circumstances. Both teams fought hard and competed as a united team. There isn’t anything else I could have asked of them.”

Danielle Lyons (junior) is happy with the way the season has gone and has bright hopes for the future. “The race felt like the culmination of a long season that’s been building toward this point,” she said. 

“Coming in second was a reflection of tremendous effort that was put in by every girl on the team. Through the season we’ve pushed and encouraged each other to be our best and during conference we raced really tough and we raced as a team. So I’m excited to move forward.”

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