CROSS COUNTRY: Underclassmen carry team at the Purple Valley
It was an exciting weekend for both the men's and women's cross country teams, as both took part in the Williams College Purple Valley Classic on Saturday, September 26. Despite the absence of numerous older runners who got the week off, and the presence of cold and flu symptoms amongst some runners, both teams managed to put up successful results, building off of the success of the two previous meets.
The men's team let its older runners take a well-deserved break, after a grueling season so far, and it was led by sophomore Matthieu Nadeau, who finished the eight-kilometer course in 29:14, good for 84 place overall. Behind him was John Williams '13, who finished 92 overall, in 29:35, who was followed closely by Michael Langley '13 and Luke Doherty Munro '13, who finished in 29:41 and 29:46, good for 95 and 96, respectively. Following them were Will Supple '12, Sam Grant '12, George French '12, John DeAscentis '11 and Julio Suastegui '13. The team ran with no seniors, one junior, and four-first years, and finished 10 out of the 12 teams racing, with a combined score of 313. The University of Massachusetts at Lowell won the meet, with a score of 38. Williams College, who entered the meet ranked fourth in the country, finished second. New York University, ranked 14 in the country, finished in third.
On the women's side, the team put up another great showing, finishing fifth out of the 12 teams in the race. This is extremely impressive, considering that all four teams ahead of Colby were ranked nationally, with three of them ranked in the top eight in the country. Johns Hopkins University, who won the meet, was ranked fourth in the country. Williams, who finished second, was ranked seventh, and Middlebury College, who finished third, was ranked first in the country. Oberlin College, the fourth place team, was ranked 27, putting Colby in fifth place, with a combined score of 139. "Our meet this weekend was a big step in the direction we want and need to take to meet some of our goals set for the season," Head Coach Debra Aitken said.
The women's team was led by Katrina Gravel '10, who finished the six-kilometer race in 12 place, of 144 runners, in a time of 23:02. This was a 34-second improvement over the same race from last year. Emma Linhard '11 was close behind, finishing in 18 place with a time of 23:15, good for a 24-second improvement. "Gravel and Linhard proved that they are indeed ready to run with the best in New England," Aitken said. Nora McCall '11 finished 41, with a time of 24:20, followed closely by a not fully healthy Mandy Ivey '10, who was 45, finishing in 24:27. Greta Wells '11, Claire Dunn '13, Robyn St. Laurent '12, Morgan Lingar '13, Abby Cheruiyot '12, Jessica Mullaney '11, Brittany Colford '13 and Colleen Kenny '12 rounded out the finishers for the women's team. "We moved one step closer to running the way that we are capable of running, and it was wonderful to see people step it up," Aitken said. "We will be taking each meet just one step at a time, but this was a big step forward on the path we want to run."
Up next for both the men's and women's teams is a highlight of the season, the Colby Invitational, coming up this Saturday, October 3. With the return of runners who have been sick or injured, combined with the advantage of running on the course they have been training on, everything seems to be aligned for a great showing for the Colby runners. The women run at 11 a.m., and the men at noon. Find some time to watch and cheer on the team as they run for glory.