XC runners set personal records in RI
All seven of Colby’s women cross country runners posted season-best times in Saturday’s ECAC Division III Championships.
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Saturday’s ECAC Division III Championships in Bristol, RI featured a combined 83 teams between the men and women—some from as far away as Stubenville, Ohio—and all on a dry, flat, narrow course. Hence the need to open it up early.
“It was way too narrow for the large number of teams competing,” said Brittany Colford ’13, who finished 22nd overall in the women’s six-kilometer race, “so we had to get off the line quickly to avoid getting caught in the pack.” Colford finished in 23:38.72 to lead the Mules to a fourth-place finish. She also took home a 1.12 second personal record (PR) with her rush technique. That was only the beginning of a day where all seven of Colby’s runners had season-best times and six of the seven—including Robyn St. Laurent ’12 by 1 minute and 12 seconds—had PRs.
“The course was relatively flat and dry, but very narrow, so the plan was to get out quickly and they all did exactly that,” said head coach Deb Aitken. In addition to St. Laurent, who began as the Mules’ seventh runner but moved up throughout the race to finish as Colby’s fifth, Abby Cheruiyot ’12 (24:18.64), Sophie Weaver ’14 (24:35.21), Emily Nadel ’14 (24:35.68), Claire Cannon ’13 (24:43.39) and Morgan Lingar ’13 (24:51.87) rounded out the Mules’ PR show, and all seven runners were in the top 58 of the 277-runner field. The only teams to beat Colby at Colt State Park in Bristol were conference rivals Middlebury, Williams and Amherst—ranked first, second, and 16th in the nation, respectively—and wild-card Franciscan University of Stubenville, who were unranked going into the race. After last week’s season-high of 21st, the Mules currently sit at 26th in the national rankings.
“To have all seven runners in the top 58 of 277 runners was pretty exciting,” said Aitken. “It also speaks well for the future of the team, since all seven will be returning runners next season.”
On the men’s side, Colt State Park played out almost as a home race. Indeed, after a family-cooked dinner on Friday night courtesy of the Halladays and the Maguires (who both hail from nearby Barrington), first-year Matthew Cloherty’s Providence Country Day School teammates took to the course on Saturday to cheer on the Mules like it was an RI State Meet. Colby placed 10th out of 44 teams, with Brian Desmond ’13 taking 25th overall (27:01.78), Cloherty 35th (27:14.25), Dylan Nisky ’14 76th (28:06.83) and Justin Rouse ’12 82nd (28:10.58). All four runners finished in the top third of the 300-runner pack. Dave Murphy ’14 ran a 36-second PR (28:30.19), Samuel Grant ’12 raced for only the second time this season after being sidelined for several weeks to post a 1:42 personal course record (29:50.76), and Chris Greenlee ’14, who was in bed sick at the start of the week, finished in 31:02.97.
“Greenlee had to stop several times but gutted it out, hung tough and never quit,” noted Head Coach Jared Beers. “Rough, but [what a] proud way to finish his season. It was also nice to have four runners in the top 100, including 25th and 35th, the most we have ever had since I've been coaching.” Indeed, the meet marked the first top-10 finish in Beers’ era, and Colby beat two other New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams—Wesleyan and Conn.—while they achieved this feat. On Saturday, both Mule teams take their top seven runners to the New England NCAA Regional Qualifier at Williams, a course they ran at the end of September.
“Mark Twain said something to the effect that facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable,” said Beers. “The numbers sound good, and definitely are good, but knowing the heart and endless effort that went into these improvements is what is really awesome. We’ve got a great spirit rolling into the biggest race of the year.”