CLAREMONT, Calif. – With the SCIAC Championships in the bag, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross country program will be heading to Salem, Oregon this Saturday to compete in the NCAA West Regionals. The men will be looking for a three-peat, having won the last two regionals and taking three in the last four years. The Athenas on the other hand will be looking to stop Willamette from repeating, falling in second place behind them the last two years.
The meet will be held at Bush's Pasture Park on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10 am. CMS will be among the 21 schools competing at this event, alongside Northwest Conference men's champion Willamette and SCIAC rival Whittier College.
The Stags and Athenas last ran at Bush's Pasture Park two years ago in the 2014 NCAA West Regionals, where the men took first place while the women finished in second. The course presents a stark contrast to the rough footings of Prado Park at the SCIAC Championship, as it features flat grounds and wood chip-covered surfaces. These attributes can ensure the runners will maintain their momentum and balance over the course of the long race.
"Most of the training we've done the last three weeks has been leading up to the Regionals," said Head Coach John Goldhammer. "We've done workouts to simulate the course. We run on the grass, switch to flat ground surfaces, and then switch back on the grass."
The course will heavily runners like senior Joshua Sealand (HMC), who are capable of maximizing their speed on flat surfaces. Sealand is expected to finish within the top five, while the rest of the No. 1 Stags are hoping to score between 35 to 45 altogether to secure first place. The Stags will have to be weary of NWC winner Willamette (Ranked 4th in region), who features a strong pool of runners that can steal majority of the top 20 spots. Patrick Loftus Jr. finished in second while three of his teammates finished within the top 10 to help the Bearcats take the conference title at ease. CMS will also have to look out for No. 2 Pomona-Pitzer and No. 3 Whittier, two schools that came close of taking the SCIAC Championship away from them.
Senior Carmen Mejia (SC), junior Bryn McKillop (SC) and the rest of the No.1 Athenas have a shot at avenging their regional loss to No. 4 Willamette this season. In the same course two years ago, McKillop was the highest leading freshman, taking sixth overall at a time of 22:36.0, while Mejia finished 16th at 22:54.3. The Bearcats lost several key members from last year's team to graduation, but still took second place in the NWC Championship thanks to their top runner Olivia Mancl (20:53.8). However, both schools will need to look out for No. 3 Whitworth, the NWC Champion, as Kayla Leland (21:14.4), Allison Wood (22:12.6), and Bailey Scott (22:13.0) finished within the top five to help the Pirates take first place.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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