CLAREMONT, Calif. – Following a first and second-place finish at the NCAA Regionals, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross country program will fly out to Louisville, Kentucky for the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 19. CMS will send seven representatives each for the men's and women's team as well as one alternate to run at Tom Sawyer State Park.
The women will start their race at 8 am and the men will follow at 9 am.
Head Coach John Goldhammer has done all he could to prepare the team for the national championship and is hoping to see both the Stags and Athenas stand at the podium on Saturday. The clear weather and flat footing at Tom Sawyer State Park will work in CMS' advantage, given that they've been training on terraces similar to the course throughout the entire season.
"Everything we've done this season was focused on this event. We've been getting ready to compete for the best result in the National Championship," said coach Goldhammer. "We trained to get our strength and mileage up, and rested when we needed to. Our training this year was focused on this course (Tom Sawyer State Park). The park has a lot of flat ground, so we've been training on this type of condition the whole year."
The No. 7 Stags saw seven runners earn All-Region honorees by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association, including seniors Joshua Sealand (HMC), Jesse Joseph (HMC), Kyle Lund (HMC), Garrett Ryan (CMC), and Nico Banks (CMC), junior Kevin Huang (HMC), and freshman Thomas D'Anieri(CMC). All seven of these runners and alternate sophomore Adam Schulze (HMC) will be representing CMS at the NCAA National Championship. Sealand has had a remarkable senior season, including a second-place finish at the NCAA Regional with a time of 25:54.59 and finishing in the top-5 five times this season. The freshman D'Anieri emerged as a late bloomer this year, never placing in the top-10 until the SCIAC Championship where he took fifth place. The Stags will aim to improve from last year's result when they took seventh place, their best finish in their NCAA career.
North Central (Ill.) are the team to watch at the NCAA Final, as their men's team are ranked No. 1 in the nation after winning their 43rd straight College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Championship and taking first place at the Midwest Regional. East Coast juggernaut SUNY Geneseo, the second-best team in the nation, steamed through the Atlantic Regional after seeing five runners finish within the top-20. Isaac Garcia-Cassani took first overall at 24:15.8, beating the runner-up by five seconds. The Stags will also have to keep an eye out for conference rivals Occidental College and Pomona-Pitzer who qualified with an at-large big.
Junior Bryn McKillop (SC) and senior Carmen Mejia (SC) will be leading the way for the No. 18 Athenas as they aim to finish higher than they did in 2012 when they took third place. The Athenas feature five USTFCCCA All-Regional honorees in their lineup, including McKillop, Mejia, seniors Caroline Willian (CMC), Rachel Mow(HMC), and sophomore Malea Martin (CMC). Juniors Roselyn Cantu (CMC) and Laura Broderick (SC) will round out the main seven while freshman Alexandra Lambros (SC) will fill in as an alternate. After seeing three runners finish in the top-15 at the Regional (McKillop, Willian, Mejia), the Athenas look forward to making a stronger push to finish higher than they did last season when took 13th.
The Athenas have several teams to look out for, including West Regional winner Whitworth. John Hopkins, the No. 1 team in the nation, won their ninth straight NCAA Mideast Regional thanks to Felicia Koerner, the 2016 USTFCCCA Mideast Athlete of the Year. Last year's champion, No. 5 Williams will feature three returnees from the championship team as they look to repeat their title run. Maya Weigel, the 2016 USTFCCCA West Athlete of the Year, will be running as an individual for Pomona-Pitzer after taking first overall at the West Regional.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
CMS Email Updates
CMS Athletics on Facebook: AthleticsCMS
CMS Athletics on Twitter: @AthleticsCMS
CMS Athletics on Instagram: cmsathletics
CMS Athletics YouTube: ClaremontMuddScripps