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CMS Women's Cross Country Has 1-2-3 Finish to Dominate Pomona-Pitzer Invitational

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Riley Harmon, Meredith Bloss and Natalie Bitetti finished 1-2-3, while Sophie Gitlin (fifth), Emily Clarke (seventh) and Angela Gushue (eighth) were also in the top 10, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team dominated the competition for its second straight team title, winning the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

The Athenas finished with 18 points, just off a perfect score of 15, while Westmont was a distant second with 81 points. CMS was coming off a team championship at the Division III Pre-Nationals last weekend after runner-up finishes at both the Mark Covert Classic (to Division I CSU Fullerton) and the UC Riverside Invitational (to Division I California Baptist). 

There was little doubt as to who would come away with the team title, as the Athenas separated themselves from the pack on the opening mile. Harmon, Bloss and Bitetti ran in the front group the whole way, and Gitlin had a narrow lead in the second pack in fourth place, before settling for a fifth-place finish. 

The three-way Athena battle for the individual title went Harmon's way, as she actually became the fifth different Athena to lead CMS in a race this season. Clarke was the top finisher for CMS at the Mark Covert Classic, Bloss was first at the UC Riverside Invitational when she set a CMS record for a 6K race, Bitetti was the top Athena at the DIII Pre-Nationals, and Megan Maley led CMS at the Cougar Challenge, hosted by CSU San Marcos. 

Harmon finished with a time of 21:27.4 to lead the way for CMS, with Bloss finishing three seconds behind in 21:30.4 and Bitetti crossing the line in 21:36.3. Gitlin came in fifth in 22:03.9, before Clarke and Gushue finished neck-and-neck in the top 10 with times of 22:23.2 (seventh) and 22:27.0 (eighth), respectively. 

Even after the team championship was established, the Athenas kept coming with high finishes as Mallorie Jenne was 11th (22:37.4) and Laura Zimmer was right behind in 12th (22:40.7). Chloe Taylor (17th) and Carson McVay (20th) were in the top 20, while Brooklyn Button (21st), Megan Maley (22nd), Amelia G. Opsahl (24th) and Lara Cunningham (28th) were in the top 30. 

Also finishing in the top half of the 117-runner field were Serena Myjer in 31st, Jamie Habib in 34th, Sam Baker in 51st, and Camille Elizabeth Forte in 54th.

CMS will be back in action on Oct. 30, when it returns to the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country Course for the 2021 SCIAC Championships, hoping to extend its streak of 10 straight league titles.