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CMS Women's Cross Country Dominates SCIACs with Five of Top Six; Bloss Wins Individual Title

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Led by a 1-2 finish from Meredith Bloss and Riley Harmon, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team dominated the field to take home its 11th straight SCIAC Championships on Saturday morning at Pomona-Pitzer.

Natalie Bitetti finished fourth, Emily Clarke fifth and Sophie Gitlin finished sixth for the Athenas, who ended with 18 points, the lowest ever in SCIAC women's cross country history. Pomona-Pitzer was a distant second with 51, and Caltech finished in third with 107 points. 

Bloss earned the individual title with a strong final 1000 meters, moving up from third to first after Harmon and Genevieve DiBari of Pomona-Pitzer were neck-and-neck for first leading into the closing stretch. Harmon also finished strong to pull away from DiBari to end up a close second, with Bloss winning in 21:25.4 and Harmon second in 21:28.8, six seconds ahead of DiBari. 

The wave of Athenas kept crossing the line, as CMS had six in the top 10, who earned first-team All-SCIAC honors, and four more in the top 20 who earned second-team all-league distinction. Bitetti was fourth in 21:47.6, Clarke fifth in 21:56.3 and Gitlin sixth in 22.09.8. Gitlin was 10 seconds ahead of the seventh-place finisher (Claire LeBlanc of Pomona-Pitzer) as the Athenas' top five pulled away from the pack to lead to an easy team victory. 

Angie Gushue also earned first-team All-SCIAC honors for CMS with a time of 22:27.3, placing ninth. On the All-SCIAC second team were Laura Zimmer (12th), Mallorie Jenne (13th), Chloe Taylor (15th) and Brooklyn Button (18th). 

CMS also had four more runners in the top 30, just outside of All-SCIAC recognition. Amelia G. Opsahl was 24th, Anika Kimme was 25th, Lara Cunningham 27th and Megan Maley 28th.

The Athenas won every SCIAC title during the decade of the 2010s, but didn't get to compete in 2020 due to the cancellation of sports from the COVID-19 pandemic. After a one-year hiatus, CMS returned to its familiar pose behind the championship banner, this time with the best team score in SCIAC history. 

CMS will try to keep another streak going in two weeks when it returns to the Pomona-Pitzer cross country course for the NCAA West Regionals. The Athenas will be trying to qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team for the 13th year in a row, which it can accomplish by finishing in the top two of the regionals.