Natalie Bitetti Takes Individual Title at Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, Athenas Finish Second to Biola
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Natalie Bitetti continued her dominant junior season by taking first place at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday morning at the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country course, leading wire-to-wire to help the Athenas to a second-place finish behind Division II Biola.
Bitetti, who finished third last weekend at the Paul Short Run out of 395 runners, picked up her second individual title of the season after also winning the Redlands Invitational on Sept. 3. She was also the top Division III finisher at the UC Riverside Invitational, finishing 14th against a field that included numerous runners from the PAC-12 and other Division I conferences.
This time around, she took the lead on the opening straightaway across the Pomona-Pitzer soccer field, hitting the initial hill with a two-stride lead over the pack, and never relinquished it, crossing the line in 21:28.0 for almost a 13-second victory margin over Lynette Ruiz of Biola.
Biola ended up with the 4-5-6 finishers, before Meredith Bloss crossed in seventh place in a time of 22:06.9. Biola had its fifth finisher come in ninth to wrap up the team title with 26 points, and the Athenas followed with the next three in 10-11-12 to sew up their second place finish with 41 points, as Anika Kimme was 10th in 22:17.2, Elle Marsyla was 11th in 22:25.3, and Angie Gushue came in 12th in 22:29.7.
Laura Zimmer also earned a top-30 finish in 28th place with a time of 23:07.0, and Riley Capuano earned a top-50 with a 23:47.2, good for 46th place.
CMS will next be in action in three weeks when it competes in the SCIAC Championships, which will be held at Prado Park. The Athenas will be trying for their 12th straight league title, after sweeping the 2010s, and adding a dominant performance a year ago after the COVID break before finishing second at nationals.