Bitetti-Bloss-Kimme Finish 1-2-3 to Lead Athenas to 12th Straight SCIAC Title
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Natalie Bitetti led wire-to-wire to win the SCIAC women's cross country individual title by 37.7 seconds in 21:19.7, and was followed by teammates Meredith Bloss (21:57.4) and Anika Kimme (22:04.3) in second and third as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team earned its 12th straight SCIAC title with 22 points on Saturday at the Pomona-Pitzer cross country course.
The host Sagehens had the 4-5-6 finishers and came in second with 34 points, while Elle Marsyla (22:12.3) and Angie Gushue (22:21.2) finished in seventh and ninth, respectively, to earn first-team All-SCIAC honors and finish off the winning score of 22 as the fourth and fifth scorers for the Athenas.
CMS also had two athletes earn second-team All-SCIAC honors by finishing in the 11-20 range as Riley Capuano came in 14th place with a time of 22:59.8 and Laura Zimmer was 17th in 23:05.5.
Bitetti was last in action three weeks ago for the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational and essentially ran the exact same race, bolting to the lead during the opening 100 yards across the softball field and then never letting go. This time, she was even more dominant as she kept extending her lead more and more as the race went on, winning by 37 seconds, compared to 13 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Bitetti earned her fifth SCIAC honor in five races this year, with this one the most meaningful as the individual league champion. Her first four races all resulted in her winning the SCIAC Athlete of the Week honor, including after individual titles at the Redlands Invitational and the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational. She was also third at the Paul Short Run, and the first Division III finisher at the UC Riverside Invitational (14th overall).
Bloss, who won the 2021 SCIAC individual title, separated from the pack to finish second in under 22 minutes, crossing in 21:57.4. There was a tight battle behind her for third, as Kimme was just able to nudge ahead of Abigail Loiselle of Pomona-Pitzer by seven-tenths of a second to give the Athenas their 1-2-3 finish.
Marsyla earned first-team honors in her first SCIAC race by crossing in 22:12.3, a four-second margin ahead of eighth, and Gushue finished in a comfortable ninth place, seven seconds ahead of Chloe Bullock of Redlands to cap off the team win and earn first-team All-SCIAC distinction.