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posed shots of Natalie Bitetti and Elle Marsyla with the SCIAC logo

Bitetti Earns SCIAC Athlete of the Year, Marsyla Top Newcomer

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Junior Natalie Bitetti of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team earned the SCIAC Athlete of the Year Award, while Elle Marsyla captured the Newcomer of the Year in a vote of the conference's coaches, the league office announced today.

In addition to the student-athlete honors, the CMS staff of head coach Marina Muncan and assistants Chris Ramirez and Kelsey Creese earned the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors after leading the Athenas to the league title. 

Bitetti earned the honor after winning the SCIAC individual title and helping the Athenas to their 12th straight team championship on Saturday at the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country Course. Bitetti won the race by 37 seconds over teammate Meredith Bloss, the SCIAC Athlete of the Year last season when she took the league title, and was part of a 1-2-3 finish, along with Anika Kimme

Over the course of the season thus far, Bitetti has run in five races, and she earned the SCIAC Athlete of the Week after each of her first four regular season races, and then added the SCIAC Athlete of the Year after the fifth. She also was named the SCIAC Athlete of the Week after winning titles at the Redlands Invitational on Sept. 3, and at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Oct. 8, after which she was named the USTFCCCA Division III National Athlete of the Week. She also earned SCIAC Athlete of the Week honors after finishing as the highest Division III runner at the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 17, and coming in third place at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

Marsyla earned first-team All-SCIAC distinction after coming in seventh at the league championships, the highest finish for any newcomer. Marsyla got off to a strong start to the year by coming in fourth place at the Redlands Invitational in her first collegiate race, and broke 22 minutes at the Paul Short Run (21:57.9) to move into 27th place in CMS history. 

Bitetti and Marsyla were joined on the All-SCIAC first team (top 10) by Bloss, Kimme, and Angie Gushue (ninth), while Riley Capuano and Laura Zimmer were on the second team by finishing in the 11-20 spots at the SCIAC Championships. 

CMS will be back in action on Nov. 12 when it travels to the NCAA West Regionals in Spokane, Washington, where it hopes to secure its 14th straight team invitation to nationals, which will be held on Nov. 19 in Lansing, Michigan.