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Natalie Bitetti reached the All-America podium for the second year in a row
Natalie Bitetti reached the All-America podium for the second year in a row

Women's Cross Country Earns 10th at Nationals, Bitetti Captures All-America Honors

LANSING, Mich. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team earned a top-10 finish (10th) by passing Pomona-Pitzer over the final 1000 meters at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Forest Akers Course in Lansing, Michigan.

Natalie Bitetti earned All-America honors for the second straight season by coming in 39th place, while Anika Kimme ran a strong race to be the second Athena across the line in 42nd. Kimme was in 101st place after the first split, but rallied over the second half of the race to come in 42nd. 

Meredith Bloss earned 52nd place for CMS, while Angie Gushue (105th) and Elle Marsyla (107th) rounded out the five CMS scorers. The Athenas had to adjust to unfamiliar conditions, running through the snow, with temperatures at just 22 degrees at the start of the race, with 16 mile per hour winds that made it feel like single digits.  

Johns Hopkins, which edged CMS by just two points for the national title a year ago, had another narrow win, coming from behind over the final 1000 to edge out Chicago 144 points to 147. Wartburg was third, Carleton was fourth and WashU was fifth. CMS ended with 282 points, and ended up the top team in the region after passing Pomona-Pitzer, which finished 11th with 333 points. 

CMS spent most of the race outside of the top 10 in the team standings, but finished strong in order to make its way back into the top 10. In addition to Kimme moving up from 101st place to 42nd at the finish, Marsyla passed 33 runners over the final 1000 meters to move up from 140th place to 107th. Gushue was also 161st after the first split and moved up 56 spots, including passing seven runners over the final 1000 meters. 

Bitetti will return next season to try to earn her third All-America honors of her career, although the Athenas will graduate Bloss and Kimme from their top three, opening the door for Gushue and Marysla to move up, as well as Riley Capuano and Laura Zimmer, who were part of the seven-runner contingent for CMS which competed at nationals.