CMS Women's Cross Country Picked to Repeat in SCIAC, Ranked No. 12 Nationally
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's cross country team was a unanimous choice to repeat as SCIAC champions in a vote of the league's coaches, while also beginning the new season ranked No. 12 in the nation by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
CMS received all nine first place votes in the SCIAC to earn 81 points, nine ahead of Pomona-Pitzer with 72, which earned all nine second-place votes. Occidental was picked third with 54 points in a very close vote, just ahead of both Caltech and Redlands with 53 points. Chapman, La Verne, Cal Lutheran and Whittier rounded out the poll.
Nationally, CMS earned 246 points to come in 12th place, after earning 10th at the NCAA Division III Championships last year. The Athenas were second by just two points in 2021, and didn't fare quite as well in the frigid conditions in Michigan last year, where the temperature felt below 10 degrees at race time, but they hope to challenge for a podium spot again this fall.
Leading the way for CMS will be senior Natalie Bitetti, who was the SCIAC Champion and the NCAA West Region Champion before earning All-America honors. She earned the SCIAC Athlete of the Year Award for her efforts, and also was named the National Division III Athlete of the Week after winning the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Bitetti will be joined by four teammates who were with her at nationals last year, including juniors Angie Gushue and Laura Zimmer, who have made two appearances in their first two seasons. Elle Marsyla earned her way to nationals after earning the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year honor, while sophomore Riley Capuano was also part of the CMS contingent at nationals before winning the 1500 meter title at the SCIAC Track and Field Championships in the spring.
Marsyla and Gushue were first-team All-SCIAC selections last year after top-10 finishes at the league championships, while Capuano and Zimmer were on the second team.
Several other Athenas will look to move into the top seven this year, replacing first-team All-SCIAC graduates Meredith Bloss and Anika Kimme. Amelia G. Opsahl (27th) and Lily Ryan (28th) earned top-30 finishes at the SCIAC Championships last year, while Hannah Weaver (32nd) wasn't far behind before scoring in the steeplechase (fifth) at the SCIAC track and field championships.
CMS will open its season on September 2, when it competes at the Mark Covert Classic hosted by CSU Fullerton. For a full look at the national rankings, go to the following link:
USTFCCCA Division III poll