Taking home the individual SCIAC title and breaking Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’s 6K program record earlier this year, Meredith Bloss HM ’23 has blossomed into a cross country star for the Athenas, leading them to their 11th straight SCIAC team championship.
But her collegiate running career didn’t begin in Claremont. Originally from Guilford, Connecticut, Bloss was recruited as an Ivy League Division I athlete at Cornell University.
“The engineering program was really strong. I wanted to stay closer to home than I ended up being and I really liked the team there,” Bloss said. “It was just a really beautiful place with really good academics. It was just a very prestigious program too, so it was very appealing.”
Despite not competing much during her freshman year, Bloss said there were some benefits in being part of Cornell’s XC team.
“It was definitely not a negative experience because there’s a lot of funding and resources available,” Bloss said. “It was really exciting to compete with some really phenomenal runners who [eventually] went on to compete in the Olympics.”
Chilly Ithaca weather and otherwise, Cornell ultimately wasn’t the best fit for Bloss. She began the college transfer process just two weeks before the deadline in mid-March of this year.
“I was going to ride it out for the rest of the semester and see what happened,” Bloss said. “If I got into a place I wanted to go and was sure [of] leaving Cornell, I would decide then. But it was really more of just [going] with the flow.”
Bloss had heard about Harvey Mudd College before and, while considering her possible transfer options, the school came back on her radar.
“I was interested in a small liberal arts college and Mudd was a really good fit because it’s STEM heavy and I wanted to keep running, so I reached out to the team and eventually ended up [here],” Bloss said.
In addition to permitting her to pursue both her academic and athletic interests, Mudd offered Bloss a way to connect with her teammates on a deeper level.
“I think running, for me, a lot of my social life revolves around the team, which I think is true for a lot of people — that’s something that’s really strong about CMS culture,” Bloss said. “So for me, it was definitely a nonzero factor because I wanted to have that social network. I wanted a place that had a really strong team culture.”
Within her newfound social sphere, Bloss said the 5Cs offer a unique blend of athletic and academic possibility.
“The consortium is really unique in that you have a lot of people who are competing at a very high level, and also getting a really good education,” Bloss said. “I think that’s something that’s really special at the Claremont Colleges.”
“We have a lot of big team goals for this year in terms of the Nationals Meet. We have a really special team this year with really a lot of depth. I want to see how high we can place and how far we can take that.” — Meredith Bloss HM ’23
Contrary to horror stories revealing how Mudd is “ridiculously hard” academically, the cross-country star was surprised when her classes were more collective-oriented.
“I didn’t realize that there are lots of resources and a strong collaborative attitude with Mudd, which I think really helps prepare people for working in the real world after graduation,” Bloss said. “Personally, it’s really hard to find a school that has a multidisciplinary engineering degree, while also allowing me to take interesting courses in theater.”
In terms of athletics, Bloss says that there are “more parallels” when comparing her experiences in Cornell’s Division I and CMS’ Division III programs.
“At both levels, however you choose to break it down, you have a bunch of people working really hard, all for the same goal,” Bloss said. “Just because they’re different conferences doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any different.”
In the near future, Bloss looks forward to helping CMS bolster its cross-country resume.
“We have a lot of big team goals for this year in terms of the Nationals Meet,” Bloss said. “We have a really special team this year with really a lot of depth. I want to see how high we can place and how far we can take that.”
Correction: A previous headline for this article incorrectly stated Bloss had a two-year run at Cornell. She attended for a year. TSL regrets the error.