Athenas, Brickson Compete at Nationals, Wrap Up Strong Seasons for CMS and P-P

Following a successful West Regional to book their spot at Nationals, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s cross country team, as well as the lone female Pomona-Pitzer representative Claire Brickson PO ’14, traveled to Hanover, Ind. to compete at the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 23.  CMS placed 14th out of 32 teams, with Allison Barnwell CM ’14 running a six-kilometer time of 21:52 to place 24th and earn All-American honors for the second year in a row. 

Running in her final race for the CMS Athenas, Barnwell had a great showing. She finished inside the top 40, and she moved into the top 30 during the middle of the race. Barnwell commented on the high intensity of running in a national meet versus smaller races nearby, but she was able to overcome that pressure to run a great race.

“Running at nationals is nothing like the races we encounter here in Southern California … There is a lot more pressure to run the best race of your life,” Barnwell wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “After 4 years of running at nationals, I’ve realized the only thing you can do faced with all the new conditions is run the same race you’ve trained for all season. I think that our SCIAC runners managed to do just that, with a few standout races along with some disappointments.”

One of those standout races came from Adele Eslinger CM ’14, who ran a 6k personal record (PR) in her last collegiate cross country race. Eslinger ran 22:30 to place 83rd.

“The nationals race was an amazing, satisfying way to end the season and my career as a member of the Athenas XC team … of course, the crows [sic] of half-dressed, body-painted, flag-bearing spectators brought a lot of energy to the atmosphere,” Eslinger wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “Overall, we had a solid race as a team. And if we didn’t place quite as high as we had hoped, we still gutted out some pretty awesome performances.”

“I know that I am so so proud of our team and what we have been able to accomplish together this year. It was a really affirming experience for me personally as well, since I had a lifetime PR on my last collegiate race. And yes, I got to run barefoot,” Eslinger wrote.

The lone representative for P-P, Brickson ran 23:06 to place 169th in her final cross country race as a Sagehen. After placing 10th at Regionals to qualify for Nationals, she appreciated the chance to run in an environment similar to her native Madison, Wis.

“I love racing in the cold and true cross country courses are hard to find in Southern California, so I really enjoyed going back to the Midwest for my final race,” Brickson wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “Plus my family drove a long way to come see me run, so that was really special. It was a really great experience and I wish I could have shared it with my team, because everything’s better when my Hen Friends are around.”

Brickson and many of her fellow P-P runners, as well as the CMS women, will be back in action for the track and field season in the spring.

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