In the SCIAC Multi-Duals race Oct.17, both Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross country teams faced off against all their conference foes for the first time this season in a battle for SCIAC supremacy. Thanks to an impressive performance from the team’s top runners, the Athenas captured first place in the women’s race, while the Stags came in second.
It was a total team effort from the Athenas, as seven runners finished in the top 12 spots in the race. This impressive depth helped CMS cruise to an easy victory and set them on the path to capturing their sixth straight SCIAC championship. Bridget Blum CM ’16 continued her dominant performance this season by coming in third in the entire race with a time of 21:52.34. Jen Lehr SC ’17 came in right behind her in fourth with a time of 22:07.45.
Perhaps the standout performance of the race though came from Roselyn Cantu CM ’18, who ran the best race of her college career, coming in fifth with a time of 22.19.92. The race was especially rewarding for Cantu after battling to overcome injuries earlier in the year and returning to run in strong form.
“I started the year injured so I didn’t run for a month; I was doing stationary bike because I couldn’t even do the elliptical, so I’m really happy to be back,” Cantu said. “I think having that injury makes you really appreciate running. Even if it’s an eight hard [800-meter sprint] or waking up at six a.m., at least you can run.”
La Mirada Regional Park, the site of the race, is an especially hilly course that required extra exertion to push through the pain.
“You’re either going uphill or downhill, but I like those kinds of races because I power on the uphill and power downhill, so it means you’re just going the whole time,” Cantu commented. “I just kicked in the end. The first mile you just go out with the crowd, but the second mile I slowed down, but I also keep in mind that I need to keep something in reserve, so that I have something to go, and then the momentum takes me.”
Although CMS finished a respectable second place overall out of nine teams, the Stags expect to win every race and set high expectations for themselves.
“Typically this season's key to success has been our depth, when one guy at the front has an off-day we usually have plenty of other people coming in strong behind them. That just wasn't the case last weekend,” Evan Molineux CM ’16 explained.
Three seniors all delivered for the Stags and finished in the top five to provide a boost to CMS’s chances as Zorg Loustalet HM ’16, Molineux and Jack Wilson CM ’16 finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Molineux explained his strategy for attacking the hilly La Mirada course.
“Going into the hills, my mindset was just to hang on and then make up ground going into the downhills,” he said. “There is one really steep hill at the end of the course before going into the finishing loop. I just remember looking at the two guys next to me and thinking that if I can make sure they don't open up too much ground going up the hill, I can pass them going into the finish and I did, which was great. I guess having that speed from track is an advantage I have that not a lot of other people do.”
Next up for CMS is the SCIAC Championships on Oct. 31, in which the Athenas will look to maintain their dominance and the Stags will look to demonstrate what they are truly capable of.
“Going into the SCIAC finals I think we are looking to atone for our mistakes,” Molineux said. “This season we really wanted to make a statement and come out as the best cross-country team in CMS history. I think we had one bad race at multi-duals, but I know our group is still capable of finishing in the top 10 or even top five at the national meet.”