The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) cross country team raced to victory on Saturday, Oct.14, with both the men’s and women’s teams capturing first place in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational. This was the Stags' third win in six meets so far in this season. The Athenas, who have also competed in six meets, claimed their fifth victory.
With 56 points, the Stags finished six points clear of P-P, their closest competitor. This reverses P-P's winning trend thus far in the 2017 cross country season's Sixth-Street rivalry – before Saturday, P-P had beat CMS in both of the two competitions the teams had raced in together.
However, P-P and another of the Stags' SCIAC competitors, the Occidental Tigers, were shorthanded over the weekend. Both split their teams to compete in the pre-national meet in Illinois on Saturday, where the Sagehens took third and the Tigers took thirteenth. The other half stayed home to run in the Invitational.
Of the Stags, Thomas D’Anieri CM ‘20 was the first to cross the finish line, completing the 8K race in 25:34.59 and placing fifth overall in the meet. The Stags added three more runners in the final top 20. Kevin Huang HM ‘18 finished in eighth with a time of 25:55.07, just three spots ahead of Ben Iten HM '17, who came in eleventh place, and Kyle Suver HM ‘18, who came in twentieth. A total of ten Stags finished in the top 40 in the Invitational, which supported 137 runners total.
The Stags' first-place finish reflects the team's constant desire to improve, which has been present since pre-season and built them up to Saturday's victory, according to head coach John Goldhammer.
“Even though the Stags are not quite as strong as they were last year, the feeling of a positive experience has been very evident,” Goldhammer wrote in an email to TSL.
Joining the Stags in victory were the Athenas, who finished a whopping 66 points ahead of the next best team, with second place Pomona-Pitzer totaling 99 points. “The women just have to show up, [and] if the bus doesn’t break down we should be able to win the meet,” Goldhammer wrote of the CMS women's cross country squad. “This is a very strong and deep team.”
Six of the first 12 runners to cross the finish line were Athenas. Bryn McKillop SC ‘18 won her fifth race thus far this season, finishing the 6K race more than 15 seconds before second-place Lauren Hamilton PO '20, who completed the course at 21:41.17. Malea Martin CM '19, Abigale Johnson SC ‘21, and Roselyn Cantu SC '18 joined McKillop in the top ten, with Ellen Berkley CM ‘18 topping off the performance in 11th with a time of 22:41.40.
The Athenas continued to put together an impressive streak of performances, with the race marking McKillop's third straight individual win and fifth altogether, and the team’s third consecutive victory and fifth win overall. The Stags had only taken one victory in their past four meets, though they had won two in total, leading them to the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
But as the teams head to the SCIAC Championships and, later, to the national competition in St. Louis, Missouri, Goldhammer had only positive things to say. “Both teams have been racing and training well,” he wrote.
Both the men’s and women’s CMS teams will take a week off before suiting up for the SCIAC championships on Oct. 28 in Chino.