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Monday, May 29, 2023

Women's Cross Country Finishes Second in Championships

Author: Michael Kirkland Staff Writer

On Friday, Oct 12, the men's and women's cross country teams were in Boston to compete in the Open New England Championships. In the words of popular Cross Country coach Terry Aldrich, it was a great day to be a Panther. The women let New England know that they intend to defend their Division III national championship as they put together a most impressive performance.

The Middlebury women finished second in the race, behind only Division I powerhouse Providence University, out of a field of some 40 schools from across New England. The men, overcoming injury, illness and other such misfortune, ran courageously, as has been their style all season long.

Junior star Emily Korot ran the 5K course in a blazing 17:50 to finish fifth in the women's race. Fellow Junior Michela Adrian also finished in the top 10 overall, coming in ninth place with an impressive time of 18:07. Finishing off the strong varsity seven were Molly Yazwinski '04, Jess Manzer '05, Kaitlin Gregg '03, Sarah Logan '03, and captain Jess Johnston '02, whom the team is glad to welcome back from injury. The women's second place finish in New Englands ties the record for the best ever finish by Middlebury in the prestigious race. Nick Digani '05 was most impressed by the girls' performance, "The girls came to Boston with something to say, and I think they've said it. I am excited to see how they fare over the final month of the season!" So are we, Fish. So are we.

On the men's side, fan-favorite Mike Mazzotta '03 led the Panthers, running the 8K course in 28:23. Mazzotta became the fourth runner over the first five races to lead the Panthers. Behind him were Marshall "Greenes" Greene '04, Jakub Benes '04, Simon Isaacs '03.5 and Mike "Roamer" Romankiewitc '03 all under 29:00, with Morgan Byrne '05 and Mike Unger '03 close behind them. Perhaps the most notable performance of the day came from co-captain Mike Moran '02.

Mike Moran is one of this week's Special Interest Runners, along with Korot. Her fifth place finish in the race was the second highest finish ever by a Panther in the annual New England Championships, and she did so on her 20th birthday! And as is standard, the men and women enthusiastically sang for her at dinner that night, led by none other than Moran. Moran, whom teammates refer to as Gerxvent, which means "The Great One," ran a strong race, finishing at 30:00, as he inspired many of his teammates by his gritty performance. Moran, or Soft E ,was all smiles as he told a reporter, "I can't say enough about our captains. We've dedicated this season to our handicapped leader Marshall Boyd '02 and ever since we've been riding on the shoulders of his co-captain Mike Moran, our fearless leader." Moran contributed to the moment, saying, "When injured Captain Boyd showed up at practice on Tuesday, he was so excited to congratulate us on our efforts in Boston that I thought he was going to throw his crutches in the air."

This weekend, the men and women will travel to Bowdoin to race in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship.