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Monday, May 29, 2023

Women's Cross Country Makes it a Four-Peat at NESCACs

Author: Mike Kirkland and Mike Mazzotta Staff Writers

On Saturday, the men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Bowdoin to race in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championships. The women won the annual race for the fourth consecutive year while seven of the 12men ran personal records on a cold afternoon in Maine.

Junior crowd-pleaser Michela Adrian led the women's team with a fifth place finish and a stunning time of 17:50. In close pursuit of Adrian were Jess Manzer '05 and Molly Yazwinski '04, finishing sixth and eighth, respectively, with times in the low 18's. Sarah Logan '03, Jess Johnston '02, Kaitlin Gregg '03, and Karin Ericson '04 completed the girls' powerful top seven. Lea Davison '05, who ran a strong race as well, complimented the top seven after the race, "There was strong competition out there today, and it is rewarding to come out on top… our girls ran with heart and character. [Coach] Terry [Aldrich] had the girls well-prepared for today- They earned this win."

The men also ran with heart and character, many of whom cashed in their best performance of the year, thus far. Nine of the 12 Panthers ran personal bests, including sophomore sensation Jakub Benes. When interviewed after the race by a local reporter from the Brunswick Daily Chronicle, Benes was quick to reply, "These guys are awesome, period... Bonus!" Marshall Greene '04 led the team with a strong time and personal best of 27:08. Close behind him was your fan-favorite Mike Mazzotta '03, who also ran a personal best at 27:14.

Both Panthers took off an incredible 45 seconds from their previous personal records. Following Greene and Mazzotta were the "Benes Brothers," Elliot Morgan '05 and Benes , both of whom also ran personal bests. Mike Romankewicz '03, Simon Isaacs '03.5 and Nick Digani '05 finished off the men's top seven. The noteworthy cohesiveness of the men's team has been a spark for these recent performances. Captain Mike Moran '02 attributes his recent improvements to the stirring race of his boys, who have elevated his own performance. "I feel as though I can fly higher than an eagle, for these guys are the wind beneath my wings."

This week's Special Interest Runners are Jess Manzer '05 and Mike "Birdhouse" Romankewicz '03. Manzer finished second for the women on Saturday, turning in her best team performance of the year to date. "Fish" Digani responded to a reporter's question, "No, I was not surprised by Jess' great performance. I've been anticipating Jess' breakthrough moment all season." On the men's side, after two injury-plagued years, the infamous Birdhouse has finally emerged as one of the top male runners. When asked about how it feels to be back in the swing of things, Birdhouse responded, "This just brings me one step closer to living the dream."

Next week, the teams return to Williams to run in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships. The following week, the Panthers will run in the Regionals at Westfield State University, which determines which teams have a shot at running in the National Championship Race in Rock Island, Ill.