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Saturday, Dec 2, 2023

Women's Cross Country Aims for Another Title

Author: Michael Kirkland Staff Writer

On Saturday, the men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Westfield State to race in the NCAA New England Regional Championships. The women won the race of 35 schools, edging conference rivals Williams and Amherst (second and third place, respectively).

The women advanced to the National Championship meet in Rock Island, Ill., this weekend, where they aim to defend their national championship. The men also ran strong; however, they were not able to advance and thus their exciting season has come to an end, as has the glorious career of team favorite Mike Moran '02.

Michela Adrian '03, fearless as always, led the women's team with a stunning time of 17:27 over the 5K course at Westfield, finishing fourth overall in the race. In perhaps the most competitive finish of the season, the top four girls finished within three seconds! Adrian will have another shot at the top two finishers from Williams next week at nationals. Behind Adrian were freshman standout Jess Manzer, Molly Yazwinski '04, Sarah Logan '03, Jess Johnston '02, Kaitlin Gregg '03 and Karin Ericson '04.

About half of the top 45 spots in the race were filled by women from Middlebury, Williams and Amherst, which indicates that this weekend's championship should feature one final round of heated competition amongst New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) powers. Four of the seven girls from last year's championship squad (Adrian, Yazwinski, Johnston and Ericson) will return to nationals this weekend in hopes of a second consecutive title.

On the men's side, it was sophomore sensation Marshall Greene who yet again led the way for the Panthers, running the 8K course in an impressive time of 27:38. The second Panther across the finish line was Simon Isaacs '03.5, who also ran a spectacular race as he recorded a personal best of 27:59. Following Greene and Isaacs were Mike Mazzotta '03, Jakub Benes '04, Mike Romankiewicz '03, Morgan Byrne '05 and Fish Digani '05. The men ended their season on a high note as each of the seven runners ran with passion and fire in an outstanding effort. Congratulations on a fine season, fellas!

This week's Special Interest Runners are the Senior captains, Johnston and Moran. Johnston will run in her last collegiate cross country race this weekend at Nationals. Her warmth and compassion will be missed by both the men and women of the cross country team. Says a somber Benes, "Middlebury Cross Country without Jess Johnston is like Thanksgiving without Grandma … It can go on, but it's just not the same."

Mikey Moran was at Westfield last weekend to cheer on his boys, but he was not racing. Nonetheless, Moran is this week's male Special Interest Runner. Bryce Roche '05 added, "Replacing Mike Moran is like replacing the engine on your car … you can do it, but you hope you never have to." Mazzotta overheard Roche's comment to a reporter and angrily retorted, "We don't want no stinkin' new engine! Nothing and no one can replace Moran! No! No…" Mazzotta was unable to finish as he sobbed into the arms of teammate Karl Silverson. Relax, Mazzotta. The team may look for you to be its new engine next year.

This weekend, in Rock Island, Ill., the girls will race for the chance to become back-to-back national champions. Going for the Women are Adrian, Manzer, Yazwinski, Logan, Captain Johnston, Gregg and Ericson. Congratulations Women on quite an accomplishment.