The women’s and men’s cross country teams traveled to Amherst, Mass. to compete in the NESCAC Championships on Oct. 28, finishing third and fourth, respectively.
The 25th-ranked women’s team ran a six-kilometer race and snagged a top-three finish overall behind Williams and Amherst. Audrey MacLean ’27 was runner-up in the race and the first Middlebury runner to cross the finish line. Bea Parr ’25 followed her, finishing fourth with a new personal best. Kate Ratcliffe ’25, Tatum Peskin ’24 and Victoria Fawcett ’26 also scored for the Panthers.
The 20th-ranked men’s team competed in an eight-kilometer race and placed fourth behind the reigning champion Williams College, as well as Amherst College and Tufts University. Alec Gironda ’24 was the first finisher for the Panthers, crossing the line in fourth place. Ziggy Goddard ’25 clocked in at 12th after climbing five spots over the last stretch of the race. Drew Donahue ’25, Benjamin Hughes ’27 and Peter Burke ’24 rounded out Middlebury’s scorers.
Peskin and Gironda, both captains of their respective teams, noted that the unusually hot day with temperatures over 70ºF added an extra challenge to the course.
“It was a serious cross country day, between the heat, it was a really hilly course, [and] it was kind of muddy. It was gritty, but that’s part of the fun of it,” Gironda said. “We put it all out there, given the hard day, and I was really happy with how we handled it. Days like that are always tough.”
Peskin, who finished the day in 31st place, said that the strength and depth of the team contributed to their results, especially amidst the difficult race conditions.
“This is definitely the deepest our team has been in a super long time,” Peskin said. “So it’s really nice knowing we had a pack of literally fifteen girls who could be scoring. We just wanted to see what we could do.”
Peskin also enjoyed the high energy of the championship meet, created in part by the crowd of track teammates, alums and family members that came to the meet to cheer.
“Literally at every portion of the course, there was some Middlebury person cheering for us, which was super helpful and super high energy, which was fun,” she added.
For Gironda, the race offered an exciting opportunity to run against long-time competitors again.
“NESCAC energy is always great. Everyone knows each other, even on different teams,” Gironda said. “Being able to finish up with the guys I’ve run with for four years was a nice bow on my time here. We were all very chummy afterward.”
Both Peskin and Gironda eagerly anticipate having another crack against rivals like Amherst and Williams while wrapping up a fulfilling cross country season. The women’s and men’s teams are headed to NCAA MidEast Regional Championships on Nov. 11 at Westfield State University in Westfield, Mass., where they will compete to secure a spot at the NCAA Championships at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. the following weekend.
“This has probably been my favorite season ever,” Gironda said. “Just the energy on the team and camaraderie. Guys are just in such good spirits, and we’re having so much fun and, at the same time, competing at such a high level.”
Charlie Keohane ’24 (she/her) is an Editor at Large. She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.
She is an environmental writing major and a psychology minor from Northern California. Outside of academics, Charlie is a Senior Admissions Fellow at the Middlebury Admissions Office. She also is involved with the women’s track team and hosts Witching Hour, a radio show on 91.1 WRMC. In Spring 2023, she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching Greta Gerwig movies, polar plunging, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.