BABSON PARK, Mass.—After recording the lowest point totals at both the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and NCAA regional championships since 2012, the Babson College women's cross country team will look to build upon its success in 2018.
READY, SET, GO
Led by 15th-year head coach Russ Brennen, the Beavers came in eighth at the conference meet and 23rd at the NCAA New England Championships in 2017. Both Babson's league and regional meet finishes were its best since the 2011 campaign. The Green and White returns nine harriers last year's squad, six of which recorded new personal bests in the 6k at the regional meet.
FOLLOW THE LEADERS
Junior Stephanie Rodriguez (Guatemala City, Guatemala) was Babson's top finisher in all seven races last season, which includes placing 24th at the NEWMAC Championship in late October. Senior Chaela Hood (Plymouth, Mass.), who led the Beavers in average time in both 2015 and 2016, set a new 5K PR at the RPI Invitational (19:37) and came in 46th at the conference meet.
Senior Emily MacDonald (East Sandwich, Mass.), who is one of two team captains along with Hood, is set to return after missing all of last season with an injury. She put together a strong 2016 campaign that included cutting 40 seconds off her previous best 5k time and nearly a minute off her top 6k time.
ROOKIES NO MORE
Babson's six-member sophomore class was a key factor in the program's improved results last season, and will be counted on this fall after gaining experience in 2017. Camille Lewis (Cheshire, Conn.) set a new personal best time in the 5K at the NEWMAC Championship, and the trio of Emma Cavanaugh (Southbury, Conn.), Grace Regan (Kingston, N.Y.) and Caroline Winicki (Middlebury, Conn.) were separated by just 16 seconds and eight places at the league meet. Classmate Kelley Burtch (Norwell, Mass.) competed in six of seven meets and had her best time of the year at the RPI Invitational, while Julia Lawlor (Duxbury, Mass.) recorded her best time of the season at the conference championship.
YOUTH MOVEMENT CONTINUES
For the second year in a row, Brennen has seven first-year runners in the program meaning 14 of the Beavers 16 harriers are in either their first or second year with the program.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The Beavers will once again open the year with a dual meet against Wheaton in addition to competing at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational for the 19th time in 21 seasons and the Connecticut College Invitational for the fourth year in a row. Babson will also travel to Bowdoin for the first time since 2011 to take part in the Polar Bears' regular season meet in October and the NCAA New England Championships in early November.