BABSON PARK, Mass.—Bolstered by the return of four of its top six runners, including standout senior Marina Capalbo (Gainesville, Va.), the Babson College women's cross country team is primed for a successful 2014 campaign.
Capalbo, who is coming off arguably the finest individual season in the history of the program, is the leader of a group that features six letterwinners and five first-year harriers. After coming in third at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship to become the first female to earn back-to-back all-league honors in school history, she also earned her second consecutive All-New England honor and secured Babson's first bid to the NCAA Championship last fall. The program record holder in both the 5k and 6k, Capalbo won two races and came in third on three occasions in eight events in 2013.
Juniors Kelli Halligan (Melrose, Mass.) and April Goya (Oceanside, Calif.) are both coming off strong sophomore campaigns that saw them run their best 5k times of the fall at the NEWMAC Championship in early November. Each also had one top-10 finish a year ago, as Halligan came in third and Goya eighth at the Travis J. Fuller Invitational at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in early September.
Sophomore Jinane Gedeon Achi (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), who competed in the final three events last season, senior Jessica Santiago (Reseda, Calif.), who rejoins the squad after a year off, and sophomore Rebecca Jacobs (Thornhill, Ontario) will all look to have an impact for the Beavers.
Along with a strong core of veterans, 11th-year head coach Russ Brennen has added some solid first-year runners that will look to contribute to the team's success immediately. "This squad has a really bright future," said Brennen. "We've added some valuable depth and speed to the middle of our pack, and I believe we have the ability to make a significant jump in the standings by the end of the season."
The Beavers will open their season at the New England College Mayflower Kickoff for the fourth consecutive season on Friday, August 29. They will also compete at Smith College, the site of this season's NEWMAC Championship, on September 6 and take part in the Williams College Purple Valley Classic, host of the NCAA New England Championship later in the fall.