BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a 2018 campaign that included the team's best finish at the conference meet in seven years, the Babson College women's cross country team is hoping to continue its success this fall.
Under the guidance of 16th-year head coach Russ Brennen, the Beavers return 11 harriers from a team that placed seventh at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship last season. The team finish and point total (197) were the lowest since 2011 for the Green and White, which closed the season with a 24th-place showing at the NCAA New England Championship.
Senior Stephanie Rodriguez (Guatemala City, Guatemala) and junior Emma Cavanaugh (Southbury, Conn.) both crossed the finish line in 20:39 at the 5k conference meet to place 30th and 31st, respectively, last November. Rodriguez led the team in both 5k and 6k average time for the second year in a row, while Cavanaugh improved her 5k average time by over 30 seconds and trimmed more than a minute off her 6k time from 2017 to 2018.
LOOKING TO BUILD ON LAST YEAR'S FINISH
Juniors Camille Lewis (Cheshire, Conn.) and Caroline Winicki (Middlebury, Conn.) both missed the first month of the 2018 season, but each returned to competition by posting two of their top three career 6k times at the end of last year. Lewis also put together a strong performance in her only 5k meet of the season, moving up 15 spots from 2017 to place 59th at the NEWMAC Championship.
LOOKING TO MOVE UP
With the loss of three harriers that competed at the NCAA New England Championship last November, the Beavers feature a group of six returners looking to improve their times and fill the void. Juniors Kelley Burtch (Norwell, Mass.) posted two sub 22-minute 5k times as a first-year in 2017, while sophomore Alida Beste (Burlington, Vt.) was one of the program's top first-year runners last year before getting her campaign cut short prior to the postseason.
CHANGES TO THE SCHEDULE
After opening at Wheaton for the fifth season in a row, the Beavers will compete in meets at Fitchburg State and Western New England for the first time in program history, and at Keene State for the first time since 2010.
The NEWMAC Championships will return to Franklin Park on the first Sunday in November, while the NCAA New England Championships will return to Brunswick, Maine, and the campus of Bowdoin for the second year in a row on November 16.