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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s runners wrap up hot XC season

<st press the women’s cross-country team was coming off their MIAC Championships victory, preparing to enter the fray at the Central Region Championships. The Knights ran their races competitively, knowing that each point would count. At the end of the race though, the cries of Nebraska Wesleyan’s supporters indicated that the Prairie Wolves had won the meet, although the Knights still hoped for an automatic bid to the national championships.

As it turns out, however, the excitement of the Prairie Wolves was either premature or misinterpreted by Carleton’s runners. Carleton had edged Nebraska Wesleyan, 95-99 to capture the first Central Region Championship title in school history!

Simone Childs-Walker ’12 and Laura Roach ’10 placed 4th and 5th respectively to lead the Knights. Taylor Ffitch ’12 managed to squeeze in before Nebraska Wesleyan’s 2nd runner and Smyth ’12 came in just behind the Prairie Wolves’ 3rd. Irene Koplinka-Loehr ’10 crossed the finish line leading a large pack of runners, minimizing her score just enough to give the Knights the edge in the team race. Nikki Reich ’10 and Emily Fritz-Endres ’11 rounded out the squad, both running well for their team.

On the first reading day of fall term, the team boarded a plane bound for Cleveland, Ohio and Nationals.

The race is nothing like any other all year and the team benefited from the amount of national meet experience their squad had, with 5 of the 8 team members having run at previous national championships. As usual, Carleton was led by Childs-Walker, who placed 11th in the field, the highest placing sophomore at the meet. She was closely followed by Roach, the 25th placing finisher of the day. These two performances would earn the women All-American honors. Smyth finished next for the Knights despite losing a shoe a mile in to the competition. Ffitch was the team’s 4th runner, followed by strong finishes by Reich and Koplinka-Loehr. Kaitlin Randolph ’12 represented the team’s 7th runner, gaining valuable national meet experience. This collective effort (aided in no small way by having two All-Americans on the team) resulted in an 11th place finish, equaling the highest finish Carleton women’s cross-country has ever had at nationals. The team again edged Nebraska Wesleyan, this time 357-365 to earn the distinction of highest placing Central Region team.

This performance capped a successful postseason campaign for the Knights, highlighting the power of team cohesiveness and determination.

Check back next week for a glimpse at a new set of athletes that will be known at the Carleton 2010 indoor track team.

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