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XC outshines opponents at NCAC Championships

Matt Olszewski

Staff Writer

The College of Wooster men’s and women’s cross country teams put together strong showings at the NCAC Championships at Liberty Park in Powell, Ohio last Saturday, Oct. 27.

The men placed third and the women fifth. Notable is the fact that the women had not finished fifth or better since 2009 and the men had not placed third or better overall since 2013.

The men totaled 99 points, 19 points behind Allegheny College and 37 back from the first place Tigers of DePauw University.

David Westcott ’19 — who turned in an All-NCAC First Team performance — led the men’s team and crossed the line in 25:53.8 through eight kilometers, good for a fourth place overall finish. That was the highest finish for a male Wooster cross country runner in the conference meet since 2004. Westcott was asked about what he was happy with regarding the meet.

“I was certainly happy with being one of the All-Conference runners, but I think I need to focus more throughout the race on the next group ahead of me and honing in on important elements in order to achieve my goals,” said Westcott.

Fellow teammate Brian Lief ’19 also claimed All-NCAC honors. He finished 16th overall in a time of 26:50.9. When asked about the team’s performance at the meet, Lief talked about the team’s confidence. “Even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped we would do, we are confident in our team and ourselves and we hope to run well the next few weeks to finish off the season.” 

He also made sure to talk about the impact Coach Dennis Rice had on the team in terms of preparing for big meets like this one. “He’s done a great job with making sure we keep our heads in it knowing the importance of the meets, while also calming us down if we get a little too excited,” said Lief.

Not too far behind Lief were Aedan Pettit ’20 and Simon Weyer ’19 who finished in 23rd and 24th  place, respectively. Pettit crossed the line at 27:18.3 and Weyer finished at 27:18.4. The final scorer for the men’s team was Jackson Feinknopf ’19 who finished in 27:33.9, placing him 32nd overall.

The women’s team finished fifth overall with 132 points and was four points away from finishing in fourth place. Isabelle Hoover ’22 certainly impressed and earned All-NCAC Second Team honors for her 14th place overall finish in a time of 23:36.1 on the six kilometer course. She ran the second fastest time out of all first-years in the conference — only behind DePauw’s Jenny Noll. Wooster’s women also had another All-NCAC runner —Emani Kelley ’19. She earned an honorable mention after her 17th place overall finish in a time of 23:51.9. When Kelley was asked about her favorite thing that happened at the meet on Saturday, she said, “I loved having the support from my teammates who were not racing. Their energy was infectious and motivating. And personally, earning All-Conference honors my senior year was a testament to how hard I have been working this entire season and was the cherry on top for me!” said Kelley. She also talked about how she is looking forward to the Regionals meet. “It’s my last collegiate cross country race ever and I’m excited to just lay it all out on the course! As a team, we’ll get to show ourselves how hard we’ve been working and hopefully pull out some stellar performances,” said Kelley.

Following behind Hoover and Kelley were Audrey Cordova ’20, Kayla Bertholf ’22 and Marian Overfield ’22.

The team looks forward to their next race as they host the Twilight 5K Challenge on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:00 p.m. 

(Photo by Matt Olszewski)

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