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Cross country competes in conference championship

Ian Ricoy

Sports Editor

Both of Wooster’s cross country teams competed in the North Coast Athletic Confer- ence (NCAC) championships this past weekend at Wabash College in Carmel, Ind. Three Scots earned All-Conference honors: Isabelle Hoover ’22, Kayla Bertholf ’22 and Aedan Pettit ’20. Wooster’s women’s team did well, finishing fifth, while the men’s team finished ninth. DePauw won the men’s cross country conference title and Oberlin won the wom- en’s title. Though conference championships are over, both teams now look forward to regional competitions. “We’re confident in our training and are excited to see how well we can do in two weeks at the re- gional meet,” said Hoover.

Hoover and Bertholf both earned All-Conference honors for their top-20 placement in the women’s 6K race. Hoover placed highest out of all the Scots that day, in 10th place with an overall time of 23:01.7, which was just a minute shy of first place. She was placed on the All-Conference sec- ond team. Hoover was proud of her placement but has her sights high on future seasons, saying, “I was pretty happy with my finish, although in the coming years I aim to achieve first team All-Conference and go for that top five Bertholf came in 17th place only 16 seconds behind Hoover with a time of 23:17.8. Last year, Bertholf finished 37th at the conference championships and aimed to drastically improve this year. “My goal for this race was to get in the top 21 and the pack that I knew I needed to be with took off at a really fast pace and I wasn’t really sure if id be able to stay with them the whole race.”she said. Bertholf’s determination paid off, as she shaved almost a minute off her final time from last year and could celebrate with her teammates. “I definitely gave this race my all and it was a fun and inspiring experience to see this pay off and hear my name called and be able to be recognized in front of all of the other NCAC runners with Isabelle,” she said.

On the men’s side, captain Pettit stood out from the rest of the team for his final cham- pionship race. He finished the men’s 8K in 20th place with a time of 27:02.8, 80 seconds behind first place. On receiv- ing All-Conference honors, Pettit said “Achieving an All Conference performance is a satisfying feeling;it’s taken a tremendous amount of effort to get to this point and I am ecstatic to finally have it pay off with an All-Conference award.” Petitt improved his placement by three spots from last year to finally earn all- conference honors, which is no small accomplishment for Petit. With both team performances, it was a take of two teams in different stages. The women’s team finished fifth while the men’s team finished last in ninth. “Overall our performance was a mixed bag; obviously it was disappointing to finish ninth, but we had quite a few big performances throughout the team so overall it was a solid day,” said Pettit. “We knew this would be a rebuilding year after los- ing 10 seniors from last year, including two national qualifiers. Our goal was to maintain the hard-working, positive, and enthusiastic team culture that we have created over the last three years and to that end we’ve been very successful. While we haven’t had quite the success that we hoped to have on the course, being a Fight- ing Scot cross-country runner is about more than just athletic achievement. We have done a great job working as hard or harder than every other team out there and having fun and staying positive while doing it, so I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved this year,” he said.

While the men enter a re- build, the women are exiting one. “We’re a young team with a lot of the top 12 being first years or sophomores. To get fifth overall was really exciting,” said Bertholf. Amirah Yessoufou ’22, Abby Rice ’23 and Kate Larson ’23 all had strong performances, finishing 33rd, 48th and 52nd. The team will aim to improve times for the whole team by sticking closer together in packs for future races. The future is look- ing up for the women’s team’s post-season. “I have high hopes that well keep getting PR’s and improving as a team for our future performances in both the post season and future years,” said Bertholf.

Both teams will head to the regional championship in Grand Rapids, Mich. hosted by Calvin College on Nov. 18. 16 Scot runners will compete.

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