Last Saturday, both cross country teams traveled to Lafayette College to compete at the Patriot League Championships, arguably the biggest competition of the season. Although the Raiders had to battle tough weather conditions and strong opponents, they came home with an individual Patriot League Championship courtesy of first-year Stacey Marion. The rookie runner ran right into the record books with her amazing first-place time of 20:53 in the 6k race, becoming the first rookie runner to win this coveted meet. Marion, who finished 19 seconds of second-place finisher Cathleen Ford of American, also helped Colgate place third overall behind Navy and Bucknell. The Maroon-News Co-Sports Spotlight of the Week also became Colgate’s first Patriot League Champion in cross country since Betsy Cunningham in 1995. Lastly, Marion finished out her truly incredible day by earning both the Patriot League Runner and Rookie of the Year Awards.
“The plan was definitely for her to go out and win,” women’s Head Coach Laura Nardelli said. “We saw early in the year that she was the most talented runner in the Patriot League. She was just head and shoulders over the competition that day.”
Senior Elizabeth Kennedy, who earned all-Patriot League first-team accolades with a fourth-place finish and a time of 21:28, also performed well for the Raiders. Kennedy’s tough running in the heavy rain helped Colgate place two runners on the all-Patriot League first team for the first time since 1995. Junior Kristen Kiraly and senior Kathryn Marvel also made strong contributions, running together and placing 17th and 18th, respectively. Both runners improved on their personal-bests by 45 seconds and passed key opponents in the finishing stages of the race to break into the top 20. Junior Jessica Kielty was Colgate’s fifth runner to break the tape, placing 27th overall with a time of 22:41.
“The girls ran phenomenal,” Nardelli said. “They really put out a great effort. To place third two years in a row when we graduated such an amazing class of seniors last year is really great.”
Although the men did not place as high as the women, the team reached its goals by finishing in sixth place overall despite having trouble dealing with the heavy rain and slippery conditions. Sophomore Lyle Tolli led the charge for the Raiders, earning all-Patriot League second team honors in his first cross-country season with a time of 26:19 and a 10th-place finish.
“We thought that if Lyle had an amazing race there was a possibility he would place in the top ten,” men’s head coach Art McKinnon said. “He truly had a great performance.”
Sophomore Bryan Kretschmer ran the best race of his season at the Patriot League Championships, placing second for Colgate and 18th overall with a time of 26:49. The Ramsey, New Jersey native also placed 10 spots higher than he did in last year’s Patriot League Championships, which were held at Colgate.
“Under those conditions for Bryan to finish top 20 was really outstanding,” McKinnon said. “It was a great display of body and mind. He decided he wanted to do well and he did.”
Juniors Emmett Weatherford (42nd place) and Tim Drucker (57th place) also ran tough despite the awful conditions, running times of 27:40 and 28:17 respectively. First-year Ed Sheridan (61st place) rounded out the top five with a time of 28:25, leading a group of rookies that had a difficult time all day settling into the race and getting comfortable.
“Our freshmen all had a rough day,” McKinnon said. “We had one drop out near the end of the race, and another finish but end up being so dehydrated that he had to be checked into a hospital after the race. The order of our runners was, as it has been all season, unexpected.”
Both teams will take a week off before competing in the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship on November 10th.