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men’s cross country

The hay is in the barn

in Fall/Men/Sports/Women by

With winter season sports beginning their seasons in the upcoming weeks, a few fall sports have had the opportunity to continue their season at NCAA regionals following success in the Centennial Conference championships. While the women’s volleyball team and the women’s soccer team have received much of the attention for their stellar performances at conference championships, the cross country team has largely flown under the radar. Both the men and women’s cross country teams will be among the teams sending competitors to compete in this event, which will be held on Nov. 11 in Carlisle, PA. As the regular season comes to an end and the championship is fast approaching, the team has been reflecting on what has been accomplished this season and their hopes for a successful postseason.

JJ Zeng ’19 was the top finisher at the conference championships for the women’s team, and placed fourth overall. She commented on how the regular season has prepared her and her team for NCAA Regionals.

The regular season has prepared me mentally and physically for competition – mentally in the sense that I am able to stay positive despite tough races, and physically because of our hard workouts and long runs. As for the team, our meets have encouraged us to work together during races. We also now know who to look out for from our rival schools while racing, so hopefully at Regionals we will know what to expect,” said Zheng.

When asked the same question, William Colgan ‘19, a junior on the men’s team and who fared well at conference championships, also spoke about how the tough workouts and races of regular season helped set him and the team up for a confident and hopefully successful post-season.

The regular season has built confidence and strength. After three 8k races and many workouts, we know what paces we are capable of. At this point in the season, coach Pete (Carroll) says, ‘the hay is in the barn.’ At Regional[s], we just have to trust our training and race,” said Colgan.

The men’s team finished the Centennial Conference Championship meet in fifth place.

Looking ahead towards Regionals this Saturday in Carlisle, PA,  Zheng is optimistic given the team’s historically consistent performance at this meet.

We have consistently placed top 10 at Regionals as a team, so hopefully we will be able to keep that up for this upcoming year!” said Zheng.

When asked about the team’s goals beyond the regular season, William brought up the possibility of some members of the team taking their season even beyond the Regional meet.

“Personally, I don’t have a time goal for Regionals. I just want to run as hard as I can and know I gave everything when I finish. As a team, we are unlikely to qualify for Nationals, but we have sent individuals in the past. Hopefully, someone will have a really good race and qualify this year,” said Colgan.

Launching into the postseason, both the men and women of Garnet cross-country seem to be satisfied with the foundation that their five regular season meets and Conference Championships have given them. They are confident that the “hay is in the barn,” and excited to see how fast their team can race this weekend.


Athlete of the week: Mayank Agrawal ’18

in Athlete of the Week/Fall/Men/Sports by

Mayank Agrawal ’18, hailing from Sugarland, Texas, has contributed immensely to the Swarthmore Men’s Cross Country team throughout his four years with the program. Agrawal finished 24th overall in the Centennial Conference Championships this past Saturday, leading the Garnet to a fifth-place finish. Agrawal’s stellar performances were not limited to the Conference Championships: notable highlights throughout his senior season include a 17th place overall finish at the Bryn Mawr Invitational, and a 21st place finish at the Paul Short White. Agrawal and the team will prepare for their final meet, the NCAA regionals, on Nov. 11.

Ping Promrat: What is your major, and what inspired you to pursue it?

Mayank Agrawal: I am a double major in computer science and philosophy. In high school, math was my thing, but I didn’t think I’d be able to do a full math major, nor have the science chops to do an engineering major. Computer science seemed like a great hybrid of the two, even though I had no computer science background coming into Swarthmore. I became interested in philosophy during my freshman spring after taking Introduction to Philosophy with Professor Thomason. There’s actually a very large overlap between philosophy, and math and computer science, believe it or not.

PP: What do you want to do after you graduate from Swarthmore?

MA: Ideally, I plan on going to graduate school to study cognitive science. I want to better understand how the mind works, while using computational frameworks to try and answer those questions.

PP: How have you balanced the opportunities you’ve been able to pursue outside of the classroom with competing and staying fit for cross country?

MA: There’s no perfect magic formula to it, but I’ve had to figure out how to allocate my time to pursue what’s important to me. Having such a big time commitment for practice in the day forces you to plan efficiently. I actually think participating in a sport has allowed me to be much more efficient and get more work done, because I think I’m much more aware as to how valuable my time is.

PP: As you reflect on your career at Swarthmore, what was the most rewarding athletic experience for you?

MA: During my sophomore spring, I ran the 10k at the Outdoor Conferences. I wasn’t expected to place (the top eight place), and it was my first time running this distance. As the race went on, I kept on picking people off, and I ended up snagging 8th place and placing, which was a complete shock to me. The race was on a Friday night, and most of my teammates who were coming to Conferences weren’t there yet. However, when I got back, I found out that the whole team was watching the livestream in Sharples. To have such a huge athletic achievement, while having teammates watching and cheering me on from afar was one of my most memorable experiences at Swarthmore.

PP: What got you into running as a sport as a child?

MA: One weekend during my sophomore year of high school I was really bored, so I decided to go for a run. It was the most painful experience of my life, but I actually enjoyed it! At the beginning, I couldn’t even run a mile. However, I began to run every weekend, and then every day, and then eventually joined the track team at my high school.

PP: If you could change one thing about Swarthmore, what would it be and why?

MA: I think in regular discourse at Swarthmore, particularly outside the classroom setting, we need to get better at evaluating people on their justification for their views. Sometimes, myself included, we are quick to label people who have different views than us, and I hope that Swatties can continue to aspire to be more open-minded.

Garent Sports Update

in Fall/Men/Sports/Women by

As we wrap up our first month back on campus, our fall Garnet athletes are right in the thick of their competition schedules. A number of teams have events this weekend.

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

Our cross-country teams travel to Bethlehem, Pa., this weekend to compete in Lehigh University’s 44th Annual Paul Short Run. They will be among the 6,000 athletes and 450 colleges and high schools competing in the the nation’s largest intercollegiate cross country meet.

Men’s Golf

Our Men’s Golf team travels to The Bridges Golf Club to compete in McDaniel College’s Mason-Dixon Collegiate Classic this Saturday and Sunday.

Women’s Field Hockey

Our Field Hockey team hosts Franklin and Marshall College at home Saturday at noon. The Garnet will try to keep their momentum from last week’s Penalty Shootout win against McDaniel and hope to improve to .500 in Centennial Conference play.

Women’s Soccer

Our 10th-ranked Women’s Soccer team hosts Franklin and Marshall College at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Garnet will try to rebound from their first loss of the season last Saturday at McDaniel and hope to continue their undefeated record at home this season.

Men’s Soccer

Our Men’s Soccer team hosts Johns Hopkins at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Garnet hope to remain undefeated in Centennial Conference play as they face the undefeated and 11th-ranked Hopkins team.

Men’s Tennis

Our Men’s Tennis team travels to Fredericksburg, Va., to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association regionals this Friday to Sunday. Our Women’s team competed in their ITA regionals last weekend.

Women’s Volleyball

Our Women’s Volleyball team hosts the Swarthmore Quad tournament this Friday through Saturday in our very own Tarble Pavilion. The Garnet will compete Friday at 7 p.m. against Oneonta, Saturday at 10 a.m. against Widener, and Saturday at 4 p.m. against Cabrini. Oneonta, Widener, and Cabrini will also compete against one another in neutral site games at Tarble Pavilion.

Weekend roundup and the week ahead

in Sports by

Volleyball concludes fantastic season

The women’s volleyball team officially concluded their outstanding season with a straight sets victory over Neumann in Saturday’s ECAC third place game. The team was defeated 3-1 earlier in the day by Marymount in the semifinal match.

Despite a somewhat disappointing end of the season for the squad, the team was upset in the Conference tournament and narrowly missed an NCAA Championships bid, Swarthmore’s season was a resounding success. The Garnet finished with a 24-8 overall record, sending seniors Kate Amodei and Chastity Hopkins off on a high note.

Swarthmore was a young team this year and figures to be a dominant force in the Centennial Conference for years to come. They will return all three of their All-Conference selections, Rookie of the Year Sarah Wallace ’18, libero Madison Heppe ’16 and setter Sam DuBois ’16.

Fittingly, Wallace, DuBois and Heppe led the way for the Garnet on the season’s final day. Wallace had 34 digs in the two matches, bringing her season total to an even 450. DuBois turned in double-doubles in both matches, while Heppe tallied 38 digs on the day.

Difficult first weekend for men’s basketball

Second half struggles did in Swarthmore’s men’s basketball team on two occasions last weekend. Both RIT and Bard were able to pull away from Swarthmore in the closing 20 minutes, dropping the Garnet to 0-2 in the young season. RIT won 75-65, while Bard won Sunday’s game 71-62.

Swarthmore has a very young team this year and the weekend featured some promising signs for the program. Underclassmen Chris Bourne ’17 and Matt Brennan ’18 paced the team in both games. Bourne averaged nearly a double-double for the weekend, racking up 16 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game, while Brennan showed promise in the backcourt, leading the team in assists and steals, while also tallying 11.5 points per game. Guard Sam Lebryk ’17 showed marked improvement from last season by scoring 9.5 points per game, roughly doubling last season’s average of 4.8 points per game.

Swarthmore opens Centennial Conference play this week with a couple of interesting tests, as they face the two teams picked to finish immediately ahead of them in the standings. On Saturday, Swarthmore travels to Gettysburg, before hosting Ursinus for its conference home opener Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Kakkar qualifies for NCAA Championships in Cross Country

Sid Kakkar ’17 paced Swarthmore’s cross country team at Saturday’s NCAA Regional meet, finishing with a time of 25:40.9. Kakkar qualified by finishing 19th out of 343 runners at the meet. He will have a chance to compete against the nation’s best on Saturday in Mason, Ohio. Kakkar was named to the All-Mideast Region Team his freshman year and figures to garner similar honors at the conclusion of this season.

Kakkar’s performance highlighted a strong overall showing from both the men’s and women’s teams. The men finished sixth out of 47 teams and were led by Kakkar, Jonas Oppenheimer ’15 and Erick White ’15.

On the women’s side, Swarthmore finished fifth out of 52 teams. The squad was paced by Indy Reid-Shaw ’17, Liz Tawa ’15 and Sarah Nielsen ’16.

The team narrowly missed out on an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, meaning that the focus of many of the runners will shift to training for track and field. Expect Tawa to lead the Garnet in the spring, as the senior will look to build off of a breakout 2014 season in which she was named to the All-Conference First Team in three events.

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