Cross-country teams stand out in weekend meets

Jen Johnson placed seventh overall. (Jay Gorodetzer of Bryn Mawr Athletics for The Phoenix)
Jen Johnson placed seventh overall. (Jay Gorodetzer of Bryn Mawr Athletics for The Phoenix)

Jacob Phillips ’13 and Jen Johnson ’12 led their teams in individual placement on Saturday as the Swarthmore men’s and women’s cross-country squads competed at the Princeton Invitational and Seven Sisters Championships, respectively.

On the women’s side, Johnson placed seventh with a time of 19:45.21 at the 30th annual Seven Sisters Championships, hosted by Bryn Mawr and played at Haverford College. As a team, the Garnet finished with a total of 86 points, coming in third behind Vassar College (33 points) and Wellesley College (59 points).

“We had some very good individual performances,” Johnson said. “We expected to finish third, so we finished as expected. Wellesley and Vassar are strong teams, very deep. I haven’t competed for about eighteen months, coming off a pretty significant injury. [On Saturday], I learned some things in the race, and hopefully with the sort of decisions I was presented with, I’ll better know how to respond in the future.”

Seniors set the pace for the Garnet on Saturday. The three other top-20 finishes by Swarthmore included Stephanie Beebe ’12 (14th-20:12.43), Melissa Frick ’12 (16th-20:15.40), and Katie Gonzalez ’12 (18th-20:19.58).

Wellesley’s Leah Clement finished first overall with a time of 19:04.46, beating Vassar’s Kelly Holmes (19:04.90) by about half a second. Rounding out the top five were Bryn Mawr’s Claudia Keep (19:10.08), Elizabeth Forbes of Vassar (19:29.99) and Wellesley’s Molly Shanley (19:32.27).

On the men’s side, facing competition that ranged from Division I to Division III and missing top runners Robert Fain ’14 and John McMinn ’13, Phillips’s time of 25 minutes and 19 seconds was good for 19th place overall. Aidan DuMont-McCaffrey’s ’13 finish of 26:24 was good for second on the team and 69th overall.

“Overall, we feel pretty good,” DuMont-McCaffrey said of the team’s attitude on the meet. “We were missing two of our top guys, but we ran pretty well.” Both Fain and McMinn are expected to return for the Conference Championships.

Other Swarthmore finishes out of the 139 total runners were Jonas Oppenheimer ’15 (95th-27:15), Richard Scott ’14 (96th-27:18), Chris Wickham ’12 (105th-27:52), Stuart Russell ‘14 (106th-27:53), Bill King ’13 (111th-28:58) and Alec Toro ’15 (138th-29:43).

“This was a good opportunity for us to run against Division I and Division II teams,” Scott said. “It was a whole new level of competition for the team.”

As the end of the season approaches, the goals the men’s team set at the start of the season have gone unchanged. “Our goals, the entire season, have been to beat Johns Hopkins to come in third place in the conference,” DuMont-McCaffrey said. “Looking forward after the regional championships, our goal has been to qualify for national championships.”

On Friday, the men’s and women’s cross-country team will participate in the Haverford Invitational, scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. “Our focus right now is staying healthy,” head coach Pete Carroll said.

For both teams, it will be the final event leading up to the Centennial Conference Championships on October 29.

“We feel like we are as close to our goals as possible right now,” Scott said. “We’ll give it everything we’ve got.”

Disclaimer: Jen Johnson is a columnist for the Phoenix. She had no role in the writing of this article.

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