Rumble-Champion Yeowomen Look to Dominate


Erik Andrews

Senior Sarah Urso races alongside competition at the Oct. 14 Rumble. The Yeomen and Yeowomen are preparing to host the NCAC Conference Championship meet tomorrow at 11 a.m.

The cross country teams hope to sustain their success as they prepare to host the North Coast Athletic Conference championship meet tomorrow, after hosting and performing well at the Inter-Regional Rumble Oct. 14. Looking forward after the Rumble, in which three Yeowomen notched career-best times and the team finished first, the women’s team aims to hoist a conference championship and qualify for the NCAA meet for the first time since 2014.

The Yeomen and Yeowomen both viewed the Rumble as a key conference warm-up, according to senior Owen Mittenthal.

“We saw the Rumble as the perfect opportunity to rehearse everything we’ve been working on one last time before conference,” Mittenthal wrote in an email to the Review.

“That meant not being afraid of a fast early pace, hanging tough during the middle segments, and using our familiarity with the course to help us finish strong. It was great for us to get this racing experience on the conference course.”

The strongest finish of the day came from Yeowoman junior Linnea Halsten. Halsten finished first in a crop of 240 runners, edging the rest of the 6K competition by a significant 1 minute, 7 second margin and running a career-best time of 21:05.3. Halsten is undefeated this season, having finished first in each of the three races in which she’s competed. Each of those first-place finishes have earned Halsten NCAC Runner of the Week honors.

Halsten’s performance helped the women’s team assert its NCAC dominance. Oberlin had fallen behind Kenyon College in the regional rankings following the All-Ohio Championships on Sept. 29 — a meet in which Halsten was unable to compete. But Oberlin’s first place finish in the Rumble, besting conference rivals Kenyon, ranked No. 28 nationally, and Allegheny College, left all of the Oberlin runners ecstatic.

“For me, the highlight was watching the women’s team win,” Mittenthal said. “Seeing them beat Kenyon handily and reestablish themselves as the conference favorites and a team to look out for at nationals was really awesome.”

Halsten wasn’t the only Yeowoman to post a top performance at the Rumble. Sophomore Marija Crook cracked the top 10, finishing ninth with a time of 22:37.1. Just behind Crook was senior Sarah Urso, whose time of 22:47.7 earned her 13th place.

What made Oberlin’s success even sweeter was the size of the home crowd.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” junior Grant Sheely said. “So many [runners’] family members showed up and [so did] a bunch of alumni, so even though the meet took place over fall break, the Oberlin fan base was still huge. We love hosting the Rumble each year, and this year was no different.”

Despite having a depleted roster, Mittenthal said the Yeomen’s performance in the Rumble was highlighted by strong performances from underclassmen. Sophomore David Brubacher and first-year Archie Velazquez were two of the top Oberlin finishers, finishing 40th and 132nd, respectively. In between Brubacher and Velazquez was Mittenthal in 73rd place. Sheely finished in 141st place.

“It’s really been a pleasure watching the men’s team grow as a unit over the course of the season,” Mittenthal said. “Early on, we were worried about having a much smaller team than in the past, and we weren’t sure who was going to step up. However, we’ve seen two first-years in Garrett Robins and Archie Velazquez emerge to become scoring runners for us, and guys like Dave Brubacher and Jackson Daugherty have taken big steps forward in their second years.”

Tomorrow, the Yeomen will look to surprise the competition as the Yeowomen hope to duplicate past successes.

The women’s team earned six consecutive NCAC titles from 2009–2014, making six appearances in a row at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship meets. Oberlin finished a program-best seventh in the nation in 2014, and Head Coach Ray Appenheimer said that success continues to instill confidence in the team.

“I do think we have a winning culture on this team,” Appenheimer said. “An expectation that, if we are all at our best, incredible things are in store.”