Cross Country Looks To Build On Momentum After Recent Conference Success


Courtesy of GoYeo

College fourth-year on the cross country and track and field team Anna Scott competes in a meet.

The Oberlin cross country and track and field team placed fifth at the North Coast Athletic Conference on Oct. 30, despite predictions they would place sixth. The women’s cross country has a long legacy of success, with six straight NCAC titles and nine overall (2006, 2009-14, 2018-19) and six consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championship meets (2009-2014) and nine overall (2017-2019). Most recently, the team achieved first place in the 2019 NCAC Championships, placing 11th nationally. 

The unanticipated fifth-place standing, led by powerhouses in both the men’s and women’s races has reinvigorated both teams as indoor track season quickly approaches. The women’s cross country and track and field team has historically done extremely well in both indoor and outdoor track seasons with 3 NCAC Indoor and Outdoor titles in 2016-17, 2017-2018 and 2018-19 seasons.

For many of the runners on both teams, this was their first real season of competition since the pandemic began. Third-year on the cross country and track and field team Ross D’Orfani earned 15th-place finish in the 8-kilometer event and an NCAC Honorable Mention. Reflecting on the season thus far, he thinks that it’s been a confidence boost especially after not competing for so long. 

“This season has been, most importantly, a mental gain,” D’Orfani said. “It was my first competition since the pandemic began, and I was worried that the break from racing would hurt me. But now I’ve seen that’s not the case, which is a great confidence boost. I’m hyped to keep racing in the winter.”

Fourth-year Anna Scott shares D’Orfani’s sentiments of looking forward to the rest of the season and doing the best they can in their last year as a collegiate athlete. They had an incredible meet, finishing ninth out of 89 runners at this meet and earning Second Team All-Conference Honors alongside fourth-year captain Phoebe von Conta. 

“I’m really proud of myself for placing ninth in the conference,” they said. “I have had my head down since I stepped back on campus in January, eyes set on doing the best that I have ever done in this sport. I’m more excited than ever to compete with my team at regionals, as things are looking up after so many months of not being able to compete. I’m just so grateful to be here.”

Scott attributes the overall success of the teams to the talented first-years on the team with five first-years on the men’s team and five first-years on the women’s team competing on the conference team this year, with two in the top seven set to race at regionals in Indiana.

“This season has definitely been different,” Scott said. “We’ve had a bit of restructuring on the team and our roster is filled with a ton of awesome first-years, so the resulting fifth place was just how it went this year, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

D’Orfani is confident that the underclassmen on the team will only continue to get better.

“We have lots of young runners who are already doing great, and are going to get better,” he said, speaking on his fellow top-50 finishers, first-years Jonah Barber, Walter Moak, and Danny Markey.

Von Conta added that team spirit plays a role in the success of the team because members push each other to be the best that they can be. 

“The successes of the cross country season are tied to the hard work our entire track team does all year,” she said in an email to the Review. “The effort everyone puts in to show up for each other at The [Inter-Regional] Rumble, drive down to our conference and regional meets and cheer for each other, and generally support one another as a collective, is amazing.”

While the team has celebrated this most recent success, second-year on the cross country and track and field team Eliza Medearis recognizes that the hard work is just beginning. 

“I think we are all pretty happy about conferences but there’s definitely still a long way to go,” she wrote in an email to the Review.

Medearis is looking forward to practicing with everyone on the team instead of just her fellow cross country athletes. 

“Hopefully being able to practice with the entire track team instead of just [cross country] will help motivate everyone going forward into the winter season,” she wrote.

Medearis is already looking forward to conference championships. 

“This has been a rebuilding year for us and we lost a lot of numbers due to [COVID-19], among other things,” she wrote. “But hopefully in the upcoming seasons we can build the team and work together to secure that conference championship.”