Women’s cross country added another victory to its already lengthy list of accomplishments, finishing first in the All-Ohio Championship hosted at Cedarville University on Friday, Sept. 30. The team conquered powerhouses Case Western Reserve University, who edged out the Yeowomen last season, and Ohio Northern University to secure the number-one slot in the Division III category with 64 points.
“We knew it was going to be a close competition between Ohio Northern and Case Western,” said Head Coach Ray Appenheimer. “They were ranked ahead of us regionally and nationally, but I felt as though we could beat them.”
Senior captain Nina Cole added, “I was so excited […] because this is the first time we have won the All-Ohio Championship. Four years ago, winning All-Ohio wasn’t a question, it just wasn’t going to happen. It means a lot for how we could do later on in the season.”
A large part of the team’s success this year has been thanks to a core of young talent. Sophomore lead runner Molly Martorella finished third at 18 minutes and 43.34 seconds, with first-year Carey Lyons following in sixth place at 18:56.73. Sophomore Margaret Lindman took 11th place, and first-years Emma Lehmann and Lindsay Neal took 18th and 26th, respectively. Juniors Caroline Martin, at 30th place, and Kristina Witcher, at 33rd, rounded out the Yeowomen’s win.
While Oberlin’s top five finishers in the All-Ohio Championship were underclassmen, the team’s upperclassmen played an equally influential role in the victory. Appenheimer lauded the leading role the junior and senior team members have played, saying “I was surprised that we only had one runner in our scoring top five who was in our top five last year, but every day those underclassmen are pushed and challenged by the upperclassmen. Each one wants to do the best for themselves but also for the team.”
The triumph propelled the Yeowomen up ten spots in the national rankings, placing them at 21st in the nation. “It’s a great honor,” Appenheimer said, “but you don’t peak for a meet on Sept. 30. Ultimately what matters is what’s coming up. No one remembers how well you run in September, they remember how well you run in October and November.”
After checking in at first place at the All-Ohio Championship ], the Yeowomen have set themselves up for success in their upcoming meets. Cole affirmed, “That was our first real preview, and that made me really confident in what we’re able to do.”
The success of the women’s cross country team is often overshadowed by the sport’s inherent lack of fanfare. “Runners oftentimes toil in isolation,” Appenheimer said. “There are no goals scored […] knowing that they’re out there not only for themselves but for their team and their college makes that pain more bearable.”
Oberlin students will have a chance to support the Yeowomen when they host the Inter-Regional Rumble on Oct. 15. The event, which begins at 11 a.m. on North Fields, will include a bevy of North Coast Athletic Conference competitors such Allegheny College and Denison University.