Cross Country Continues to Climb

Ashley Parish

Oberlin’s cross country teams showed last weekend that they could run with some of the best in the nation at the Purple Valley Classic in Williamstown, MA.

The Yeowomen placed sixth in the 16-team meet behind powerhouses Middlebury College — the number-one ranked team in Division III — Williams College, New York University, Plattsburgh State University and Amherst College. In the process, the women’s squad moved up to 31st in the latest national rankings.

The men ran well as well, delivering a solid ninth-place finish.

“We fared really well against some of the best colleges in the country,” said head Coach Ray Appenheimer. “I think that it can be daunting when you’re standing on the line and you’re seeing teams from Williams and Middlebury and NYU. The team really held their own and didn’t defer, didn’t back down.”

The top finisher for the Yeowomen in the 6k race was sophomore Molly Martorella, who continued her great campaign by placing 23rd with a time of 23 minutes, 29 seconds and edging out one of Middlebury’s top runners, Katie Rominger.

First-year Carey Lyons, who was named NCAC Conference Runner of the Week, was not far behind, as the rookie crossed the tape just 10 seconds behind Martorella in 28th place.

“Williams was my first 6k race so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” Lyons said. “I tried my best to not compare myself to runners from the other teams and stay with my teammates.”

Another strong performance came from sophomore Margaret Lindman, who placed 30th with a time of 23:40. The junior duo of Kristina Witcher (38th, 23:54) and Caroline Martin (47th, 24:04) followed. A pair of first-years, Emma Lehmann and Lindsay Neal, rounded out the group with finishes of 41st and 44th, respectively.

On the men’s side, senior Stephen Williams was the first Yeoman to finish the 8 race, placing 43rd at 27:48.03. Following were junior Eric Line placing 62nd, (28:16.40); junior Matt Bernstein, 65th, (28:21:12); and senior Derek Lange, 70th, (28:27:15).

Oberlin’s solid performance at Williams has Appenheimer seeing possible gold at this season’s NCAC Conference Meet in Springfield, Ohio, on Oct. 29.

“On the women’s end, we are the defending [conference] champions twice over and that is something that we don’t want to give up,” Appenheimer said. “Our goal is to win it again, to run well at the regional meet and to make it to nationals.”

Appenheimer also has high hopes for the Yeomen.

“On the men’s end, we have a very competitive conference this year with three nationally ranked teams in Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College and Allegheny College,” Appenheimer said. “We’re very competitive with the teams up front and when our fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh [and] eighth runners start stepping it up in the next weeks, I think that we have a great opportunity to shock them. If they run as we think they can, we’ll also have a good shot at nationals.”

Both teams will compete in the All-Ohio Cross Country Championships in Cedarville, Ohio, on Friday.