Cross Country Teams FINiSH Strong

By JORDAN HOWELL

The women’s and men’s cross country teams capped off their seasons at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18, hosted by Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. In fields of 32, both teams finished in the top half of the competition. The women’s team finished 11th with a score of 400 points, and the men’s team 15th with a score of 416.

The top three teams in the women’s championship were new national champion, Johns Hopkins, with 96 points, Wisconsin–Eau Claire with 191 points, and Washington University with 202.

Abigail Nadler ’19 led Middlebury with a time of 21:00.9, only 21 seconds off the pace set by the top finisher. Nadler’s time earned her a seventh-place finish in a race of 279 runners, as well as All-American honors for the third straight season.

Rory Kelly ’19 crossed the line in 22:09.3 and Katherine MacCary ’19 came in at 22:20.7. Meg Wilson ’20 and Read Allen ’18 rounded out Middlebury’s scoring with respective times of 22:47.9 and 22:50.

On the men’s side, North Central were crowned the new national champs as they finished with a team score of 57. North Central was followed by Wisconsin-LaCrosse which recorded 196 points, and Christopher Newport with a score of 221.

Ascencion Aispuro ’18 led Middlebury by crossing the finish line in 32nd-place out of 279 runners with a time of 24:54.26. Aispuro earned All-American honors for his finish.

“Earning All-American was a perfect way to go out as a senior,” said Aispuro. “Coming from an immigrant family, this honor means a lot for my family and me. I am a first generation college student and first generation American so reaching an honor this high makes my parents’ sacrifices beyond worth it. It’s a great payoff for countless miles, hill repeats, and hours in the gym.”

Next up for Middlebury were Matt D’Aquila ’21 and Theo Henderson ’20 who finished with respective times of 25:26.91 and 25:45.33. Then came Harrison Knowlton ’19 with a time of 25:47.48. Knowlton was followed by the team’s last scorer, Miles Meijer ’19 who finished in 25:49.55.

“Everyone on the team did very well,” Aispuro said. “We’ve been progressing all season and nationals was a good cap to it all. Everyone stepped up, especially with an alternate change with less than an hour to go to start time. The women went hard, literally bleeding through the race after a spiking incident. Everyone was in a good mood and we were all happy to end the season improving our position from last year’s result.”

However, Aispuro also showed how the team is making sure to look ahead and stay motivated.

“Overall we did very well, there is always room for improvement. We simply can’t be content,” said Aispuro. “The first-years on the team are very energetic and I hope they keep that up for their entire careers. We’re a young team so our future really depends on them.”

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Cross Country Teams FINiSH Strong