Providence, RI- The Brown University women's cross country team finished in third place in the 19-team field with 89 points overall at the Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday afternoon at Van Cortlandt Park. Leading the way for the Bears was sophomore Margaret Connelly with a 22:07 on the 6k course to place second overall out of the 202 participants in the race. Iona captured the title with 84 points, followed by Penn in second place.
"We went into this meet focused on racing in small groups and with a strategy supported by the training we've done together the last three weeks," said head women's cross country coach Mitchell Baker. "Our intent, then, was to hold back the first two miles and progress in the northern woods loop all the way into the finish. I was overall pleased with our execution and look forward, with the coming weeks of training and races, to pushing the team to close up our gaps by continuing to run in packs."
Right on Connelly's heels was sophomore Heidi Caldwell in third place with a 22:12, and senior Ari Garber ran a solid race with a ninth place time of 22:53. Brown's next finisher was junior Bree Shugarts in 37th place with a 23:45, and close behind was sophomore Kat Grimes with a 23:47 in 38th to round out the Bears' scorers.
"Every team must develop skills and momentum in race situations, and I believe we took a positive step towards those ends," added Baker. "Bri (Rogers) and Taylor (Williams) made solid returns to cross country after missing last fall. They both raced under control and have big ceilings of improvement. Our front three - Margaret (Connelly), Heidi (Caldwell), and Ari (Garber), really gave us a nice punch at the front of the scoring pack. Given how much they've been able to train together this fall, we'll look to tighten up their racing pack to take full advantage of their abilities down the road."
Up next, the Bears will compete at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh on Sept. 30, and then prepare for the New England Championships in Boston on Oct. 8.
"Going towards the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh on September 29th, and the All New England Championships the following week, our focus will be on bringing the last couple of athletes to full-strength after summer injuries, adapting as much as possible from these early races and pushing our ability to stay in packs at increasingly higher levels of training," said Baker. "These early practice sessions and races indicate we can accomplish those goals."
For complete results click here!
Photo of Ari Garber by Dan Grossman/MapleLeafPhotos.com