The Women’s Cross Country team took first place at the CCIW Championship on Saturday. Wheaton runners accounted for five runners in the top six, scoring 17 points. This impressive score is the lowest point total in the history of the CCIW Women’s Cross Country Championship. This was the Wheaton women’s second consecutive domination of the CCIW Championship, a back-to-back conference victory which has not occurred since 2007 and 2008.
The Wheaton women were able to conquer the competition through their strong individual performances. Freshman Hannah Roeske displayed the top performance on Saturday, finishing the 6K race with a time of 22:19. This impressive run earned Roeske the award for CCIW Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year and the CCIW Freshman of the Year. Following close behind in second place, senior Becca Marcotte finished with a time of 22:36. Junior Megan Bailey took third place in 22:36, and senior Ellie Hawthorne finished fifth with a time of 22:45. Junior Erika Johnson put up a time of 22:46 to capture sixth place. Additionally, Head Coach David Walford and the Thunder coaching staff were honored by being named the CCIW Coaching Staff of the Year for the second year in a row.
At the beginning of the season, Walford had marked winning conference as a team goal. Having reached that goal, he said, “I am very pleased with how the season has gone so far; by and large we have maintained health and we able to race well through this point of the season. We didn’t run one of our top runners, but our whole team rose to the challenge to make our team that much stronger.” Bailey added, “Winning is always nice, but as a team we had a lot of improvement in each race, and that was probably the biggest accomplishment this weekend. As a team we work together during races to push one another to run to the best of our abilities, and this weekend it worked to our advantage.”
Bailey was also excited about her individual performance, “I felt great on Saturday; I ran way faster than I realized and ended with a huge PR. It was great running alongside my teammates and working with them throughout the race. We are stronger together! That race was truly a gift from God.” Looking forward, she added, “I hope to continue to improve at each race, to stay mentally strong and remember God is with me every stride of the way.”
As the team moves into the last few weeks of the season, they all hope to continue to stay focused in each race. “I believe the momentum that we have is the joy that we are experiencing in the process. They are enjoying being with each other and racing with each other. They know that they will perform well if they keep focusing on doing their own thing and not worrying about other teams,” Walford told the Record. Bailey agreed with this goal and finished by adding, “Most importantly, our goal is to run for God’s glory and not our own!”
The Women’s Cross Country team will compete at the North Central College Open competition at St. James Farm in Warrenville on Nov. 2 before finishing the season with the regional and hopefully a chance to compete in the national championships.