Julia Espel Leads MIT At NEWMAC Cross Country Championships

Oct. 30, 2004

Complete Results

By
Steve Vaitones

WATERFORD, Conn. - Led by Julia Espel's strong race, MIT placed third at the NEWMAC Cross Country Championships hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Waterford, Conn. The Engineers' 80 points put them just three points ahead of the host Bears. Wheaton College out-dueled Wellesley for the team championship.

Only two other runners in MIT's cross country annals have bettered Espel's bronze medal placing in the conference championship (Debbie Won and Martha Buckley), as the the co-captain moved up six places in the final mile and made a valiant attempt to run down the second-place finisher. Sophomore Karen Condon returned to action to finish 16th, one place out of All-Conference consideration, and was pushed by the freshmen trio of Kristen Burrell (18th), Erika Erickson (21st), and Gwendolyn Johnson (22nd).

Coming at the end of an injury-filled season, the performance was satisfying for the squad, as it was the first meet that the top five had run in together for the year.

"The team not only met expectations, but exceeded the form chart leading into the meet", noted Coach Paul Slovenski. "And with four of our top six finishers just freshmen, we were the youngest team on the course."

Adding to the team effort, MIT was for first of the ten squads to have their five scoring finishers across the line, had the smallest time gap between first and fifth runner, and showed considerable depth with ten finishers in the among the top 50. After this week's workout schedule, the seven-runner roster will be finalized to compete in the New England Division III championship, and NCAA qualifying race at Twin Brook Park in Cumberland, Maine.