November 5, 2021 | SPORTS | By Ben Hayes-Lemmon | Photo by Anil Jergens
This past weekend, our very own Colorado College cross country team trekked down to Texas to compete in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship. The team flew all the way to Live Oak City, Texas, to square off against several schools. This included a prominent rival of the team, Trinity University. Both the men’s and women’s teams had high expectations heading into the championship.
Throughout the season, the men’s team had formed a dominant force to be reckoned with; they were headed by Josh Fry ’22, who was coming into this race ready to defend his first place finish at SCAC last year.
On the women’s side, newcomer Elliot Singer ’25 has been putting on an unbelievable, record-setting first season. Singer officially passed Allysa Warling ’19 as CC’s all-time fastest first year in the 6k earlier in the season.
So what were the results? Absolutely stunning. The CC men’s team performed unbelievably well, with seven runners finishing in the top eight . Fry took home his second-straight SCAC title; he led the team to the most convincing sweep in CC history.
The team’s score was just 17 points, which is the lowest team point total at a conference championship that Colorado College has ever seen. In addition to these accolades, the men earned eight all-conference awards.
“We were kind of expecting these results at SCAC. Our main focus this season has really been regionals,” said James Settles ’24. Settles placed second overall at the championship with a 25:14 8k.
This sentiment was echoed by Sam Rodriguez ’22 (third overall at the meet with a time of 25:43).
“We’ve been dedicated since the beginning of this year – everyone has been on the same page with our goals since the beginning of the season,” Rodriguez said. “Our head coach, Alex Nichols, also set us up really well; the meet two weeks ago in Illinois gave us the confidence booster that we needed going into SCAC.”
Like Rodriguez said, head coach Alex Nichols was able to prepare both the men and women for the meet with a realistic, consistent mindset. Nichols knew that the women’s team was extremely closely matched with Trinity University, a longtime rival of CC.
Despite Trinity’s best efforts, the women’s team was able to come away with a huge win. Trinity scored 27 points, losing to the Tigers by ten. Singer won both the SCAC Runner of the Year and SCAC Newcomer of the Year by winning the whole meet, with a time of 22:18 for that 6k. Singer also became one of just three total women in conference history to win SCAC as a first year.
“Everybody really had to pull their weight this week,” Singer said following the win. “The win at SCAC was a huge confidence boost that this season wasn’t going to end there.”
A similar mindset could be found in one of the captains of the team and third-place finisher at SCAC, Kendall Acetta ’23.
“This was not an easy win at all. It’s taken everyone this season, and it’s really amazing to see that pay off,” Acetta said. “Cross country teams almost never get recognition, but we all work really hard so it definitely feels amazing to get that recognition.”
The cross-country team culture is evident within each and every member on the team. In running, the fastest people are really just the people who can withstand the most pain for the longest time. It can be difficult to maintain a positive atmosphere, but the team manages.
“Putting in the hard work and pushing yourself for your team is something that really will bond you in a different way,” Settles said. “On a personal level, this sport is ultimately about pushing yourself. The progress is quantifiable, and you can really see yourself improve. The connection that you build running is different, pure and simple.”
Following the win, the cross-country team has their sights set high, hoping to place third at regionals on both the guys side and the girls side.
“We have the highest aspirations for our current team that we’ve had in years,” said Rodriguez.
Both teams are currently ranked third, and if all falls into place, both teams will take third at regionals and get the chance to compete at a national level. This next week, the team will be training hard in preparation for regionals.