WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College women's cross country team begins the 2012 season with thoughts of the NCAA Division III Championships in their heads.
Colby, led by 28th-year head coach Deb Aitken, has a nice mix of veteran runners and newcomers to begin the season Saturday at home against Bates College at 11 a.m. in a class relay meet.
The end of the season, though, has the most important meets when the Mules compete in the Maine State Championships, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championships, and the NCAA New England Region Qualifier. Colby won the Maine State title for the 12th time overall and the seventh time in the last eight years in 2011.
Senior co-captains Berol Dewdney (Chester, Vt.) and Morgan Lingar (Danville, N.H.) will be the leaders for Aitken. Dewdney earned All-New England and All-NESCAC honors, finishing sixth in the league meet and 31st at the region championships. Lingar has a chance to be a runner in the top seven for the Mules.
Eva Lauer (Wellesley, Mass.) also earned All-New England honors by leading the Mules with a 26th at the regional meet. She also took fifth and was named to the all-state team with Dewdney and added a 29th at the conference meet.
Claire Dunn (Middletown, Conn.), Layne Schwab (South Burlington, Vt.), Kate Connolly (Needham, Mass.), Claire Cannon (San Francisco, Calif.), Emily Harper (University Place, Wash.), and Sophie Weaver (Hillsboro, Pa.) all saw time in the top seven a year ago. Schwab was ninth at the Maine meet and took 46th at the conference race, while Dunn was second among Colby runners in taking 27th at the NESCAC meet and was 10th at the state championships.
Senior Brittany Colford (Epping, N.H.) came back to Colby in fine form and could break into the top seven. Emily Arsenault (Branford, Conn.), Maggie Parrish (Falmouth, Maine), Elizabeth Quinby (Irvine, Calif.), and Anna Doyle (Winthrop, Maine) also return for the Mules.
First-year runners Alanna McDonough (Andover, Mass.) and Lydia Vieraitis (Los Altos, Calif.) both could be among the top seven runners for Colby. Laurel Whitney (Waterbury, Vt.), Hallie Jester (Chevy Chase, Md.), Mackenzie Hitchcock (Lanesboro, Mass.), Laura Nolan (Williamstown, Mass.), Shannon Oleynik (Derwood, Md.), and Emma Wood (Harpswell, Maine) are other promising newcomers.