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Women's Cross-Country—2011-12 Season Overview
2011 Season Outook
The Colby College women's cross country team will begin the 2011 season ranked 18th in the NCAA Division III national poll and the squad is fifth in the strong New England Region.
The Mules, under 27th-year head coach Deb Aitken, return a strong group of runners. Senior Robyn St. Laurent and junior Berol Dewdney will lead Colby as co-captains. Colby opens the season this Saturday at the Class Relay Meet at Pineland Farms (Bates College host).
Colby is one of five teams from the New England Region in the top 18 in the country. Middlebury, the defending national champions, are top-ranked to begin the season. Williams is ranked second, MIT fourth, and Amherst ranks seventh. The Mules took fifth at the NCAA New England Region meet a year ago.
"I'm certainly pleased with what our runners have done to prepare for the season," Aitken said. "Our goal will be to qualify our team for nationals. That's always a challenge, but one we will take on with a vengeance."
The Mules return five of their top seven runners from a year ago. Dewdney earned All-New England honors last year after finishing 32nd at the NCAA New England Region meet. She also was second at the Maine State meet and took 23rd at the NESCAC Championships. While Dewdney could be the Mules' top runner this year, junior Layne Schwab will challenge her for that spot. She was 41st at the New England Region meet and took fifth at the Maine State meet. Junior Claire Dunn, sophomore Kate Connolly, and sophomore Allison Rigby also return from Colby's top seven. Dunn took 36th at the NESCAC meet and finished 10th at states, while Connolly was ninth at the state meet and 49th at the conference meet in her first year. Rigby was right behind Dunn and Connolly in 11th place at the Maine meet.
Morgan Lingar, who was injured during the outdoor track season, is healthy after taking 25th at the state meet a year ago. Claire Cannon, who was 19th at the Maine meet a year ago, also returns and could push for a top--seven spot.
Aitken expects first-year runners Eva Lauer and Michaela Swiatek to be in the mix as well for a top-seven position. St. Laurent, Sylvia Doyle, and Abby Cheruiyot are three seniors looking for spots in the top 15. Meanwhile, juniors Ginny Keesler, Laura Duff, and Brittany Colford are battling for positions. Sophomores Sophie Weaver, Maeve McGovern, and Brittany Colford all return from a year ago. Besides Lauer and Swiatek, the Mules welcome Kylie VanBuren, Maggie Parrish, Emily Harper, and Ellie Quinby to the team. All four first-year runners should battle for spots in the top 15.
2010 Season Outlook
Colby won the Maine State title for the 10th time in program history and the fifth time in the past seven years last year on the Mules' home course. Colby also finished in seventh place in the NCAA New England Regional and sent two seniors to the NCAA meet.
Deb Aitken, back for her 26th year at Colby, will once again try to field one of the top Division III teams in New England. Emma Linhard '11, a co-captain, placed second at the State of Maine meet last year and is a four-time track and field All-American. Debbie Merzbach '11 is the other captain for the Mules.
Greta Wells '11 took third place at the state meet and fellow senior Nora McCall also had some solid finishes. First-year runners Layne Schwab and Berol Dewdney each stepped up in their debuts at Colby. Schwab was 15th at the state meet and Dewdney was right behind in 16th.