MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan women's cross country team starts the postseason portion of its schedule when the Cardinals compete in the 2018 NESCAC Championships on Saturday, October 27th. Tufts is hosting for the first time since 2002, as the meet with take place at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. The women's 6k race will begin at 10:00 a.m.
The women's team is seeking its first NESCAC title since 1984 and has placed 7th overall the past two years. The Cardinals are coming off of a stellar performance at the Inter-Regional Border Battle on October 13th. Out of the 39 teams that competed, then-ranked 33rd Wesleyan bested five nationally ranked squads, falling only to No. 1 Johns Hopkins and No. 3 SUNY Geneseo. Following their performance, the Cardinals head into this race ranked 15th in the country.
Wesleyan has been led by the duo of senior Julia Mitchell and sophomore Becky Lopez-Anido this year. Mitchell opened the 2018 season by winning the Little Three individual race with a time of 15:33.9 to help the Cardinals claim second overall in the team standings. The following week, Lopez-Anido was the first Wesleyan runner across the finish line at the Paul Short Invitational Brown Division race, recording a time of 22:31.0. The duo finished back-to-back at the Inter-Regional Border Battle race at Rowan. Lopez-Anido was 16th (21:59.1), while Mitchell followed in 17th place (21:59.7), leading the Cardinals to a third-place finish.
Junior Sara Pinsonault and senior Rhoen Fiutak have trailed closely behind the duo, trading third and fourth place spots on the team. During the Little Three Invitational, Fiutak and Pinsonault raced to seventh and eighth place finishes respectively, crossing the line just one second apart. During the Paul Short Run, Pinsonault finished in 23:05 with Fiutak crossing the line in 23:22, while at the Inter-Regional Border Battle, Pinsonault was just 13 seconds behind Mitchell (22:12) and Fiutak just 10 second behind her (22:22). Sophomore Emma Trapani has been the fifth and final scorer all season for the Cardinals, completing each course no more than 30 seconds behind the Fiutak-Pinsonault duo. Trapani will look to have another strong performance this week, as she placed in the top-50 at last year's NESCAC Championship as a first-year runner.
Despite the top five finishers from last year's race having all graduated, seven of the 14 All-NESCAC honorees, including 2017 NESCAC Champion Abigail Nadler from Middlebury, will be returning to the field. The team will face fierce competition as it races against four other nationally ranked teams - No. 5 Middlebury, No. 7 Tufts, No. 13 Williams and No. 26 Bates.