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Women’s Cross Country 2017 Season Preview

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University women's cross country team has compiled a rich history under 18th-year head coach John Crooke, and expectations remain high heading into the 2017 campaign.

The Cardinals, who finished 10th out of 59 teams at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship last fall, will open their season at the Wesleyan Invitational on Friday in Middletown, Conn.

The squad has qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship three times during Crooke's watch, most recently grabbing a 14th-place nod in 2009. Crooke is thrilled to welcome Scott Bushey, a standout cross-country runner at Springfield from 2011-14, onto the staff, while Lindsay Holmes returns for her fifth season as an assistant coach.


Wesleyan will compete in the NESCAC Championship on Oct. 28 at Bates in Lewiston, Maine, as the squad grabbed seventh-place honors at the highly-competitive meet in 2016. Also on the radar for Wesleyan will be the Paul Short Run at Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sept. 29 and the Little Three on Oct. 14, while the New England Regional Championship is set for Nov. 11 in Gorham, Maine, and the NCAA Championship will occur on Nov. 18 in Elsah, Ill.

Wesleyan lost a sensational five-person senior class at the conclusion of the 2016 season, including Caroline Elmendorf, Molly Schassberger, Joie Akerson, Christina Hebner and Katie Scruggs.

Elmendorf and Schassberger were nothing short of sensational for the Cardinals last season. Elmendorf was the squad's top performer in three meets, including when she placed 25th overall at the 2016 NESCAC Championship. Schassberger was the first runner to cross the finish line, as the Cardinals grabbed first-place recognition at the Wesleyan Invitational on Sept. 16, 2016. 


  • Wesleyan returns seven runners from the 2016 squad, featuring seniors Morgan Findley and Sylwia Lipior, juniors Rhoen Fiutak, Carina Flaherty and Julia Mitchell, and sophomores Sara Pinsonault and Rosie Skovron.
  • Fiutak will look to pick off right where she left off last fall, as the Cape Elizabeth, Maine native was the Cardinals' first-place finisher (44th overall) at the New England Regional Championship. Mitchell also put together a phenomenal 2016 campaign, finishing in the Cardinal's top-three four times. The junior standout was the third Cardinal to cross the finish line (61st overall) at the regional championship, and she was the team's second-place finisher (28th overall) at the conference championship.
  • Pinsonault was the unit's fourth-place finisher at the NESCAC Championship, while Findley (28th overall) and Flaherty (29th overall) were Wesleyan's fourth- and fifth-place performers, respectively, at the Little Three meet on Oct. 15, 2016.
  • Skovron and Lipior will look to build off their impressive 2016 seasons, as each received valuable experience at the NESCAC Championship, finishing in times of 25:35.04 and 26:37.51, respectively, on the 6-kilometer course.
  • The Cardinals welcome four new faces to the program this fall in freshmen Evelyn Burke, Lizzie Edwards, Becky Lopez-Anido and Emma Trapani.


"The women's team is very young, but expectations are high. We hope to improve on last year's 10th-place finish at the New England Regional Championship."