Cross Country sends two runners to NCAA DIII Championships

A standout for the Mules, David Chelimo ’17 qualified for a position in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky this coming weekend. He was Colby’s top runner last weekend at the New England Division III Championships, also known as the NCAA Regional Qualifier, and finished 7th overall with a time of 24:53.

Additionally, Caitlin Lawlor ’18 also qualified for the NCAA DIII Championships, despite not being aware that her time 21:47.10 had qualified her for nationals until the next day. She celebrated her team’s performance independently of that honor. Lawlor has also one of the top twenty 6k times in Colby’s history.

In addition to Chelimo and Lawlor, the men and women of Colby’s Cross Country team displayed a strong showing at the New England Division III Championships. They traveled to Massachusetts to take on some of the fiercest teams in the region. Competition in New England is tough, with 59 teams 406 finishers competing in the women’s 6-kilometer race and. The men’s 8-kilometer race had 384 finishers. Despite the tough competition, the men finished in sixth place, while the women ended up in eleventh. Three Colby men and two women took home All-New England Honors, which means the runner finished in the top 35.

Colby’s top runners during the season continued to perform on Saturday.  In addition to Chelimo’s 7th place finish, Silas Eastman ’17 and Griffin Gagnon ’17 finished 16th and 24th respectively, both clocking in with times just over 25 minutes. For Eastman, who struggled most of the season with an injury, this race was an important return. Chelimo also missed most of the 2015 season and all of the 2016 indoor season to injury, but that hasn’t seemed to hinder his success this year. The upperclassmen on the men’s team certainly made their point, with Nathan Madeira ’17, Tom O’Shea ’17, Noel Feeney ’18, and Benard Kibet ’18 also earning spots in the top 100 runners.

For Colby’s women, Lawlor and Hannah Springhorn ’19 paced themselves well, crossing the finish line in 17th and 23rd place. Other top finishers for Colby included Elizabeth Holland ’19, Amy LoTemplio ’19, Mahal Alvarez-Backus ’19, Sonia Tremblay, ’20 and Britt Biddle ’19. Lawlor was incredibly proud of her teammates saying, “this weekend was really special for the ladies team and we had a lot of really strong performances.”

Other New England schools had strong showings as well, with MIT and Williams going one and two in the women’s race.  Colby was only four points away from a spot in the top ten—something the returning runners will certainly be shooting for next season.

The strong performances by Lawlor, Chelimo, and Gagnon were unsurprising, since they each earned All-NESCAC honors when Colby hosted the NESCAC championships two weeks ago on the Quarry Road trails. That race was Eastman’s first coming off an injury; in addition, he lost one of his shoes in the first two minutes, but continued to run the full race.

Both teams carry a lot of depth, with runners of all class years performing strongly this weekend and throughout the season. This bodes well for future seasons, especially with the strength of the NESCAC to compete with. Colby has seen a lot of growth this season and has made great improvements in both the men and women’s programs. The runners will look to build upon this momentum and carry it through the winter into next season.

Lawlor and Chelimo will race at the championships in Louisville this Saturday at 11 A.M.and 12 P.M. respectively.

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