Colorado College cross country ran sensationally this weekend, recording one of the best group performances the program has seen in some time. The team broke up into separate groups with the majority of runners traveling to Salem, Ore. to compete at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational. Competitors at Willamette were largely made up of Division III schools, but squads from Division I and II schools were also present.
The Tigers pounced on their opportunity for a lower altitude race as several of the men’s runners set new personal and season records. Tony Calderon ’20 kept his exceptional start to the season going as he recorded a time of 25:36:2 in the 8K, enough to earn himself a 31st overall finish and the fastest of all CC runners.
“Tony is continuing to run really fast,” Paul Olsen ’21 said. “He has been really big this season so far.”
Jack Williams ’20 ran the second fastest time of any Tiger, putting up a personal best 25:58:0 to finish 45th overall. “Jack really stepped it up this weekend,” Olsen said. “He is getting back into really good shape after being injured all of last year.”
Olsen had himself a day as well, recording a personal best of 26:29, good for an 81st overall finish. In total, CC had five men’s runners who finished under 27 minutes and accomplished either a personal or season-best time in the process. However, Olsen focused on the team as a unit and the overall performance over the weekend.
“Everyone did really well, we had everyone under 30 minutes and our top 5 were under 27 minutes,” Olsen said. “And that hasn’t happened in a quite a few years, so it’s really exciting.” CC finished just three points behind Willamette as the second-best Division III team present.
The women’s cross-country team also had a stellar weekend of racing and finished as the top Division III team at the meet. Allysa Warling ’19 had a career day as she ran a season-best 5K time of 18:03:01, finishing 27th overall. With that time, Alyssa put her name into the Colorado College record books and is now the third-fastest 5K runner in CC history.
Warling’s accomplishment didn’t go unnoticed, and teammates such as Alexia Preston ’21 was very complimentary. “Alyssa really killed it this weekend,” Preston praised. “She ran a fantastic race.”
Brier Youngfleish ’20 came in as the second fastest runner on the women’s side for the Tigers posting a season-best time of 19:06. Despite some very stellar individual performances, the emphasis from Preston was on the team effort to come away with the top spot from the weekend. “Everyone’s times were really tight, and everyone ran at a very high level,” Preston stated. “As the season progresses and we get more workouts in, we are all coming together as a team.”
While the competition in Oregon went on, several Tigers took part in the Highlands Cross Country Jam in Las Vegas. Runners in Vegas also set records, as Preston herself set a personal record of 20:04 in a fifth-place finish. Sarah Pokewaldt ’21 also set a personal record and on the men’s side, Adam Mahler ’20 set a season record for himself.
Both teams are feeling confident as the season progresses and are confident in taking home some silverware this season. “We are looking pretty good for contending for the top team in the conference this year,” Preston said. “Trinity took the title from us last year and we are looking to take it back this time around.”
If this past weekend is any indication, the CC cross country team is looking primed to reclaim their conference throne.