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January 28, 2022

Cross Country earns first perfect score in Centennial Conference history

By SIMONE BLISS | November 1, 2018

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The women’s cross country team secured a historic 15-point victory.

This past weekend, women’s and men’s cross country traveled to Haverford, Penn. for the Centennial Conference Championship. 

The weather was gloomy, the sky overcast; 20 miles-per-hour winds and rain buffeted the runners in their race to decide the Conference. These conditions were no match for the Jays, however, as the women finished the race with a perfect score of 15, a first for any team in the Centennial Conference’s 26-year history. 

In cross country, teams receive scores based on how their first five runners cross the finish line at the end of the race. To get a 15, a team must have their first five finish one through five. This weekend, those five were senior Ellie Clawson, junior Caelyn Reilly, senior Tasha Freed, junior Samantha Levy and senior Felicia Köerner. But just meeting that requirement was not enough for the Blue Jays. They soared above and beyond that, taking every spot in the top 10 except eight, which was nabbed by Dickinson College sophomore Emma Johnston. No Blue Jay placed lower than 17th, greatly displacing other teams’ scores and forcing the rest of the Conference to battle for the remaining spots. 

This impressive showing ensured that the next best scores were nowhere near them. Dickinson came in second with 58 points and Swarthmore College tied with Haverford College for third with 100.

Clawson mentioned that the team’s success can be attributed to its training.

“The most important thing is to keep everyone healthy, which [coach] Bobby [Van Allen] really emphasizes. I think that all of us have dealt with some kind of setback; it is critical that we take control of those issues. Obviously, everyone wants to train to the best of their ability, but sometimes that means taking days off or modifying workouts,” she said.

“I think that, this year, people have gotten much smarter about listening to their bodies and keeping in mind that it will come together. Also, we are all phenomenal at competing with and motivating each other at practice. We’re always encouraging each other and make sure to keep the energy positive. We work incredibly hard and struggle together, which definitely pays off,” Clawson added.

This race sets more than just one record. It puts Hopkins in the lead for Conference titles at 11 and pushes them ahead of Dickinson for most individual champions at nine. Clawson brought home her second Championship race in a row, finishing the race with a quick 21:17.9. This also makes her the sixth runner to win the race and runner of the year in consecutive seasons. 

Clawson commented on what this historic outcome means to the program.

“It is representative of not only the talent and depth we have on our team, but how well we work together and feed off each other’s energy. That kind of pack mentality, where everyone feels accountable and motivated to stick together, is key to the team’s success. Also, it’s just fun to all run fast together. We’re all so excited to see what we can do in these last two meets. It’s all coming together,” she said.

The men’s race, however, was much closer. Dickinson senior Eric Herrmann finished first, but Dickinson would only finish 3rd overall. The real battle would be between the Jays and the Fords who have been clawing at one another for first for the past five years. 

The Jays ran hard, hoping that this would be the year to overcome the Fords. Haverford seniors Greg Morgan and Ryan Herlihy came in quickly after Herrmann in second and third, but Hopkins sophomore Jared Pangallozzi and junior Andrew King sailed in at fourth and fifth with times 25:33.3 and 25:36.8. 

Haverford senior Graham Peet came in next, followed by Hopkins senior Scott Pourshalchi. Ford senior Dylan Gearinger crossed the line right after, taking eighth, but Hopkins sophomore Conner Delahanty and senior Alex Doran were right on his tail and took ninth and 10th. When the points were tallied, Hopkins finished second to Haverford by just one point, 34-35. 

Pangallozzi elaborated on the team’s preparation for the meet.

“We’ve been looking forward to this week and Championship season in general since the summer. We got out and packed up at Conferences just like we’ve been doing at every meet this season, and while we didn’t come away with the win, I think it’s safe to say that if we run at Nationals the same way we’ve been running, we’re going to be in a great position,” he said.

The Jays race again on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Center Valley, Pa. at 11:00 a.m. for the Mideast Regional Championship. 

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