By Jess Ryan ’19 & Angelina Ingrassia ’18
Sports Editor & Managing Editor
Beginning of the fall 2017 academic term means the beginning of autumn sports. This issue’s spotlight falls to the Gordon College Cross Country Men and Women’s teams as they have exploded in number and determination.
These two teams have seen a tremendous burst of growth, especially the women’s team who went from eight female runners last fall to an impressive twenty-three this season. These exciting new developments warrant a closer look. Head coach, Justin Wikerd, had a few things to say in regards to this upcoming season.
When asked about potential key runners for this upcoming season, Coach Wikerd says, “Currently the women’s team is strong with a few key returners and a number of new athletes.” These athletes included runners such as Kayla Kroning (18’), Louisa Dodds (‘18), Elizabeth Mailhot (21’), Keanna Smigliani (21′), Bridget Mellon (19′), Kara Polsgrove (21′), and Julia Drewicke (19′). Wikerd continues, “On the Men’s side our team is led by Damond Kilgore (18′) who is running well, and Jesse Edwards (18′) has put in the work over the summer and really seems to be running well.”
These predictions were put to the test during the most recent race, the 2017 Pop Crowell Invitational. Overall there were 125 female runners who participated in the 2017 5k Pop Crowell Invitational on Saturday September 23rd. Three Gordon runners finished in the top 10. Kayla Kroning came in 4th for the Fighting Scots, followed by Elizabeth Mailhot and Lousia Dodds who finished 7th and 8th. The women’s cross country team came in 2nd to University of New England.
Coach Wikerd says, “The women are looking to do some damage in the CCC but we will need our top 7 women to all run well. Our women’s team is young so we are set on the big picture down the line” he adds, addressing the team’s future.
The women’s team is looking to battle for a top 2 finish at the CCC conference meet this year.When asked about what strategies the runners should keep in mind while competing, Coach Wikerd said runners must, “race hard and leave it on the course.”
The men’s XC team also competed in this year’s Invitational. Coming in 3rd, just five points separating them from a 2nd place finish, Gordon’s men’s team had three runners come in the top twenty. Damon Kilgore (‘18) came in 1st with an impressive time of 25:42 and more than 20 seconds separating him from second and third place.
The Fighting Scots’ next race is at the James Earley Invitational hosted by Westfield State on October 7th.