Author: Chris Suzdak
Following its triumphant Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title last November, the women’s cross country squad is poised for another strong run this season. But to keep up with their conference’s quickening pace, Robert Bartlett, now in his third year as head coach, will need to use everything at his disposal. Luckily for him, Bartlett has an experienced assistant coach in Derek Turbin, or “Turbo” as he is affectionately called, and a new pool of promising young talent.
The runners reported back on Aug. 25 this year to begin practice. Instead of training on the hilly concrete compound we call campus, the team usually escapes to more runner-friendly locations such as the Rose Bowl, the Arroyo and Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
When asked about his goals for this season, Coach Bartlett said, “I want to enable everyone to reach their potential for the season and to peak when it counts the most.” Rachel Keylon (senior), Denali Halsey (junior) and Grace Peck (junior) are expected to lead the pack this fall as the top three returning members. Alongside seven other returning runners, the incoming first-year class boasts serious talent. Coach Bartlett spoke highly of these new recruits.
“As a group they have a huge amount of potential and if they work hard, can become the best cross country team Oxy has seen in a long, long time,” he said. Three of these highly-anticipated athletes include Anna Dalton (first-year), Sadie Mohler (first-year) and Meghan Whalen (first-year), who all finished as the top ranked in their high school state championships.
These newcomers seem to be fitting in well with the team. “The upperclassmen and coaches do an excellent job of making us feel welcome,” Mohler said of her transition. The Tigers took their annual cross country team camping trip last weekend as a team-building exercise. Many athletes can also be seen enjoying meals together in the Cooler.
As their first competition approaches, Occidental runners are preparing themselves for another exciting season and hope to again find the path to victory. While every meet this season is important for both individuals and the team as a whole, the most important races are the conference meet on Nov. 1, and the NCAA Division III Western Regional Championships on Nov. 15. The Tigers’ quest for another conference title begins on Sept. 6 at the UC Irvine Invitational.
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