NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's cross country team is eyeing a return to the top of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in 2019.
Last season, the Cadets battled for a sixth-place finish at the conference championship meet, collecting 123 points as a team. Norwich returns seven harriers from last year, while bringing in eight newcomers.
Seth Jackson enters his second season at the helm of the program. He expanded on his key returners to the squad, "Senior Robyn Hageman Westlake, Ohio) is looking to have a really good senior year, junior Olivia Giarrizzo (Tampa, Fla.) (who towards the end of the year was running very well and was our top finisher at GNAC's) are two of our best returners. Junior Paige Roche (Cohasset, Mass.), Olivia and sophomore Belle Magna (Canton, Conn.) have been running in a pretty good pack during training."
Giarrizzo (16th place), Hageman (18th) and Magna (25th) were the team's top three finishers at the GNAC Championships. Norwich also finished 40th overall at the NCAA Division III New England Regionals with Hageman (207th), Giarrizzo (210th) and Magna (268th) pacing the team.
Jackson lost two runners to graduation but has brought in several fresh faces in 2019.
"We have eight freshmen, so almost half of the team is comprised of newcomers," Jackson said. "In our first couple of workouts here we saw Remingtin Parker and Jacie Harlow compete with some of our top runners."
"We lost a lot of big contributors and we have a large junior and senior class and they have embraced their new leadership roles early," Jackson said. "It's a new dynamic for the team and I am very excited to see where it goes."
Jackson is excited to compete in some different races during the regular season this year, "Colby-Sawyer has a new course and we were invited down there for a meet, that will be a good opportunity to see some GNAC schools as Saint Joseph's College (Maine) will be there too. Westfield State in mid-October is usually one of the first full-distance races that we run so we will be testing our legs out there. A week after that we have the Conn. College Invitational which will feature some of the best competition in New England this year."
When asked about the most important competition of the season Jackson replied, "What we are really working towards is that November 2nd GNAC Championship meet. Saint Joseph's College (Maine) is hosting it again this year and it is a course that we like to run. The women's division is moving up to 6k this year for the first time ever, so we are looking forward to making some history up in Maine in November."
The Cadets open the season on Saturday, August 31st at the Colby Sawyer Invitational. That race is set for 10:30 a.m.