By SAMMY BHATIA
For The News-Letter
This past Saturday, the Johns Hopkins women’s cross country team made the trek to Rowan College in Gloucester County, N.J. to compete at the Inter-Regional Border Battle. Of the 24 schools from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Atlantic and Mideast Regions, the Lady Jays finished in 13th place.
Of the 229 individuals competing in the event, all five of the team’s scoring runners placed in the top 102 competitors.
The team tallied up a total of 405 points.
Junior Veronica Boswell completed the race with the impressive time of 22:44.43, finishing in an impressive 60th place overall.
After maintaining a solid pace in the first half of the race, she surged forward in its second leg, steadily overtaking several other runners to better her time and score more points for the Jays.
Junior Maggie Gill and freshman Shannon Martello finished within two seconds of each other, clinching the 84th and 86th spots with times of 23:18.37 and 23:20.30, respectively.
The last two scoring runners for the Blue Jays were sophomore Ellie Burton, who finished in 92nd place with a time of 23:27.25 and freshman Julia Chang, who finished in 102nd place with a time of 23:33.19.
“It’s great to see how strong the team is and the depth of the team really showed,” Chang said. “My teammates around me really helped me continue when the race felt hard. I’m excited for Conferences because everyone looked really good at Rowan even though it was really windy.”
Bobby Van Allen, head coach of the Blue Jays for 16 seasons and three-time winner of United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Coach of the Year, pieced together the team’s schedule prudently, saying that the race at Rowan served as a means to prepare certain members of the team for the upcoming championship season while resting others.
Freshman Ellie Clawson, one of the runners Van Allen had resting, viewed the race from the sidelines.
“It was really fun spectating the meet Saturday,” Clawson said. “Even without a lot of the team running everyone ran really strong and there were lots of season bests. I’m pumped for conferences in two weeks and hope to PR especially after three weeks of break from racing. It will also probably be my last race of the cross country season,” Clawson said.
“Cross country has been the highlight of my time at Hopkins so far,” she continued. “I love the team. It’s only been two months and I’ve already become really close with people, especially the other freshmen.”
Erin Brush, another freshman runner, also had good things to say about the team’s performance.
“I think it has been amazing to see our program compete so well against top Division I teams,” Brush said. “We have beaten UConn, Princeton, Yale and a lot of other talented teams so far this season and I feel like that’s a big reason our program is so unique. Our top girls have unreal talent and I’m excited to see what they accomplish.”
Looking forward, the Blue Jays have two weeks to prepare for the 2015 Centennial Conference Championships, a title they have won for the past seven years in a row. The event will be at Hopkins on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Senior Sophia Meehan is the heavy favorite to win conferences, as she has been at the top of several meets this year and was National Runner of the Week recently.
Hopkins will also benefit from their difficult non-conference schedule, which featured bouts with several elite D-I programs and many of the better D-III schools.
The experience of competing against runners who are better on paper will serve to calm the Lady Jays’ nerves going into conferences and national championships.