Tallulah Falls, GA—The Mary Baldwin Fighting Squirrels cross country team raced at the USA South Conference Championships on Saturday, battling cold and rainy conditions on a difficult 6k course. The meet was hosted by Piedmont College for the 2nd year. Out of 18 women’s teams competing, the Fighting Squirrels finished 8th, equaling their preseason prediction. Both the women’s and men’s races were dominated by USA South newcomer Berea College, with the men winning in a perfect score of 15.
Sophomore Stephanie Barbaro once again led the way for MBU. She finished in 39th place overall in a time of 26:40. That performance was almost 2 ½ minutes faster than her finish time here last year, and just :03 shy of her PR.
Coach Ely praised Barbaro’s performance. “Stephanie is a strong runner and ran a great race. To have finished with that time on a wet, hilly course shows both her focus and determination.”
Barbaro was followed to the line by four freshmen: Colette Levens (52nd); Josephina Reeder (55th); Jaquelin Rosas (64th); and Nykia Free (65th). Rounding out the top 7 were freshman Elise Deng (68th) and senior Campbell Scollo (70th). Scollo was running her final conference race, and she saved the best for last in running a lifetime PR on a tough course.
Coach Ely was very pleased with MBU’s performance. “I liked to see the team fight for every spot today. We have such a young, inexperienced team with 5 freshmen in the top 7. They weren’t intimidated by the field, the course or the weather. That bodes really well for our future.”
Next up for the Fighting Squirrels is the NCAA DIII Southeast Regional, hosted by Christopher Newport University on November 11th. The course is located at Lee Mansion and the women’s race begins at 11:00.