The ladies of the Merchant Marine Cross Country program concluded one of the team's best performances of recent times by finishing second overall at the fourth annual Purchase College Invitational on Saturday.
While slow swampy conditions created a difficult course, the girls performed very well against the 11-team field. Coming in just behind the meet champion Mount Saint Mary's, the Mariners' women bested Division II Dowling College, CIA, Purchase College, Bard College, Sarah Lawrence, Lehman College, Hunter College, Duchess Community College and Bronx Community College.
"The course was soaked with many sections still covered in water," Mariners coach Greg Lott said. "It was an interesting and difficult situation but our ladies rose to the challenge. They ran with a lot of toughness and grit. Their continual development is impressive and really bodes well for the rest of the season."
The team was led by another strong performance by freshman Kelly Whalen, who finished fourth overall (22:11). Senior Lauren Rattan (eight, 22:51), freshman Amber Kinter (10th, 23:06), freshman Ellie Coulter (15th, 23:41) and freshman Mary Silk (24th, 23:35) rounded out the top five for the Mariners.
"Much of the success of our upcoming season will depend on the development of our Plebes," Lott said. "If our No. 4 and No. 5 runners can keep improving and begin to close the gap between them and our "Top 3," we will be in very good shape."
The ladies will be back in action at the C.W. Post Cross Country Invitational next Saturday in Brookville, N.Y. against a strong field that includes St. John's University out of the Big East conference and Fordham University out of the A-10 Conference. The meet will also serve as the preview event for the Division II ECC Championship and will be hosting the top D-II teams throughout the eastern region.