BOSTON, Mass. - The Simmons College women's cross country team will head to Standish, Maine on Saturday, November 1 to compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship hosted by Saint Joseph's College at 1:00 p.m.
The Sharks were picked to finish fifth in the GNAC Cross Country Championship Coaches Poll, but will look to surpass expectations. Emmanuel College was selected first by the league coaches.
Simmons has been led by junior Captain Kara MacLean (Braintree, Mass.) this season. MacLean has posted a pair of top-15 finishes this year, including a fifth-place showing at the Roger Williams Invitational on September 6 and a 12th-place finish two weeks later at the Wellesley Invitational when she shattered her personal-record time with a mark of 20:50.8. MacLean became injured the following week at the 45th Annual Codfish Bowl, but returned to action at the six kilometer Seven Sisters Invitational on October 25. The junior was unable to compete at last year's championship, but heads into the race as one to watch for the Sharks.
Sophomore Sara Harland (Pembroke, Mass.) has established herself as one of Simmons' top runners, posting either the second-best or best time in all but one race this season for the team. The second-year runner registered a personal-record time of 21:41.26 at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championship at Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass. on October 11. Harland ran in last year's conference championship and recorded the best time among this season's returners for a 14th-place effort.
Sophomores Mia DeLuccia (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Bethanie Royality-Lindman (Wakefield, R.I.) have been nipping at Harland's heels all season. DeLuccia finished 22nd overall last year and posted the second-best time among returnees in last year's title race. She has consistently finished right behind Harland this season and was the team's second-best performer at the Roger Williams Invitational. Royality-Lindman has shown tremendous improvement from a year ago. The second-year harrier clocked in with the Sharks' third-best outing at the Seven Sister's meet and broke through the 22-minute barrier at the NEICAAA Championship with a personal-record mark of 21:51.35. She could challenge for the second-fastest time on the team on Saturday. Newcomer Madison Rivard (Sharon, Mass.) has shown great strides since her first collegiate race of seven weeks ago. The sophomore began the season by registering the team's ninth-best time at the Roger Williams Invitational, but since then has worked hard to position herself as one of the squad's top five runners. Rivard clocked in at 22:26.89 at the NEICAAA Championship for her best time this season and will look to catch the 22-minute mark this weekend.
Juniors Tiffany Lo (Braintree, Mass.) and Alicia Morales (Uxbridge, Mass.) as well as senior Captain Caroline Coughlin (Chelmsford, Mass.) and sophomore Kaitlyn Maloney (Amherst, N.H.) will also be in the mix to score points for Simmons this weekend. The quartet finished within 10 seconds of each other at the NEICAAA Championship with Lo (23:23.97), Coughlin (23:31.50) and Maloney (23:33.02) all notching personal-record times. Morales was one of the team's top performers at last year's GNAC race, while Coughlin has enjoyed a campaign with excellent improvement from last season. Lo and Coughlin will be competing at the GNAC Championship for the first time.