Men’s and women’s cross country captains gear up for their final tours as Lions

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The Emerson women’s cross country team.

Following a season in which the Emerson women’s and men’s cross country teams placed 16th and 30th in the Division III East Regionals respectively, the Lions’ three captains now direct their attention to cultivating a welcoming and development-focused environment. 

By Jason Tulchin, Deputy Sports Editor

Following a season in which the Emerson women’s and men’s cross country teams placed 16th and 30th in the Division III East Regionals respectively, the Lions’ three captains now direct their attention to cultivating a welcoming and development-focused environment. 

The team announced its schedule for the 2022 season via an Instagram post on Aug. 18. 

The Lions’ season opener was originally scheduled to take place at the Endicott Invitational on Sept. 10, but Emerson pulled out of the race. Luckily Emerson was able to compete in the Smith College Invitational on Sept. 10th where they placed 4th out of 6 teams. The men and women’s teams placed 4th and 7th, respectively, and averaged a 5k time of 18:59 and 25:11. 

Women’s senior captain Paige Thimmesch noted the men’s overall excellent performance, while the women’s team saw a bigger gap in its times. Thimmesch also commended the underclassmen’s ability to stay in a pack.

“They were keeping up that consistency from the workouts,” Thimmesc said. “They were really good at staying together and supporting each other.”

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Men’s senior captain Oliver Glass, who ran a 17:17 at Smith and placed 27th in the men’s 5k, sees the beginning of the season as an opportunity to get the first-year students accustomed to running in college.

“It’s all about setting the tone, getting everybody in gear and ready to go for the season,” he said.

Sophomore Joe Norris and freshman John Lanza rounded out the top men’s runners with an 18:40 and 18:45, placing 42nd and 43rd respectively. Junior Samuel Cahill was close behind in 46th, hauling in a 19:06 5k.

Thimmesch, who ran a 29:41 and placed 86th, sees the beginning of the season as a good baseline for the rest to come.

“I try not to put too much pressure on myself when it comes to the first race,” they said. “But I end up not listening to myself and putting way too much pressure [on myself]… So hopefully this year I’ll listen to myself, my coaches, and my teammates.”

The Lions’ third and final senior captain Emily Hammond—who clocked a 32:30 and placed 89th—is keeping an eye on the rising star talent for Emerson.

“I’m expecting for us to have a lot of new runners coming in,” She said. “We lost a few of our girls last year due to transferring and graduation, [so] I’m excited for Sam Zannotti, who is a rising sophomore. I think she’s gonna do really well.”

Zannotti sustained an injury towards the end of last season and has been training hard ever since to prepare for this year. She started strong at Smith, placing 19th and running a 20:57 5k. Thimmesch also lauded Zannotti’s performance, along with first-year freshman runner Olivia Kardos, who clocked a 22:09 at Smith, as well as sophomore Tierney McKeown, who ran a 26:38.

“This is [Mckeown’s] first time running because she was involved in a program last year,” Thimmesch said. “But she will this year.”

With plenty of strong teams going toe-to-toe in the New England Women and Men’s Athletic Conference, the Lions will need all hands on deck.

“The NEWMAC is one of the best conferences for cross county, not only in New England, but in the country,” Glass said. “Every time we go up against a conference opponent, we’re going up against some of the best Division III runners in the country”. 

Among the mix of strong opponents, the Lions have their sights set on a handful of rival teams.

“As we’re a smaller school, one of our bigger competitors is Gordon College”, Hammond said. “Our goal is to always try and stay near or beat them as well as Babson [College].”

The captains for the 2022 season all have their own goals. For Thimmesch, they want to keep the Lions close.

“I want to create a team atmosphere of ‘no-one left behind,’” they said. “There’s no hierarchy—we’re all a team […] no matter what age or what position that we’re in.”

The team’s culture is a main priority for Hammond is continuing to keep a steady unity between the Lions. 

“One of the things that I’m really good at is team bonding,” she said. “Things like hosting pasta parties and doing fun events.”

Glass hopes to pass his experience on to the next generation of Emerson runners.

“I just want to bestow to the young guys everything I’ve learned over the last few years”, he said. “Everyone in our classes had a unique experience in terms of running the D3 experience— but [I want to try] to get them to maximize what they can get out of the sport.”