Men's and Women's XC prepare for showdown with nationally ranked opponents in the Little Three Meet.

After two successful races, the cross-country team has been itching to put on a show and take home some trophies. At the Little Three meet this weekend, the Cardinals will have a chance to truly see their hard work and determination come together for their first championship race. Oct. 18 will have Wesleyan traveling to Williams for this annual race, a good starting point for the upcoming postseason.

Two weekends ago, the men took 14th and the women took 9th in the eight-kilometer Paul Short Run at Lehigh University, garnering superb efforts from Evan Bieder ’15 (11th, 25:16), Taylor Titcomb ’16 (14th, 25:19), and Caroline Elmendorf ’17 (sixth, 22:35). Numerous other teammates, such as Keith Conway ’16 and Rachel Unger ’15, were able to place in the race as well; needless to say, the Cardinals are optimistic for the upcoming bout against rivals Amherst and Williams.

“It should be a good test,” Tate Knight ’18 said. “[We need it] going into the championship season.”

The men will face some tough opposition in the runners of Amherst and Williams, as both teams are ranked nationally; while the Lord Jeffs are 22nd in the country, the Ephs have managed to seat themselves among the top five, coming in at 4th in Division III.

“This weekend, we really want to test ourselves and tap into our potential,” Conway said. “Racing these nationally ranked teams will be a great [way to start off] these postseason meets.”

As luck would have it, the women find themselves in a position similar to the men, as the runners from Williams and Amherst are ranked 8th and 22nd respectively. Going into this weekend, the women are just as optimistic as the men, if not more excited to be facing off against these formidable Little Three foes.

“It should be pretty fun,” Eliana Zimmerman ’17 said. “We’re going in with hopes to perform well individually and as a team.”

Zimmerman had a nice time in the Paul Short (24:42), placing 83rd out of 309 entrants. Along with Morgan Findley ’18 (24:01, 49th) and Joie Akerson ‘17 (24:30, 71st), the Cardinal runners seem poised to challenge the Ephs and the Lady Jeffs.

Zimmerman remarked that this upcoming meet will be extremely helpful for the team’s runners, adding that it will help them gauge their goals for later meets.

The Williams men’s team has been dominant historically at the event, having won every meet dating back to 1988. The last time the Wes men took the crown was in 1984. Williams’ women’s team has been just as successful, winning 26 Little Three titles dating back to 1976. Wes’ most recent title came in 1986. However, the Cardinals are not ones to be deterred by history, and they will look to shock their purple opponents on Saturday.

There’s no doubt that the upcoming weekend will be a steep challenge for the young Cardinal teams, whose top runners consist of mainly sophomores and juniors. Venturing into a sea of purple, the Birds are hoping to come out of Massachusetts having all their hard work pay off for the onset of this championship season.

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