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X-Country Teams Ready for Regional Championship

By Jim Berry
team member

This past weekend, the men's and women's cross-country ski teams travelled to Osceola, New York for a Mid-East Conference meet against seven other schools. The event was hosted by Cornell University.

Saturday's race was a 10km freestyle event. Conditions were cold and icy. The course was difficult, with many steep uphills and several treacherous downhills. Up first were the women. Jessica Kleiss '00 screamed to a first-place finish, obliterating league rival Katie Johnson of Clarkson University by a decisive 50 second margin. Freshman Teresa Hung '02 also turned in a gutsy performance, finishing fifth overall.

"I could hear Coach yelling that I was beating [Johnson], but I tried to push it out of my mind," noted Kleiss. "I just tried to concentrate the whole way through."

The men's team, coming off of a huge win the previous weekend, hoped to extend the streak. Sam Coradetti '02 turned in a strong performance, earning himself second place, a mere 25 seconds off first. Derek Southwell '01 wasn't far behind with a fourth place finish. Tim Garnett '02, stepping up to the challenge in the absence of standout Jeff Doering '99, rounded out the team score with a personal-best ninth place. Unfortunately, the combined team score of 15 was not enough to beat the close competition from Clarkson, which squeaked out a victory with 14 points.

Sunday's race was a classic-style 3x5km relay. With revenge on their minds, the men's team of Coradetti, Garnett, and Jim Berry '99 left the other schools for dead, finishing a full 40 seconds ahead of the second-place team from Cornell University. The performance of the day went to Garnett, who took a ten second deficit at the first hand-off and turned it into a commanding 40 second lead by the time he finished his lap and tagged Coradetti. MIT's second team of Southwell, Andrew Grimm '01, and Karl McLetchie '02 also fared well, placing fifth overall.

The women were unable to field an official team, but Kleiss and Hung, racing on an unofficial team, turned in strong individual performances.

The team is gearing up for this coming weekend's Mid-East Conference regional championship in Bennington, Vermont. The following week they travel to Mammoth Mountain, California for the USCSA national championships.

Coach Jessie Donavan is confident as the team enters its last two meets.

"We've been improving all year and we're ready to take regionals," she said. "Above all, we ski for fun. Winning is fun."