Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor
Rhode Island College’s women’s cross country is not a team hurting for talent. In 2017, their second year under head coach Tim Rudd the team finished 3rd in the Little East Conference, the best finish for RIC in ten years. RIC was lead by three top ten finishers in the championship race, highlighted by the individual conference champion and Little East rookie of the year Shayna Cousineau. The team also got strong contributions from returning seniors Margaret McCaffrey and Rebecca Meinertz who finished 7th and 8th in the conference championship respectively.
New to the team is freshman recruit Madisen Martin out of Old Rochester Regional High School in Plymouth County Massachusetts. Coach Rudd has high expectations for Martin, who he believes will quickly establish herself as a top four runner on the team and has the potential to finish top ten in the conference by seasons end.
In the Little East the Cross Country Conference Championship teams are scored based on the finishing position of their top five runners. As such a teams 5th runner is often crucial in determining their place in the standings. Coach Rudd understands this fact and has a group of athletes he believes have the potential to fill the role. This group includes senior Laura Paiva who finished 5th for the team last year, sophomore Bryana Mullin and junior Nicole Grammas. This will be Grammas’s first time running cross country, however she was the conference champion in the 600 meters during the indoor track season and Coach Rudd believes her talent will translate.
RIC is hosting the Conference Championship this season at Bryant University’s facilities and Coach Rudd believes the Little East is prime for the taking. As previously mentioned, the Anchorwomen’s top three runners from last season are all returning, this however isn’t the case for their biggest competitors. Last year’s champion Eastern Connecticut State University only has one of their top three runners returning and the 2017 runner up Plymouth State University also lost one of their top finishers. For these reasons as well as RIC’s wealth of talent the Anchorwomen are considered a strong favorite this season to win the Little East.
The first meet of the season for RIC took place on September 15th. Before the meet Coach Rudd stated that he believed the race would “be a good indicator for who ran over the summer and who didn’t also it’ll help us gage what has to be done and what improvements have to be made to reach our ultimate goal.”