NEWPORT, R.I. – The Salve Regina women's cross country team looks to carry the momentum of a successful invitational campaign into the postseason, taking aim at the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship on Saturday.
The power trio of junior Alex Demeo (Burlington, Mass.), senior Olivia Wilson (Bethel, Conn.) and sophomore Olivia Owen (Weymouth, Mass.) took charge in two of the team's three invitational victories this fall, finishing 1-2-3 overall in back-to-back meets. Demeo and Owen also led the scoring in a season-opening win.
Senior Alexa Cipkas (Granby, Conn.), sophomore Cianna Lynch (Cranston, R.I.) and freshman Sydney DeCesare (Johnston, R.I.) have been among the varsity regulars for most of the season. Freshmen Francesca Moore (Old Saybrook, Conn.) and Kat Bruce (Dalton, Mass.), sophomore Rachel Sandri (Marlboro, N.Y.), junior Annie Mozzer (Agawam, Mass.) and senior Hannah Lussier (Belchertown, Mass.) have also held a varsity role at various points this fall.
The Seahawks claimed titles at the Roger Williams Invitational on Sept. 2, the Elms Blazer Cross Country Classic on Sept. 23 and the Tri-State Invitational on Sept. 30, marking the most wins in a season for Salve Regina since 2013. The harriers also had a solid seventh-place finish amid a field of 40 teams at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.
"We have done excellent work this season. We are prepared, focused and entirely capable as we head into the championship meets," said head coach Rob McGuinness. "We have the runners we need to succeed, and we are ready to race. I absolutely believe in this team."
The Seahawks face stiff competition from their conference opponents. Seniors Emma Robidoux, Angel Waters and Amanda MacDonald will set the pace for the five-time defending conference champions from the University of New England. Seniors Louisa Dodds and Kayla Kroning lead the pack for Gordon College, sophomore Laura Pomeroy and junior Jules Wesley pace Endicott College, and sophomore Sarah Mawdsley is the frontrunner for Roger Williams University.
"The all-conference picture is especially crowded this year, which is a credit to the quality of the teams in the Commonwealth Coast Conference," McGuinness said. "I am sure that it will be an exciting championship race."
The University of New England hosts the conference championship meet at Rotary Park on Main Street in Biddeford, Maine, on Saturday. The women race at noon.