XC kicks off season with twin sweep, deep roster

Libby Arnosti

Whitman women took eight of the top 10 spots at the finish of the women’s race at the annual Whitman Invitational last Saturday. Junior Emilie Gilbert sprinted past the 6 km mark, posting a time of 23:24.89 to win the race by more than 20 seconds. Her twin sister, junior Katri Gilbert, finished second, leading a pack of talented Whitties.

Credit: Marie von Hafften

“Our team looks really strong this season. We have a lot of depth, and this meet was a great warm up,” said Katri Gilbert.

While the Whitman men snuck just two runners into the top 10 against competitors from Lewis Clark State College, coach Scott Shields is anticipating a great season for both teams.

“I feel fantastic about this season. They’re really excited and ready to roll,” he said of his runners.

The first finisher for the Whitman men was newcomer junior Oliver Wood who joined the team this year after two years at Whitman. The third finisher for the women is also new to the team; first-year Erin Campbell finished her 6 km in just over 24 minutes.

“For a freshman to come out in her first college race and step up for her team like that is pretty impressive,” said Shields.

A shuttle bus brought crowds of fans to cheer on their athletes from the sidelines, and varsity athletes from swimming and baseball came out to help set up and time for the race.

“This is probably the best fan support we’ve ever had. And having the other sports come out and help with the meet really speaks volumes to how the varsity athletes are really tight not just with their team, but really helping support each other outside of that,” said Shields.