CMS Men's Cross Country Edges Pomona-Pitzer for SCIAC title, Thomas D'Anieri Wins Individual Race

Thomas D'Anieri crosses the finish line with an individual SCIAC Championship
Thomas D'Anieri crosses the finish line with an individual SCIAC Championship

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior Thomas D'Anieri finished in first place to lead the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's cross country team to the SCIAC Championship, as the Stags narrowly edged out Pomona-Pitzer on a tiebreaker on Saturday morning in Claremont at the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country course. 

Both CMS and Pomona-Pitzer finished with 31 points, and the tiebreaker went to who had the higher finishers among each of the top five from each team. CMS had the higher first-place finisher (No. 1 vs. No. 2), the higher fourth-place finisher (No. 8 vs. No. 9) and the higher fifth-place finisher (No. 10 vs. No. 11) to edge out the Sagehens 3-2 in the tiebreaker and earn its first conference title since 2016, which was the last of five in a row for the program. 

D'Anieri, who finished in 24:52.0 to win the race by three seconds over Ethan Widlansky of Pomona-Pitzer, was a freshman on that championship squad and was among the members of the senior class who were thrilled to get back on top. 

"For each of the classes, we were talking about our identity going into the race," said D'Anieri. "And for the senior class, it was 'Hey, we came in on top, and we want to go out in the same way.' The best way to wrap up our season would be with a championship, and we got that done today."

Sophomore Miles Christensen was the second Stag to cross the line in fifth place, finishing in 25:12.2, one second ahead of Joseph Hesse-Withbroe of Pomona-Pitzer in a meet when every point made the difference. Junior Stevie Steinberg came in seventh place (25:16.8), and sophomore Kyril Van Schendel was right behind in 25:16.8 in eighth, representing the third and fourth CMS scorers. 

The Stags then got a huge performance from first-year Henry Pick, who was the fifth scorer with a tenth-place finish in 25:22.3, finishing ahead of Daniel Rosen of Pomona-Pitzer in 11th to be the fifth scorer for CMS. Pick's effort resulted in the 31-31 tie, and also gave the Stags the tiebreaker by coming in ahead of Rosen, the fifth-place finisher for Pomona-Pitzer. 

The top five CMS finishers also ended up with first-team All-SCIAC honors by finishing in the top 10. Making the second team by earning spots in the top 20 were junior Will Kimball (12th), first-year Daniel Krasemann (16th) and senior Wilson Ives (20th). 

D'Anieri's individual title also came after a year in which he couldn't compete after suffering an injury as a sophomore. The first-place finish was especially meaningful for him after spending so long on the sidelines.  

"I tore my Achilles my sophomore spring and I was basically out for about 13 months," he said. "So I didn't even know if I was going to get the opportunity to run this year. Even to be out here, I'm just so grateful for the opportunity, and I think it made the win that much more special."

With the SCIAC title in the books, CMS will move on to the NCAA West Regionals in two weeks, which will also be held at the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country course, and if the Stags can finish in the top two, they will move on to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23 for the 12th year in a row. After moving into the top 10 in the national rankings this fall, and defeating No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Championship, D'Anieri is looking forward to that next step. 

"Clearly we have a lot of potential," D'Anieri said. "We're excited to see what we can do on the national stage."