Cross Country Season Opener

Wheaton’s cross country team runners put their best foot forward in their season opener with a strong performance against Babson College. The dual meet featured sophomore Katherine Leckbee ’22, leading the pack and two men’s team members who finished in the top three. 

Leckbee ’22 finished the race with a near 20 second lead over the next placement. She was one of seven Wheaton women to place in the top ten in the 2 mile race, providing the team the win with 19 points. 

Wheaton Cross Country team. Photo retrieved from

On the day overall, Leckbee ’22 spoke to the nerves that the team faced this early in the season.

 “I think a lot of us, myself included, were a bit nervous after coming off of our summer training schedules and preseason into our first meet since last year,” Leckbee said. 

Any signs of nerves are absent in the scoring table for the women’s team, however, as Wheaton encompasses seven of the top eight spots, and nine of the top 10.

“I think overall, however, we were excited and determined to kick off the season with a strong race,” Leckbee said. 

The men’s team posted 24 points on the day, splitting the top ten with five placements each. Sophomores Dominic Sclafani ’22 and Elijah Akindolie ’22 finished second and third respectively. 

Senior Luke Thombs ‘20 is currently the only senior on the men’s roster. Finishing seventh overall, Thombs ’20 touched on a common thread between both teams: youth. 

“We lost some of our fast guys to [going] abroad and other stuff, so it’s a really young team,” Thombs said. “Because we lost those guys we need some people to step up in a major way and it seems like there is potential for that.”

This youth suggests competing ideas of potential and expectations, but neither is of major concern this early in the season. 

“We don’t have our specific goals set because we haven’t had our real first meet yet,” Thombs ’20 said. “We need to see where everyone is at.” This first test will come at their first major meet of the season at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Sept. 21.