Epstein to Close Out Cross Country Career at Nationals
By Braden Snyder, Gettysburg College
GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Senior Kerrin Epstein (Moravia, N.Y./Moravia) has enjoyed a spectacular career as a member of the Gettysburg College women’s cross country team.
She’s earned All-Centennial Conference honors four straight seasons, and she has raced to All-Mideast Region status each of the last three years.
A week ago, she added another feather to her cap by reaching a goal she set for herself four years ago upon her arrival in Gettysburg – qualifying for the NCAA Division III national championships. The meet, hosted by Baldwin Wallace University, will be held this Saturday at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland, Ohio. The women’s race starts at 11 a.m.
“Going to nationals has been goal since my first season of collegiate cross country,” said Epstein. “There were smaller goals along the way, but nationals was always the overreaching aspiration.
“It's satisfying to set a goal, work for it, and then reach it,” continued Epstein. “Plus, my brother, Brendan, went to nationals for cross country his senior year of college, so I had to keep up the family tradition!”
“Kerrin is very fit and she has been racing smart all season,” said Gettysburg head coach Steve Shutt. “She has the chance to do very well on Saturday.”
Epstein qualified for nationals by placing third at the NCAA Division III Mideast regional, held this past Saturday at Lehigh University. It was the highest finish by a Bullet at the regional meet since Marth Orem ’84 placed second in 1983. Epstein finished just six seconds behind the meet winner and ran a career-best time of 21:45 for the 6,000-meter course. She is Gettysburg’s eighth individual national qualifier in women’s cross country and the first since Jaimie Bagatti ’04 in 2003.
“Kerrin has run in some very big races during her career at Gettysburg,” noted Shutt. “The differences between those and the NCAA meet are some of the ‘extras’ such as the athlete’s banquet the night before and the large number of spectators that come to a national meet. It will also be the first time Kerrin has raced without her teammates.”
Only two women’s cross country runners in school history have gained All-America distinction and none since 1981, when Orem placed 25th at the NCAA Division III Championships. One year earlier, Sue Fetherolf ’81 placed 14th at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Championships. The top 35 finishers are named All-Americans.
“My goal on Saturday is to place as close to the top 35 as possible and of course to have fun!” said Epstein. “My racing strategy will be to go out conservatively, and then pick up the pace over the last 3000 meters.”
“Kerrin has raced many of the top runners from other regions this season and done very well against them, so she is used to the level of competition she will find at the NCAA Championships,” said Shutt. “To be successful, Kerrin needs to be patient and stick to her race plan.”
Epstein was also named all-region in both 2008 and 2007, when she placed 17th and 27th, respectively.
At the Centennial Conference Championships this year, Epstein placed fifth to earn first-team all-conference distinction for the second year in a row. She was also a second-team All-Centennial honoree in both 2006 and 2007.