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Mills College hosts 23rd annual cross country invitational

Junior Amandla Roque completed the five kilometer invitational race looping around Mills College’s campus. The event hosted 22 other school teams from California. (Bonnie Horgos)

Onlookers stood on the sideline holding umbrellas during Mills College’s 23rd annual cross country invitational.

The event, held on Saturday, September 18, hosted 22 teams of 145 women and 95 men running various race courses. Participating schools included Bethany University, Whittier College and Dominican University.

Women ran a five kilometer route and men ran an eight kilometer route, looping throughout the campus and beginning and ending beyond Richards parking lot.

Compliance officer and sports information director Elese Lebsack said the misty morning was ideal for the invitational.

Dr. Joi Lewis, Dean of student life, ran the course. She said she will participate in an event with each Mills sports team this year. (Bonnie Horgos)

“This is actually perfect running weather because when it’s too hot, times go down,” Lebsack said. “It’s cool enough.”

But even without sun, runner Lindsey Bozym said the course was grueling.

“It was really hard, but I feel like our team did really well and I’m really proud of them,” Bozym, a freshman, said. “I’m a little bit out of it, like staggering about, but I feel accomplished. I’m going to sleep well tonight.”

Not everyone who ran was on the cross country team, though. Dr. Joi Lewis, Mills College’s dean of student life, ran the course. Lewis said she planned to participate in an event with each Mills sports team this year.

“I ran a marathon about ten years ago and then I gained 100 pounds, but I just lost it,” Lewis said. “It was fabulous. It was awesome to be out there and to know the team was out there.”

Lewis said the race course had difficult stretches.

“Pinetop hills in the killer,” Lewis said, referring to the steep ascent behind Founders dining hall. “It’s no joke.”