Heidi Caldwell by John Keklak
Yes, they finished seventh last year in the snowfest of Heps, but don’t count out the Brown Bears from a top-half finish on Saturday. After all, the Bears have a very strong top three in senior captain Olivia Mickle (Sacramento, Calif.) and junior Margaret Connelly (Chicago, Ill.) and Heidi Caldwell (Hanover, N.H.).
Mickle — an NCAA qualifier in the 10k last spring — ran very strong at the Paul Short Run earlier in the season, taking 11th in a field of nearly 400. Connelly was the team’s top finisher at Heps in Princeton a year ago and Caldwell shocked the college track world by beating NCAA Champion and near-Olympian Abbey D’Agostino in the Indoor Heps’ 5k in the winter.
So while the Bears are strong up front, Coach Mitchell Baker will need two others to step up with solid performances for a full-team success story. The leading candidates are seniors Bree Shugarts (Lewistown, Pa.) and Elaine Kuckertz (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) along with sophomores Leah Eickhoff (Hanover, N.H.) and Alexandra Conway (Manchester, N.H.). — Patricia Melton