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Caroline Cretti

Sophomore at Williams College

DIII Eastern Regional Champion - 2003

Above : Caroline Cretti during her freshman campaign that ended in all-American recognition.

Top Left: Cretti is shown running down the leaders near the halfway point of the 5K race.

Left : Cretti nears the finish line while winning the DIII EasternRegional Championships

Last year Caroline Cretti made the long move from Carbondale, Colorado to Williams College. Once there, she took the NESCAC cross country scene by storm. After solid placements in her mid-season meets Cretti dominated competition in the league championship meet, winning by over 30 seconds. She then went on to win the “hat trick” of league honors. She garnered First Team All-NESCAC, NESCAC Rookie of the Year and NESCAC Runner of the Year recognition. Cretti ended her inaugural season by leading Williams to a runaway DIII National Championship, placing 5th overall and joining with four other teammates as all-American.

Now it is 2003, and this past Saturday she competed at the DIII Eastern Regionals. Coming off a recent injury, Cretti showed her resilience by defeating a strong field. This week Cretti took a few minutes with to talk about her season and prospects for the upcoming DIII Championships.

northrunning : I see you are a long way from home. What brought you to Williams College?

Cretti : My mom grew up in Connecticut, so every summer, my family would come out east from CO to visit her family. I just always loved the east and knew I wanted to come out here. Something about it just seemed to fit!

northrunning : What other colleges had you been considering?

Cretti : The decision really came down to Middlebury and Williams. I chose Williams just because it "felt" better. I just liked it THAT much really came down to the wire though, and I decided to apply early to Williams only four days before the application was due! I had thought that I would definitely choose Middlebury, but at the last minute I changed my mind. Before those two, I looked briefly at Dartmouth, Duke, and other smaller NESCAC schools, but never very seriously.

northrunning : Tell me a little about your hometown. I’ve only been to Boulder and Estes Park. What’s Carbondale like?

Cretti : Carbondale is probably pretty similar to Estes Park. It is about 20 minutes from Aspen and is right in the mountains. It is a ranching town, but lately has grown and become sort of a sub-resort town for Aspen. Running is NOT a big deal there, and I actually had to go to a town nearby to run XC!!!! I just left school 15 minutes early and drove down!

northrunning : Is it high altitude there?

Cretti : Yup, but I think high altitude training is highly over-rated!!! Look at all the absolutely AMAZING runners who never train up high! I know that there are some proven advantages, but I think in the long run, it all balances out.

northrunning : What do you do in the off season?

Cretti : Off season? My favorite things are long, slow runs, so in between seasons, I do more of those!!!

northrunning : I notice you won a few races early in the season and then you’re missing from some results. Were you hurt?

Cretti : I did get hurt in October, so from the first week in October until NESCAC' November 1, I was completely NOT running, just x-training.

northrunning : What was the nature of the injury?

Cretti : I had a stress fracture in my foot, but had thought it was a neuroma or tendonitis, so I kept running. But because I adjusted my stride, I sort of messed up my knee...and that’s when I realized I had a stress fracture. Not so fun!!! But I think that most long-term, long-distance runners have to experience some sort of injury at some point...

northrunning : Apparently everything is all right now?

Cretti : Yup (knock on wood)...getting back into the swing of things!!!

northrunning : I notice the Williams web-site considered this a breakthrough race for you. Is that how you viewed it?

Cretti : I think they were referring to my injury, and how I haven't raced in awhile. : Did you have any particular strategy for the race?

Cretti : There was no specific race plan, because it was still sort of unclear where I stood after being injured. Just to make sure not to go out to fast and then push the pace and stick with Jenn Cambell, a teammate who did AMAZINGLY and placed 5th overall. I don't know if I ever really made a "surge" but just kept trying to close the gap on the front group, then OPENED the gap, once I felt good!!

northrunning : What are your goals for the Nationals?

Cretti :????? To just keep getting stronger and for the team to really come together!! I think if everything works out, some incredible things could happen!! VERY EXCITING!!!! The team is so amazing and to run with them is SUCH a thrill and privilege!!!

northrunning : Do you have any other competition plans after your season is over?

Cretti : Just to get ready for Indoor track...but my coach may have me compete in a meet before Christmas to qualify for Indoor Nationals since I haven't raced a lot yet and am just getting back into it...we haven't really thought about it...just focused on this weekend!

northrunning wishes Caroline Cretti and the rest of her Williams teammates good luck at Nationals!