By Steve Speedling
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist women’s cross country and track & field programs have selected five captains in advance of the 2020-21 season. Alexandra Bartolotta, Talia Cutrone, Maria Smith, Rebecca Walters of both the track & field and the cross country teams, along with Grace Cepeda of the track & field team, have been given the captain title for the new year.
Alexandra Bartolotta: Bartolotta returns for her fifth season in a Red Fox uniform, and her second as a captain. She has been instrumental to much of the Red Foxes’ success, earning medals at the conference championships and been named All-MAAC on multiple occasions in cross country. As a captain for the 2019-20 campaign, she led her teammates in and out of competition. Bartolotta currently holds career marks of 4:50.90 in the 1,500m, 5:09.38 in the mile, 10:03.51 in the 3,000m and 10:50.40 in the 3,000m steeplechase. She stands as one of the top steeplechasers in program history, and returns next year to improve on that status.
Talia Cutrone: Cutrone enters her senior year for the Red Foxes, and will take over a leadership role with the team. The ideal leader, Cutrone is one of the most respected runners on the team, and someone who many of the younger student-athletes look up to. She has made the MAAC All-Academic Team in each of the last two seasons, for cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Cutrone is coming off one of her best seasons at Marist in 2019-20, highlighted by a season-best performance in the 3k at the BU David Hemery Valentine Invitational.
Maria Smith: Smith will be entering her second consecutive year as a captain for the Red Foxes, as she was the lone junior captain last year. Smith has this distinction for a reason, as she has been a key leader and contributor for Marist ever since her freshman year in 2017-18. That year, Smith was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team, and even the All-MAAC Team, springboarding what would be an excellent career for the distance runner. She was also named to the MAAC All-Academic Team for all three sports in both 2018-19 and 2019-20. One of the best performances of her career came last seasons, when she notched a season best time at home in the 5k at the Marist Invitational.
Rebecca Walters: Walters is the lone junior captain of the women’s programs joining an elite group. However, although she is a junior, Walters has all the traits one would want in one of their captains. Walters is looked to as a mentor by many of the team, and has been a leader both on and off the track for the past two seasons. It is a surprise to nobody she was named a captain for the new season. Her accolades on the track are also aplenty, as she was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team in 2018-19, and took a big leap forward last year, making the All-ECAC Team. She made a big impact at the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Championships, clocking in with a personal best time in the 6k. Walters also made the MAAC All-Academic Team in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track last year.
Grace Cepeda: Cepeda enters her fourth and final season for the Marist track & field team, and her first as a captain. She is a role model on and off the track, having been named to the MAAC All-Academic Team each of the past two seasons. Cepeda is also a representative of the track & field team on the Marist Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Last season, she set a season best time in the 400m at the MAAC Indoor Championships.