The Trinity College women’s cross country team coached by George Suitor (28th Season) kicked off the season with the annual Trinity Invitational on Saturday, September 7th at Wickham Park in Manchester. Although sophomore Isabela Montes De Oca was under the weather, she still raced and finished 26th overall in a field of 87 runners. Montes De Oca's family resides in Carpinteria, California, and they traveled across the country to support her for the first race of the season. The Trinity coaching staff has expressed a confidence in Montes De Oca's ability to perform at a high level, not only in cross country but in several of the middle distance events in track.

“Not running at this first meet was not an option in her mind,” said Trinity Associate Head Coach John Michael Mason.

“Izzy puts her team first and really cares about the sport,” said Coach Suitor. "She is easy-going and fits in well with everyone."

These are the types of phrases coaches use when describing their top athletes. Montes De Oca established a place for herself on the team quickly last year, posting two top-20 finishes in her rookie season of cross country and nearly cracking the top 100 in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships. In track and field, she competed at a high level and won the 1,500-meter run in the Trinity Invitational last spring.

Montes De Oca's love for running goes way back. Her passion for the sport was sparked during her attempts to keep in shape for soccer. In high school, she performed well and improved tremendously as a senior. She posted a personal record in 2018 in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:10.07, and added a top time of 2:21.40 in the 800-meter run. Montes de Oca was ready to tackle the sport at the college level, and her improvement senior year landed her all the way across the country at Trinity College.

When asked about her transition to the East Coast, Montes de Oca said “I love the team. They have really helped me ease into life Trinity.”

At Trinity, Montes de Oca balances three sports (cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track) all while juggling the demanding workload of a public policy & law major. The experience moving from the West to the East Coast has forced her to adjust quickly to change and new environments.

One of her newest experiences at Trinity has included track indoors in the winter. The Bantams' team environment is a positive one which has helped her make a smooth transition. She adjusted well enough to finish one place shy of earning All-New England recognition in the indoor 1,000-meter run.

Coach Mason said, “Izzy adapted really well to the indoor track season and seeing some of the success of her teammates has helped.”

“The men’s and women’s teams are very supportive of each other and over the years have built a strong team chemistry,” Coach Suitor explained. With the support of her teammates, coaches, and family, Izzy is ready to tackle the rest of the season.