Despite an unexpected delayed race time and a short course, women’s cross-country displayed the depth of their the talent is on their team by claiming their first ever McGill Invitational Championship. In the end, the team scores were close; but Williams came out on top by one point over University of Western Ontario.
The final score was 51-50. Division III foes Plattsburgh State and University of Southern Maine finished third (59) and fourth (85), respectively. Host team McGill finished fifth with 117 points.
Once again, Courtney Benningson ’01 led the way for the Ephs with a third place finish on the 4K course in 14:27, barely five seconds off the winner, Julia Canino of Plattsburgh. Freshman phenom Jonny Vasse was the second Williams runner in ninth (14:49). Right on her heels was powerhouse Lauren Krisko ’00 in tenth (14:51).
Rounding out the top seven runners were Lauren Wiener ’01, 12th in 14:56, Deb Frisone ’00, 16th in 15:09, Tara Crowley ’00, 17th in 15:14, and tri-captain Meg Randall ’99, 21st in 15:29.
“I think this was a very encouraging race for early in the season. I think that the strong performances indicate how deep this team is with talent. They also indicate that we are further along in our performance progress than we were at this point last year,” said tri-captain Amy MacDonald ’99.
Unlike their normal races, this one was unusual because it was a 4K (2.4 miles) race rather than the standard 5K (3.1 mi.). The course consisted of a 1/3-1/2 miles gradual uphill in Montreal’s Mt. Royal Park followed by a flat run the road and then an uncontrollable downhill. The entire 2K loop was run twice.
In addition to the exciting course was the fact that the race was delayed 15-20 minutes because the southern Maine team arrived late. However, this unexpected turn of events did not break the Ephs’ concentration. They managed to stay warm and focused until race time.
The team’s depth was indicated by the fact that a mere 1:02 separated Williams first and seventh runners. Only 37 seconds separated seventh from fourteenth runner.
“This team is tremendously talented. The key is to keep everyone healthy. We still have more strong runners who are making their way back from injuries which should make this team even stronger,” said Head Coach Kristen Morwick after the meet.
Last weekend, the team went to Middlebury College for an early season duel with New England rivals Middlebury. While the Ephs lost by only four points, they were missing some of their strong runners because of injury or Commencement exercises. Benningson easily won the race in 18:38.
Next weekend the Ephs host the Williams Invitational at the treacherous Mount Hope Farm course.