The Williams women’s cross country team showed their domination and power to the rest of New England as they easily claimed another victory at the Williams Invitational at Mt. Hope. They easily defeated second place finisher University of Albany, a Division I school, by a score of 22-68.
RPI finished third with 130 points, Mount Holyoke, fourth with 140 points, and Vassar, fifth with 172 points. There were a total of 11 teams.
The Ephs were once again led by sophomore sensation Courtney Bennigson ’01 who won the race in a blistering time of 19:44. On her heels was a very strong Lauren Krisko ’00 who finished second in 19:59. “I was especially impressed by those two because it is a significant accomplishment to break 20 minutes on this tough course,” said Head Coach Kristen Morwick.
Other top 10 Williams finishers were Deb Frisone ’00, fourth in 20:09, Lauren Wiener ’01, sixth in 20:22, and Tara Crowley ’00, ninth in 20:31. Rounding out the top seven were tri-captain Meg Randall ’99, eleventh in 20:41, and Kate Dreher ’99, twelfth in 20:42.
Because the meet was scheduled a week earlier than in previous years, fewer competitive teams were able to appear. This meet usually offers the Ephs a chance to see how they fare against other NESCAC schools like Middlebury, Amherst, and Trinity. However, despite the dearth of NESCAC competition, the Ephs made a statement about their team strength with this race.
“First of all, I think we were relieved that no mishaps occurred on the course. Everyone was able to finish in one piece,” said Crowley, referring to last year’s race, when one Williams runner passed out and another suffered a concussion.
“This is a tough course, no doubt about it, one of the toughest we will ever race, said Krisko. “But we rose to the occasion. It is rare occurrence that you find almost all of the team to be pleased with their race at one time.”
The race centers on the grounds of the Mt. Hope Mansion. The first mile entails mostly uphill, while the second mile, dominated by flat and downhill running, proceeds behind the mansion and into the woods surrounding it. The third mile, and the true test of the race, is composed of a 500-600 meter stretch of all uphill running followed by a downhill finish.
Despite the tough course and the unseasonably warm weather, the Ephs placed five in the top ten and ten in the top 20. “Right now this team is being heralded by a strong underclassmen contingent, Morwick said. “I think that is great, especially for upcoming years. But as for this year, this contingent is positive and excited to race. I hope to see good things continue happening for this team.”
Next weekend, the Ephs have a low-key competition as they take on the alumni in the alumni race on the Taconic Golf Course.