Gutsy performances and sheer determination paid off for the women’s cross country team as they claimed the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship at Babson College and qualified for the National Championships in Dickinson, PA next weekend. While they were ranked seventh nationally in the polls last week it all came together for the Ephs this weekend as they defeated rival Middlebury, who was ranked second in the nation last week, by a score of 74-93.
“This was the best race I’ve ever seen a cross country team run in my Williams coaching career,” said Head Coach Kristen Morwick.
Leading the pack for Williams for the second week in a row and earning All-New England Honors (top 35) were tri-captain Meg Randall ’99, finishing eighth in 18:21, a new personal best. She was followed by the big breakout performer of the race Tara Crowley ’00 who finished with a major personal best as well as All-New England Honors in thirteenth (18:34).
On Crowley’s heels were teammates and All-New England honorees Courtney Bennigson ’01, fourteenth in 18:38, Lauren Wiener ’01, seventeenth in 18:41 (personal best), Deborah Frisone ’00, twenty-fourth in 18:47 (personal best), and Lauren Krisko ’00, thirty-fifth in 19:02. Rounding out the seven, continuing her comeback and just barely missing All-New England Honors was tri-captain Amy MacDonald ’99, thirty-eighth in 19:07.
The winner of the race was Trinity’s Yolanda Flamino ’99 who finished with a new course record time of 18:01. Williams, with 74 points, and Middlebury, with 93 points, were clearly the dominant teams as a distant third place Colby finished with 164 points and fourth place Amherst finished with 182 points.
This was an especially sweet victory considering that Middlebury had beaten the Ephs in their four previous meetings. Middlebury, which normally packs up its second though fifth runners fairly tightly, an advantage in scoring, did not have such success at this meeting. Their five scoring runners finished 9, 10, 22, 27, and 28 (total of 93), while Williams scored runners in 8, 13, 14, 17, and 23 (total of 74).
“This was a team effort, pure and simple. While not everyone felt that they had an incredible race individually, we know that this was an incredible race for the team,” said Randall.
“Obviously it is going to be an incredibly talented field out there, but we are just as talented. This weekend definitely boosted our confidence, so who knows what can happen? Winning New Englands and going to Nationals was our primary goal for this season. Whatever comes after this is just gravy,” said Morwick.
Next weekend the Ephs travel to Dickinson to face the rest of the nation in the NCAA Division III National Championships.