Coming off their victory in the McGill Invitational last week, the women’s cross country team continued to impress with a victory on Saturday at the Purple Valley Classic at Mt. Greylock Regional High School. The Ephwomen captured the meet title with 41 points, followed by Hamilton College (43 points) and St. Lawrence College (96 points). The team placed all seven of their top runners in the top 15. “That is a great accomplishment considering the large size of the race,” commented senior tri-captain Deb Frisone.
The individual title went to Connecticut College’s Maura Danahy, who won with a time of 19:29 on the slightly muddy course. The Ephs were led by Rebecca Atkinson ’00, who finished fourth with a personal best of 19:53. Atkinson was followed closely by up and coming First-year Melody Scheefer, who finished fifth with a time of 20:01.
“Their times were very good considering that it is generally a pretty slow course,” said head coach Kristen Morwick. The Ephs’ top seven were rounded out by Lauren Wiener ’01, Jonnie Vasse ’02, senior tri-captain Tara Crowley, Katie Sharff ’02 and Frisone.
The team’s victory came without its top two runners: senior tri-captain Lauren Krisko, who is recovering from an injury, and Courtney Bennigson ’01, who missed the beginning of the season to compete at the international level in the triathlon. “We’ve missed those two a lot,” Morwick said. “But they should both be back within two weeks.”
In the meantime, other runners are stepping up for the Ephs.
“Yesterday’s race was indicative of our depth in that everyone worked hard and did well, often improving on the races that we’ve already had,” Crowley stated. “Rebecca and Melody really stepped it up on Saturday.”
Morwick also was pleased with her team’s overall performance.
“It was a good run for people, and our team looked pretty good, especially since we’re coming
off all our summer injuries,” Morwick said.
The team captains believe that the results Saturday’s race bode well for the rest of the cross-country season. The number of racers with the potential to place in each race could put the Ephs in position to repeat last year’s New England D-III championship this fall.
“Saturday made me realize once again how much depth our team has,” Frisone said.
“For every one of us who has an ‘off’ race, there’s another person who has a great race. It keeps us going and hopefully it will keep us winning.”
The depth of the team has been augmented this season a large group of First-year runners. Led by Scheefer, these First-years are bringing important new talent to the team.
“We have such a big turnout this year, and it’s really great to have so many new faces running with us,” stated Frisone.
Crowley echoed that opinion.
“Both in terms of running ability and personality, the First-years are terrific,” Crowley said.
“I think that they will continue to improve a lot over the course of the season.”
The Ephwomen hope to continue their winning streak on Saturday when they travel to the Babson Invitational. The team will then compete against Williams cross-country alums in the Fall Foliage Frolic on October 9th, before gearing up for New Englands on October 15th.