The past two weeks have marked the transition of the Williams women’s cross-country team from the low key invitational meets into their championship season. On Friday October 15, the Ephs challenged over 40 teams at the All New England meet in Franklin Park, Boston. The meet brought together teams from all three divisions with a championship race and an open race. Senior captain Deborah Frisone remarked that “up until this point in the season our meets have been pretty small, without a lot of stiff competition. So getting the chance to race against some of the best Division I schools in the nation was exciting.”
The Ephs fared very well against this stiff competition, placing 11th overall in the championship race of 42 teams. Boston College senior Shannon Smith won with a time of 17:25. First for the Ephs was junior Courtney Bennigson placing 42nd in a time of 18:28. Right behind Bennigson were senior Rebecca Atkinson, senior captain Tara Crowley and first-year Melody Scheefer with times of 18:46, 18:56 and 18:59, respectively. Rounding out the top seven were junior Lauren Weiner, sophomore Jonnifer Vasse and junior Sandra DiPillo with times of 19:03, 19:06 and 19:32, respectively.
Leading the open race for Williams was senior captain Lauren Krisko, returning from recent injuries. Krisko placed 15th with a time of 19:12 on the five-kilometer course. Coach Kristen Morwick was very pleased with her team’s performance. “As a whole the team raced well in both races, with many racing faster than the previous year at Franklin Park,” she said. On Saturday, October 23, the Williams women hosted Amherst College and Wesleyan University at the Little Three on a changed home course.
Due to the rain and muddy conditions of Mt. Greylock High School, several portions of the course were eliminated, and a new loop was substituted. Amherst won by one point over Williams, who was missing four of their top runners: Atkinson, Vasse, Scheefer and sophomore Katie Sharff. Overall scores were Amherst 32, Williams 33, and Wesleyan 60.
The Ephs were very disappointed; as Crowley comments, “it was tough to lose a meet that we should have won easily, but we were missing four of our top runners. We’d rather have them physically and mentally healthy for the bigger meets than do something detrimental at a smaller meet.”
Katie Scangos of Amherst finished first with a time of 19:02. Bennigson led the Ephs once again by finishing second in a time of 19:17. Close behind were Crowley, Weiner and Frisone with times of 19:31, 19:54 and 20:01 on this difficult course. Completing the top seven for the Ephs in a close pack were Krisko, junior Joey Shapiro and DiPillo in times of 20:20, 20:22 and 20:23. “We may have lost the battle but we’ll win the war.” says coach Morwick, “Courtney [Bennigson] had a great race, as did Tara [Crowley] with a gutsy finish passing Amherst at the line.
“We witnessed the return of Deb Frisone with a great race and huge boost for the team. With Sandra [DiPillo] and Krisko still coming back from injury, we really had to rely on some people that just weren’t used to stepping up and carrying the team. [It was a] tough day, but we’ll get them at NESCAC.”
Next week the Ephs travel to Hamilton for the NESCAC race.