Women’s X-C places second in NESCAC

Armed with their new mascot, Morris the MOOve-it-Moose, the Willams Women’s Cross Country team ran strong to finish second to Middlebury (64 to 39) at the NESCAC championships held Saturday at Amherst College.

The runners clipped along in the first mile, a relatively flat, winding jaunt through the woods, and conserved energy through the boggy meadow loop, parts of which were literally ankle-deep mud pits.

Said Maywa Montenegro ’01, “It was a definite advantage to have raced here last week; we knew exactly how to tackle the course, not killing ourselves in the meadow so that we could really burn up the last mile.”

Adding one more race to a so-far stellar season, Julia Bensen ’03 finished third in a time of 18:48, just two seconds behind the winner, Jessica Johnston of Middlebury, and less than a second behind Leslie Crofton of Tufts.

Co-captain Joey Shapiro ’01was close behind in 18:57, followed by co-captain Courtney Bennigson ’01 (19:39), Sandra Dipillo ’01 (19:40), Katie Sharff ’02 (19:43), Maya Kessler ’04 (20:02) and Lauren Wiener ’01 (20:08). Thus, the top seven were all within 80 seconds of each other, an outcome that is undoubtedly the result of the strong pack training the women have done this season.

The depth of talent on the team is tremendous, as the second seven was not far behind. Heather Lindenmann ’04 led the group in (20:21), followed by Elizabeth Roller ’01 (20:26), Maywa Montenegro ’01 (20:44) and Laura Bothwell ’02 (21:35).

After quickly downing Balance Bars to replenish their glycogen stores, the women were back out on the course to cheer the men’s varsity race and the men and women’s open race.

“It’s a real cross-country day,” said Bensen, of the crisp but sunny weather that had spectators—many of them parents up for parents’ weekend—huddling in coats and wool hats.

Julia had no problem staying warm, however, as she had Morris zipped into her jacket for the ‘cool-down’ jog. Morris will accompany the second seven Ephwomen this coming weekend when they travel to Grafton for the ECAC championships.

The following week, the top seven return, to conquer Division III New England’s at UMass-Dartmouth.