Women harriers second at Tufts

Mother Nature smiled down on women’s cross country once again as they ran under fantastic conditions at the Tufts Invitational held on Saturday. The traditional 5-kilometer distance was spaced out behind the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Mass., and consisted of mostly grass and rolling hills.

Clinching the team title for Saturday’s meet was Middlebury College with 35 points. Close behind the Middlebury women were the Ephs with 54 points, who were followed by Amherst with 64 points. “It was nice to knock-off Amherst, as they were ranked second in New England and we were ranked third,” said head coach Pete Farwell.

Leading the Williams women’s squad for the third straight weekend was co-captain Julia Bensen ’03. Bensen finished in second place with an impressive time of 18:21 to Middlebury’s Emily Korot and her winning time of 18:05.

Also finishing within the top fifteen competitors were two other Williams women.

Jenn Campbell ’05 secured a solid fourth place finish with her time of 18:30. The next finisher for Williams was co-captain Katie Sharff ’02 with her impressive time of 19:20.

Four additional Williams runners were responsible for forming the top seven for Saturday’s competition. Completing the race as Williams fourth finisher was Ann Schorling ’03 in a time of 19:33. Eve Besant ’04 was the next finisher behind Schorling with her time of 19:37. Following closely behind Besant was Paige McClanahan ’04, who recorded a time of 19:40. The final member of Williams top seven was Danner Hickman ’05 who recorded a personal best time of 20:01.

Completing the race not far behind the top seven finishers was the second pack, or the second seven. The second seven was led by Katie Davisson ’05, who finished in a time of 20:08.

Following behind Davisson was Katie Marsh ’05 with her time of 20:30. Finishing close behind Marsh was Kali Moody ’05 in a time of 20:41. The next finisher for Williams was Laura Bothwell ’02 with a time of 20:45. Erin Kempster ’04 and Miranda Whitmore ’02 were the next Williams finishers with their times of 20:51 and 20:53.

Rounding out the second seven for the team was Marsha Habbib ’05 in 21:21.

Additional competitors for Williams on Saturday were Sarah Iams ’04 who finished in 22:49, Jenn Cahill ’02 in 23:32, Bethany Smith ’05 in 23:59 and Janine Kagle ’05 in 24:37.

The Ephs were not at full strength during the race either, as several members were forced to rest during Saturday’s competition due to injury or illness. Heather Lindenman ’04, co-captain Terri O’Brien ’02, Zinnia Wilson ’05, Krista Harrison ’04, Caroline Dekker ’05 and Jonnie Vasse ’02 were all unable to compete. Attending the meet to support the team but still unable to compete due to recent injury was Susie Theroux ’05.

Saturday’s competition did not only have a positive outcome, it also left positive impressions on all team members as well as the coaching staff. Entering the meet the team had designated a goal of trying to run the first mile conservatively, in order to pick up the pace and run a faster second mile than first.

When questioned about this strategy, Coach Pete Farwell seemed satisfied with the results it had reaped. Farwell’s high-points for the meet included “accomplishing the middle-mile hard and that almost everyone had a faster second mile than first.

The team is gradually progressing to put the whole race together and in two weeks we will be ready to run a solid 5K at New England’s. The times were much faster than I expected them to be at this point in the season.”

“Our runners have been very consistent; they are getting stronger and stronger,” said Sharff. “The team ran a very relaxed race today in comparison to the other teams. Everyone continues to improve – a lot of people haven’t reached their full potential yet. By late October, the improvements will be immediately apparent.”

As the team prepares for yet another week of training, it is nice for them to know that next weekend will bring a pause to the intense competition.

The Williams teams will host the Annual Alumni Fall Foliage Frolic next Saturday at their home course at Mount Greylock high school.

At the meet, there will be an open 5K beginning at noon, which will include both Williams’ competitors and alumni who choose to return for an afternoon of visiting and running. In addition to the open 5K will be a women’s 4k which will be held at 12:45 p.m.