Women’s cross country tops at Little Threes

Despite weather that was almost bad enough to justify wearing bunners over tights Superman-style, the Ephs handily ran away with the Little Three Championship on their home course at Mt. Greylock High School Saturday, marking their 15th Little Three victory in the last 16 years.

Williams runners placed in the first, second, third, fifth and seventh slots for a combined score of 18, just three points over a perfect score of 15. The race for second was close though, with Amherst (4, 10, 12, 13, 17) just barely edging out Wesleyan (6, 8, 14, 15, 16) 56 to 59. Williams would have been even farther ahead had the true places been added, but in cross country scoring all the spots belonging to a team after their seventh runner are reassigned to teams still incomplete.

For the second week in a row, captain Julia Bensen ’03 and Caroline Cretti ’06 crossed the finish line side by side for first, this time without Jenn Campbell ’05, however, who raced more conservatively this week due to a sensitive hamstring.

Michelle Rorke ’06 took third in 18:55, just ahead of Amherst’s top runner Carter Hamill, who landed fourth in 18:58. Campbell followed in fifth (19:09). “You know how good we are when Jenn Campbell is fourth for us and we still do so well,” one runner commented.

As usual, the final scorer for the Ephs was Katie Marsh ’05, clocking in at 19:23 in seventh place. Kali Moody ’05 trailed her by just under 30 seconds, coming in ninth in 19:51.

Ann Schorling ’03 led the next pack of Williams runners down the home stretch, finishing in eleventh place with a time of 20:08. Mary Iaculli ’06 (13th, 20:12) joined her in the chute seconds later, immediately followed by Susie Theroux ’05 (14th, 20:12). Danner Hickman ’05 covered the 3.1 mile course in 20:35, good for 18th place out 54 runners.

The women were glad to go back to their familiar 5K course Saturday, after last week’s muddy 6K. Though this week found the course only wetter and muckier, the times did not suffer too much.

The many personal records and improvements since last year and earlier this season are too numerous to elaborate upon, and there are sure to be more than a few additions to the Mt. Greylock High School 5K Honor Roll.

Head Coach Pete Farwell was clearly proud of the team. “It was a convincing victory,” he said, “with many great races, several big breakthroughs, and good comebacks for those who have been out of the lineup.”

Two such comebacks were evinced by captain Paige McClanahan ’04 and Emily Fertig ’06. McClanahan has been battling tendonitis ever since the Dartmouth Invitational on September 14, and Fertig had been out with a stress fracture in her foot since the first race of the year at Middlebury.

Though both felt the effects of not having raced in a while, each ran respectably, with McClanahan coming through in 20:48 at 22nd place, and Fertig at 24th in 21 minutes flat. Both aim to be ready for the bigger meets coming up.

After Fertig, Emily Welsh ’05 was the next Eph to finish, claiming 33rd place in 21:41. Half a minute later was Jasmine Mitchell ’03, coming in 38th with a time of 22:11. This was the first race of the year for Maya Kessler ’05, who placed 40th in 22:27, leading in a loose pack consisting of Sarah Iams ’04 (41st, 22:32), captain Alicia Andrews ’03 (42nd, 22:39) and Elizabeth Gress ’06 (44th, 22:48).

Lisetta Shah ’06 battled back from a fall at the mile mark and finished in 46th place at 23:18. In her first complete race of the year, Hayley Wynn ’06, who had suffered from hamstring problems to this point, came in 48th in 23:33.

Not far behind Wynn was Alexis Chernak ’05 (51st, 23:44) and wrapping it up for the Ephs was Sarah Connell ’06, who came through in 25:01 for 52nd place.

The Ephs benefited from more encouragement than usual this week, due to the welcome presence of parents, siblings, and other relatives here for Family Weekend.

After the race, the parents put on a mouth-watering picnic in the high school gym for the hungry runners. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and even more fun was still to come when the runners ditched their parents for the Cross Country Costume Party later than night at Thompson.

Looking ahead, next week the Ephs will head out to the Tufts Veterinary School campus in Grafton, Mass. where they will be the team to beat for the NESCAC Championship title.

The Ephwomen played second fiddle to the Middlebury Panthers at last year’s NESCACs. With 59 points, Williams came in 11 points off Middlebury’s pace.