Women’s XC takes 2nd at NESCACs

Women’s cross country braved wind and rain to claim a second-place finish at Saturday’s NESCAC championships on Williams’ home course at Mt. Greylock High School. Amherst claimed its second consecutive NESCAC crown, tallying 37 points to the Ephs’ 77. Bowdoin finished third with 109 points, while the next three spots went, respectively, to Middlebury (124), Colby (125) and Tufts (126).

For many NESCAC veterans who have faced similar conditions in past conference meets, the stormy weather came as no surprise. Many recalled the hurricane-like conditions of last year’s infamous championships, where flooded marsh areas left many runners with an irksome skin irritation forever remembered as “The NESCAC Rash.” Although Saturday’s conditions did not rival those of the 2006 championships, light rain caused puddles and muddy trails, while moderate-to-heavy winds resulted in slow times across the board.

At the 12:00 gun, the 122-women field dashed down the 500-meter opening stretch. Amherst quickly formed a tight pack up front, pacing among the conference’s top harriers. Leading the way for the Ephs was All-American Rachel Asher ’09 who took her usual position in the lead group. Captain Lissy Robie ’08, Lauren Philbrook ’09, Moira Yoe ’10 and Olga Kondratjeva ’10 stayed together in a tight pack near the front for the first two miles, while Elly Teitsworth ’10 and Jess Clarke ’10 bided their time a little further back in the field.

By mile two, the field had already spread out thinly and the Eph pack began to pass several of their NESCAC foes. Kondratjeva made a solid move to join the field’s top dogs, motivating her fellow teammates Robie, Philbrook and Yoe to continue picking off opponents. At mile two-and-change, Teitsworth utilized her classic kick, joining her fellow Ephs up front.

Asher was the top Eph scorer, finishing ninth with a time of 22:55. She was followed closely behind by Kondratjeva in 12th (23:06). Both earned All-NESCAC honors by cracking the top 14. Robie, Philbrook and Teitsworth took 16th (23:24), 19th (23:35) and 21st place (23:37) respectively to wrap up the Ephs’ top five scorers. Yoe and Clarke placed 22nd (23:38) and 32nd (23:56), rounding out the top seven squad. Amherst’s Heather Wilson was the individual champion, finishing in 21:57, an impressive time considering the conditions.

In the Open Race, the Ephs demonstrated their depth by sweeping the first five places. Natalia Rey de Castro ’09 led the Ephs with her 24:27 clocking, followed by teammates Beth Links (25:14), Tina Meade (25:25), Mallory Harlin (25:29) and Kelsie Meehan (25:32).

This Saturday Williams will host the ECAC championships at Mount Greylock High School for the second straight year. The Ephs’ second seven will represent the team at this competition, while the top seven enjoy a short rest before New England Regionals on Nov. 10.

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