Women’s cross country advances to NCAAs

Women’s cross country finished second at the New England Div. III championships on Saturday, earning the squad a spot at nationals this weekend. The Ephs’ strong posting of 96 points wasn’t enough to top the Jeffs’ squad, which ran away with only 40 points. Forty-seven teams – 344 runners in total – showed up to compete at Conn. College’s Harkness Park.

The 6k course was slightly altered after last year’s infamous NESCAC championship through torrential rain and driving wind. The course no longer included the marsh loop that left many harriers with an unsightly “NESCAC rash” but this year’s route still featured the beautiful waterfront views. With many open field loops, the race provided great spectating, and with a noticeably flat route the course also allowed for some fast times. Saturday’s cool temperatures, dry ground and sunny skies made for perfect racing conditions.

At the 11 a.m. gun the Ephs started out strong with Rachel Asher ’09 and captain Lissy Robie ’08 pushing their way to the front of the pack. Olga Kondratjeva ’10 and Elly Teitsworth ’10 held back for a more conservative start, but soon began working their way up to their teammates as other weary runners began to falter. As the race continued, a large cluster of purple harriers grouped together, pushing one another toward the finish.

Kondratjeva was the first Williams harrier to cross the line, clocking in with a time of 21:59, good enough to capture eighth place. Not far behind Kondratjeva was teammate Asher in 11th (22:09). In a breakout race, Teitsworth and captain Liz Gleason ’08 finished within one second of one another in 24th (22:31) and 25th (22:32), respectively. Robie (28th, 22:33) and Lauren Philbrook ’09 (30th, 22:39) joined their teammates in earning New England All-Region honors by placing in the top 35. Moira Yoe ’10 rounded out the Williams top seven with a strong finish of 22:54 in order secure 46th place.

This weekend’s NCAA championships will be held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

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