XC women finish 2nd to qualify for NCAAs

Buoyed by several strong workouts in the weeks prior, an ECAC victory by its second seven the week before and a home course advantage, women’s cross country ran to a second place finish at the Regional NCAA Qualifier last Saturday. Excitement and raindrops were thick in the air as the women lined up following an outstanding first-place finish by the men’s team. Having tied Middlebury for the NESCAC championship two weeks prior, the women knew the competition would be stiff.

The gun was fired and the runners took off; with a field of 330 competitors, the team knew they had to get out fast. Right from the start, Head Coach Pete Farwell’s harriers established themselves in the top 50. At mile one the Ephs were still running conservatively, planning to move up throughout the race. At around two and a half miles, it became evident that this plan was working as co-captain Lauren Philbrook ’09 moved up into second place and the rest of the scoring runners progressed into the top 25.

Coming down the stretch, Williams and Middlebury were clearly the two teams competing for the top spot. Philbrook outpaced Middlebury’s top runner Alexandra Krieg to secure a second place finish in 22:28. Bret Scofield ’10 was next for the Ephs in 15th place, followed by Rachel Asher ’09 in 17th, Meghan Shea ’11 in 18th and Robin Kuntz ’09 wrapping up the scoring in 30th. Elly Teitsworth ’10 (31st) and Jessica Clarke ’10 (33rd) were the final Eph runners; all seven runners were All-Regional award recipients (the honor is awarded to the top 35 finishers).

The team score of 82 was not enough to defeat first place Middlebury with 57; however, it was sufficient to secure a berth at next weekend’s NCAA championships in Hanover, Ind.

Despite having lost two of the team’s top five runners to injury prior to Saturday’s race, the Ephs were still able to perform at a high level. “I am very proud of the way the team performed at our home course, and I think we can do even better next week,” Philbrook said.

Farwell agreed with Philbrook and was proud that both men and women’s cross country qualified for NCAAs this weekend. “What a day!” Farwell said. “The coaching staff is overjoyed with how the meet went.”

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