Coming off its second place finish at NESCACs two weeks ago, women’s cross country traveled to Cumberland, Maine on Saturday to compete in the New England Regional Championships. Running without co-captain Bret Scofield ’10, the women ran a strong team race to finish third behind Middlebury and the champions from MIT.
With a final score of 99, Williams finished 36 points behind MIT and Middlebury, both of which amassed totals of 63 points with MIT winning on a tie-breaker. While MIT and Middlebury earned automatic bids to next week’s National Championships by virtue of finishing first and second at Regionals, Williams received an at-large bid from the NCAA selection committee and will also be representing New England at the national meet. This extends the women’s perfect streak of 17 consecutive appearances at the National Championships since NESCAC schools were first allowed to compete in 1993.
After finishing first for Williams at NESCACs, Jennifer Gossels ’13 continued her standout rookie campaign by leading the way for the varsity squad again, finishing in 11th place in a time of 22:09. Ten seconds behind her, Olga Kondratjeva ’10 continued her season’s upward trend by finishing 16th overall, equaling her finish at NESCACs. Rounding out the top five for Williams were Annie Dear ’13, Elly Teitsworth ’10 and Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 in 20th, 21st and 31st, respectively.
Williams’ sixth and seventh finishers were also very much in the mix, with Ariel Williams ’10 finishing 33rd overall, and Meghan Shea ’11 crossing the line 10 seconds later in 37th place. “The women’s race went out at a fast pace . . . but the squad positioned well early, worked well through the middle kilometers, and finished strong,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said.
After displaying great team depth throughout the year, Williams finished with six runners named to the All-Region team, a feat only equaled by MIT and Middlebury.
“The women got out a great start and moved up well during the second half of the race,” said Assistant Head Coach Patrick Wales-Dinan. “They finished with six All-Region runners, which is an impressive feat in what is considered by many to be the strongest women’s region in the nation for Div. III.”
This Saturday the women will race against the best competition in the country at the national meet in Cleveland, Ohio, where they will look to put the pieces together for a high national finish. Farwell expressed confidence in the squad’s abilities. “[They are ready to have the] best race of the season at NCAAs,” Farwell said.
After consistently racing at a high level throughout the season, the Ephs will use this week to rest and prepare for another run at the podium after finishing third at last year’s National Championships.