Women’s cross country finishes 8th at National Championships

On Nov. 21, women’s cross country raced in the National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. After finishing third in New England and receiving an at-large bid to the meet, the women finished eighth at nationals with Wisconsin-Eau Claire taking home the team title. The individual champion was Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence University in a time of 21:28.

A large portion of the team traveled to Cleveland to support the runners. The race started well for Williams as the women got off the line without incident and quickly began passing runners feeling the effects of the fast early pace. Jenn Gossels ’13 led the way for Williams en route to a 49th place individual finish, while Olga Kondratjeva ’10 used a strong second half to finish second for Williams six seconds later in 57th place. Elly Teitsworth ’10 also used a great last few kilometers to finish third for Williams in 82nd place, while Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 and Annie Dear ’13 rounded out Williams’ top five in 124th and 142th.

“The women showed strength and determination, as they moved up throughout the second half of the race,” said Assistant Coach Patrick Wales-Dinnan. “And Jennifer Gossels capped a tremendous season by placing in the top 50.” Gossels’ finish was the sixth highest ever by a female Williams freshman.

The women’s eighth place finish is even more impressive given the major setbacks that Meghan Shea ’11 and co-captain Bret Scofield ’10, Williams’ sixth and seventh finishers at Nationals, faced during the season. Scofield was consistently the Ephs’ second finisher before being forced to miss close to two weeks of training after being spiked badly during NESCACs. Not able to race at Regionals, Scofield made a courageous return to action at nationals but would have benefitted greatly from another week of preparation ahead of the meet.

All things considered, the women’s performance at nationals was one of the best team races of the season. “NCAA competition brings out the best in our team: a putting-it-on-the-line-together focus plus the ability and knack to peak both physically and mentally,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said.

The Ephs will now await next fall; with three of their top five finishers at Nationals returning to the squad and countless others waiting in the ranks, the team will have high expectations headed into next season.