Women’s cross-country ran a strong season opener on Saturday at the Dartmouth Invitational, one of the first athletic events Dartmouth has hosted since Harry Sheehy ’75 arrived to take over as athletic director. At the meet, Williams took on Middlebury, Dartmouth and Yale over a roughly 3.28-mile course, a distance slightly longer than a 5k but still short of the usual 6k race. A close contest, Saturday’s results document a close 66-second difference between the cumulative times of first-place Dartmouth and fourth-place Williams. Middlebury and Yale came in second and third, respectively, with the latter edging out Williams by only five points.
Despite the loss, all of the women ran extremely promising races, with especially outstanding performances from returning runners Jennifer Gossels ’13, who came in second place overall with a time of 20:28.80, and Annie Dear ’13, who finished close behind her teammate in fifth with a time of 20:39.35. Rounding out the top five scored runners were Olivia Fay ’14, Celeste Berg ’13 and Ceci Davis-Hayes ’11. Those three Ephs completed the course with times of 21:11.1, 21:12.01 and 21:17.30, respectively. The sixth and seventh runners, newcomer Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 and co-captain KK Durante ’11, finished close behind.
“I think we accomplished our mission and set a good mark for the group going to the meet next week,” said Head Coach Pete Farwell of the season’s beginning. A different group of runners will be competing at the Middlebury Invitational on Saturday, including co-captain Meghan Shea ’11 and another set of promising first-years.
Enthused to be running for Williams, the Class of 2014 contributed greatly to the team’s effort at this Saturday’s meet, with four of the team’s top-ten finishers being first-years. “I was very pleased with the first-year performances,” Farwell commented. Co-captain Tina Meade ’11 agreed and expressed excitement and enthusiasm for the rest of the season. “Everyone looked really solid,” she said. “It’s a good sign for things to come.”
Overall, the women are looking forward to the rest of their season with high expectations and a level of confidence to match. Empowered by strong summer training, the Ephs are ready to launch with full force into the coming months’ racing. Members of every class from the first-years to the seniors are poised to contribute to this season’s squad as the team welcomes 15 rookies, more than enough runners to replace the 11 Ephs who graduated last spring.
Following next weekend’s meet at Middlebury, the team will host its first home meet in the Purple Valley classic on Sept. 25. Furthermore, this year’s NCAA Div. III New England Regional Cross Country Championships will also be held at the team’s Mt. Greylock High School home course on Nov. 13.