Women’s cross country claims 3rd straight Little Three title

Women’s cross country outran Amherst and Wesleyan at Wesleyan this Saturday to claim the team’s third consecutive Little Three title.

Wesleyan hosted this year’s incarnation of the annual event on its 5k home course in Middletown, Conn. The relatively flat course consists of a grassy loop around an upper field followed by a descent through the woods to a second loop below. Just before the finish, the runners must ascend a short but extremely steep slope and loop around the upper field once more. The challenging climb did not daunt the women, for as the initially cloudy day turned sunny and warm, the Ephs prepared to take on their competition.

Saturday’s race truly demonstrated the depth of the women’s team: Four runners crossed the line in the top ten and ten finished in the top twenty. Annie Dear ’13 led the Eph pack, kicking it into the finish for a first-place time of 18:28. Jen Gossels ’13 followed close behind for an overall third-place finish in 18:45.

Williams’ third runner was also a sophomore: Celeste Berg ’13, rebounding from an injury, ran to a sixth place finish in 18:54. Though she has only been running sporadically for the past two weeks, she has spent the previous six in intense cross training, primarily in the pool. “I’m just happy to be running again,” Berg said, and she credited her pool workouts with her ability to race well so soon after her return to running.

Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 cruised across the finish next for the women, finishing in 19:00 and seventh place, followed by co-captain Tina Meade ’11, who came in eleventh with an impressive kick in 19:25. Together, Williams scored 28 points to Amherst’s 34 and Wesleyan’s 74, claiming six- and 46-point victories over the team’s long-time rivals, respectively.

“Amherst was very competitive this week – much improved even in the two weeks since we raced them – but we responded very well,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said.

The next three Williams runners all finished within a second of each other at 19:27. The tight, strong pack was made up entirely of rookies, as Emily Barreca ’14, Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 and Brianne Mirecki ’14 respectively claimed the 14th, 15th and 16th places. Leslie Blackshear ’14 finished soon after in 17th with a time of 19:31. Williams’ 10th runner, Olivia Delia ’12, completed the course in 20th place with a time of 19:40.

For those on the squad not continuing to the postseason, this week’s race marked their final intercollegiate meet of the fall. There are some runners, however, for whom the season is far from over. The top 12 will race in the NESCAC Championship meet at Hamilton on Saturday as the postseason gears up. The team’s season will continue through November.

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