Women’s XC races to 2nd at NESCACs

Women’s cross country came in second on Saturday at the NESCAC Championship meet hosted by Hamilton in Clinton, N.Y. Williams finished all of its top seven runners in less than 24 minutes and was bested only by Middlebury, which finished five runners in the top ten for a score of 26 points.

Jennifer Gossels ’13 won the meet with a 22:13 time, an impressive 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Gossels ran what Assistant Coach Patrick Wales-Dinan described as “an extremely patient and smart race, finishing strong over the last 1000 meters.”

Head Coach Pete Farwell was equally impressed. “Jen ran an amazing race – she made it look effortless,” he said.

Annie Dear ’13 kicked into the finish close behind her classmate, coming in fourth overall with a time of 22:29, just ahead of Amherst’s first runner. “We had a little better spread against Amherst than we did at Little Three’s last week, which demonstrates some good improvement,” Farwell said. Amherst came in third on Saturday, with a score nearly double that of Williams. The Jeffs tallied 88 points to the Ephs’ tally of 49.

Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 rounded out the scoring group, finishing in eleventh place in a time of 23:00, followed closely by co-captains KK Durante ’11, who was bouncing back from a broken toe, and Tina Meade ’11, both of whom ran impressive races from a personal standpoint and finished in 16th and 17th places with times of 23:26.1 and 23:26.3, respectively. Runners six and seven were Celeste Berg ’13 and Chiara Del Piccolo ’14, who finished in the 20th and 22nd spots, Berg with a 23:31.4 and Del Piccolo with a 23.31.9.

Perhaps the most revealing battle on the Hamilton course, however, was with the conditions. “There was mud, a foot deep in places, and we were covered up to our waists,” Brianne Mirecki ’14 said. The women were up to the challenge, however, slogging through the mud to post impressive times.

“Despite the race conditions being the second-worst in the last 10 years, the women [remained] undaunted,” Wales-Dinan said, alluding to the infamous NESCAC meet held at Conn. College in 2006. While this year’s meet continued the longstanding NESCAC tradition of adverse racing conditions, it will be remembered more for the admirable performance of the harriers in the face of meteorological adversity.

The top-seven group will have an extra week to recuperate from Saturday’s arduous race as the second seven runners travel to Colt State Park in Bristol, R.I. to compete at the ECAC Championships. “We’re excited to see how good our depth is this year,” Farwell said of the decision not to run the top seven in this weekend’s race.

The top seven will not run again until next weekend at the NCAA New England Regional Qualifier, which Williams will host at its Mount Greylock High School home course on Nov. 13. The home meet will begin at 11 a.m.

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