Fifty-one teams descended on Williamstown this weekend for Saturday’s New England Regional Championships, and the course at Mount Greylock High School was packed with over 300 runners for the women’s cross country race. The women finished the day in second place, qualifying automatically for the National meet next weekend in Wartburg, Iowa.
“There’s a lot of excitement at this meet because it’s a simultaneous national qualifying meet and a New England Championship,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said. “Unlike other sports, nothing is measured by a team’s cumulative record – teams have one shot to run well.”
The top two teams in the region were guaranteed a spot on the line in Iowa, with more at-large bids potentially available. The top seven individual finishers also automatically qualify. In addition to Williams, first-place finisher Middlebury will be sending a women’s team to the national meet. Potential at-large team qualifiers include third place Amherst and fourth place MIT.
Jen Gossels ’13 put the capstone on Saturday’s intense race with a first-place finish, outracing Keene State’s Paige Mills in the final kick. Her time was 21:42, seven seconds faster than the previous course record for the Mount Greylock 6k. The previous record of 21:49 was held by Amherst runner Elise Tropiano. The Eph’s performance earned her NESCAC Performer of the Week honors.
Lauren Golstein-Kral ’12 came in second place for Williams and 10th place overall with a time of 22:45. Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 came in next, running to 16th in 22:53. The fourth and fifth runners were Celeste Berg ’13 and KK Durante ’11, finishing in 25th and 39th places respectively in times of 23:11 and 23:36.
Three Williams women finished in the top 20, another indication of the team’s impressive strength. Equally impressive is the fact that all five of the scoring runners finished in under 24 minutes. Only five teams in the field were able to accomplish this feat.
Though one of the team’s top runners, Annie Dear ’13, had to drop out of the race due to injury, the women were still able to come in second against an impressive field. “Everyone responded extremely well,” Farwell said. “For us to still come in second despite how strong MIT and Amherst ran is a great indication of our strength.”
The top seven women will travel next week to Wartburg College to round out their season at the National Championship meet.