Women’s cross country claims Little 3 victory

Women’s cross-country captured the Little Three Championship over rivals Amherst and Wesleyan on Saturday. The women finished with a team score of 20 points, placing them 24 points ahead of Amherst (44) and 58 ahead of Wesleyan (78). On Oct. 8, the women earned the top finish of any Div. III in the Div. I New England Championships in Boston. The women ran to fourth place overall with a team score of 165 points.

The women’s top finish in Little Threes was the result of several strong individual races. Eight Ephs were in the top 10, with only two runners from Amherst cracking the top bracket. Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 led Williams: She won the meet and finished the 5k course in 18:25, besting Amherst’s Keri Lambert by four seconds. Shayna Barbash ’14, Leslie Blackshear ’14 and Alison Smith ’15 were close behind, crossing the line in third (19:05), fourth (19:07) and fifth (19:16), respectively. Rounding out the women’s top seven, Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 claimed seventh (19:25) place, Anna Spiers ’15 took eighth place (19:27.4) and Olivia Delia ’12 cruised to ninth place (19:27.7).

The women’s team strategy going into the meet was to pack up in small groups for the opening half of the race. “It was a great race for our women as we packed up according to plan, ran smoothly past halfway then accelerated to move to a commanding team victory,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said. “Most everyone in our 33-athlete lineup performed quite well. We continue to be pleased with our leading runners finishing close together, and this meet [Del Piccolo] had an especially great race to defeat the Amherst No. 1, who had bested [her] weeks ago by 48 seconds.”

Del Piccolo was named NESCAC Performer of the Week for her race this weekend.

At Div. I New Englands on Oct. 8, the women’s strong team score was the result of the fantastic packing the squad achieved. Lead runners Smith and Del Piccolo crossed the finish line in 19th and 24th with times of 18:25 and 18:29, respectively. Barbash and Blackshear impressed in 33rd and 42nd with times of 18:39 and 18:46, respectively. Fellow Ephs Delia, Brianne Mirecki ’14 and Spiers rounded out the impressive pack, crossing the finish line in a five-second span. Delia secured 47th, Mirecki claimed 49th and Spiers finished in 52nd. The entire team finished within 31 seconds of Smith’s top time.

The women finished 12 points ahead of fifth-place Dartmouth and 51 points ahead of sixth-place Middlebury, the defending national champion. Boston College took first place overall.

“It was very exciting watching our team mix it up in [a] talented field that included so many top Div. I programs,” Assistant Coach Ben Raphelson said. “We matched up great against Middlebury, although we recognize that they held out their No. 3 runner. New England is historically the toughest region in the country on the women’s side, so a first place among Div. III teams shows us we’re on the right track.”

The women will next race at the Alumnium Bowl at home on Oct. 22. The race will kickoff at 12:30 p.m.

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