Women’ s cross country claimed second place on its home course at ECACs last Saturday. The women, racing their second seven in preparation for Div. III New England’s, racked up a team total of 40 points, finishing second only to Middlebury with 25 points.
Saturday morning brought blue skies, and the race took place under almost perfect conditions. Williams managed to maintain a remarkably tight pack through most of the 6k race. This strategy allowed the team to stay strong at the front and limit the number of competitors pulling ahead. The women sustained their pack until late in the race, breaking up slightly only in the final stretch.
“We executed our packing strategy to near perfection this weekend, with all seven girls working together throughout the race to move up,” co-captian Natalie Davis ’12 said. “It was really the epitome of a team effort, as we played off of each other, taking turns leading so that we stayed fresh both physically and mentally.”
Middlebury’s Claire McIlvennie took first place overall with a time of 22:34. Williams’s top finisher was Kaleigh Kenny ’14. A strong finishing kick allowed Kenny to pull ahead of the tight Williams group and claim sixth with a time of 23:11. A strong pack allowed the next four Ephs to finish within nine seconds of one another. Molly Malinowski ’15 was at the front, finishing seventh with a time of 23:21. Brianne Mirecki ’14 came in only a second behind at 23:22, taking eighth overall. Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 was two seconds back in ninth with a final time of 23:24. Co-captain Elleree Erdos ’12 rounded out the path, taking 10th place with a time of 23:30. Amelia Ortiz ’15 was close behind the pack in 12th at 23:33. Davis took 16th place, completing the course in 23:53. All seven women placed in the top 20.
“The race was a testament to the depth of our team,” Erdos said. “Our second seven came through with a second-place finish against 46 other schools, many of which raced their top runners. I really think this strength comes not only from our physical training in workouts, but also from the unbelievable support and camaraderie of every one of our 39 runners.”
Head Coach Peter Farwell ’73 was especially proud of the performance. “[Saturday saw] tremendous group racing by our entire seven-athlete team and personal bests by almost all of them,” he said.
The women will race at Div. III NCAA New England’s at Bowdoin on Saturday. A win at Regionals would automatically qualify the team for Nationals on Nov. 19.