Women’s cross country races to 1st place at Vassar Invitational

Women’s cross country dominated its season opener at Vassar last Saturday. This was the team’s first-ever appearance at Vassar’s Ron Stonitsch Invitational on the Vassar Farm. In a field of seven teams and almost 100 racers, Williams crushed the competition with a near-perfect score of 21 points. The women placed ahead of SUNY-New Paltz (87 points), Vassar (90 points), Stevens (97 points), Vassar Alumni Track Club (109 points), Scranton (133 points) and Bard (214 points).

In scoring cross country meets, teams add their top five places and the lowest number wins, the minimum possible score being 15 points, which would result from placing the top five in a race. Despite adverse weather, Williams claimed seven of the top 10 places, with Amelia Ortiz ’15 capturing the 5k individual title and Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 following as runner-up. Co-captain Brianne Mirecki ’14, Shayna Barbash ’14, Adrienne Strait ’15 and Meg Richardson ’16 finished in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth places, respectively. Ortiz was named NESCAC Women’s Cross Country Performer of the Week for her outstanding performance at the meet.

To ease the team into the season, Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 instructed the athletes to run the first part as a tempo workout then to steadily increase their pace, never racing all-out, to finish with a powerful kick.

“I think this shows the toughness and focus of our women, who executed our race plan perfectly. Our women were unfazed, despite having trouble seeing the course toward the end, and surged forward with strong finishing kicks amid the worst of teh conditions,” Assistant Coach Lance Harden said.

The Ephs were not at full force last weekend, with some seniors on campus for convocation ceremonies and a few teammates sidelined due to summer training injuries.  Last weekend’s racers included one senior, co-captain Celeste Berg ’13, seven juniors, eight sophomores and nine rookies. The team welcomes 11 rookies from across the country for the upcoming season.

The women will host the Purple Valley Invitational at Mount Greylock High School this Saturday. The frosh/JV 5k race will kick off  at 11:30 a.m., followed by the women’s varsity 6k race at 12:45 p.m.

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