Women’s XC captures Little Three championship

Women’s cross country demonstrated its strength and talent with impressive performances over two consecutive weekends in the middle of its competitive season. At Amherst last weekend, Williams snagged a dominant Little Three Championship victory, a performance that followed up the team’s eighth-place showing among 55 teams at the Div. I Open New Englands, which was held at Westfield State on Oct. 7. Boston College took home top honors at Div. I Open New Englands on the strength of a 45-point result.

Last weekend’s Little Three meet was a more intimate affair than Westfield’s large Oct. 7 invitational. The women claimed the title for the fifth straight year in this historical meet between Williams (24 points), Amherst (45) and Wesleyan (70).

“Little Threes is a competitive traditional rivalry, and a significant day for our team where each runner matters,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said.

Amherst’s nationally-ranked senior, Keri Lambert, eased into first in 18:21 after setting a killer first-mile pace of 5:07 in an attempt to lure the Ephs into going out too fast. Williams did not succumb, however, and led the day by employing its pack-running strategy. Alison Smith ’15 led the Ephs, placing second in 19:10. Close behind were Kaleigh Kenny ’14 with a time of 19:14, Adrienne Strait ’15 with a 19:15-minute result, co-captain Brianne Mirecki ’14 at 19:25 and both Amelia Ortiz ’15 and Leslie Blackshear ’14 in 19:27. These times were good enough for the women to snag fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Co-captain Celeste Berg ’13, Shayna Barbash ’14 and Louisa Lee ’14 also broke the 20-minute mark, following in 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively.

Farwell was pleased with the team’s stellar performance. “Despite this harder course than last week, the packing was again wonderful, as we put in our top six women within 17 seconds of each other,” he said.

At Div. I Open New Englands on Oct. 7, the varsity team placed eighth overall and second among Div. III schools. MIT, who came in fifth overall with 198 points, was the only Div. III contender to top the women. Boston University’s Moncia Adler won the women’s varsity 5k in 17 minutes flat. In a field of 250 elite runners, the Ephs’ top five scorers finished well within the top 100. Kenny placed 35th in 18:10, followed close behind by Mirecki with a time of 18:12 and Strait in 18:17, times that earned them 39th and 41st, respectively. Ortiz ran 18:31 for 60th, and Barbash finished in 18:39 for 73rd, rounding out the scorers. Blackshear and Meg Richardson ’16 finished in 18:45 in 85th and 19:26 for 142nd, respectively, in the varsity race..The women’s placed eighth overall with 248 points and an average time of 18:22 for the 5k race.

“Having 10 women finishing within a mere 35 seconds of each other is phenomenal,” Farwell said.

The team will race at home on Saturday in the Plansky Invitational at Mt. Greylock High School. Races will begin at noon.

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