Against a breathtaking backdrop of purple mountains, women’s cross country showed cooperation and grit, placing third at the Purple Valley Invitational last Saturday. Spirits were high with friends and family dressed in purple and gold, cheering for the runners. The Ephs took full advantage of the beautiful day at their first home meet of the season at Mount Greylock Regional High School. The women placed third with 46 points, just behind MIT with 43 points and Middlebury with 38 points.
Following the men’s 8k, the varsity women stepped to the line for their 6k race. Because of the unseasonably warm weather and because it is still early in the season, the Ephs had instructions to run at a controlled tempo pace for the first two miles and then rev their engines for the last half of the race.
Kaleigh Kenny ’14 won the meet with a time of 22:19.7, one of the fastest times ever for a Williams runner on the Mount Greylock course. Kenny worked well with Shayna Barbash ’14, who finished third overall in a time of 22:42.0, scoring valuable points for Williams.
Following Kenny and Barbash’s lead was a formidable pack. Molly Belk ’16 made a spectacular cross country debut, finishing third for the Ephs in 23:10.7 and 13th overall. Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15, Lacey Serletti ’16 and Hannah Cole ’17 finished 14th, 15th and 16th overall, respectively, crossing the line in a pack. Alison Smith ’15 finished seventh for the Ephs and 21st overall with a time of 23:27.5. Anna Spiers ’15 had a good first race off an injury, coming in 22nd place in 23:35.
“Our pack was awesome,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “They were really, really strong. We had seven all together, all moving up. It’s really coming together, and that was coming off a tough last 12 days of training. If we can stay healthy throughout the season, I think that we’ll really have a good year.”
The women now look ahead to the Paul Shore Invitational next weekend at Lehigh in Bethlehem, Penn. The women’s top 12 runners will compete against top-ranked Div. III and Div. II competition. Runners not competing in the Paul Shore meet are preparing for the Westfield Invitational in Westfield, Mass., on Oct. 12.