Women’s XC sprints to 2nd

Throngs of runners from across New England raced at the ECAC Championships in Bristol, R.I. last Saturday. Among them were seven Ephs ready for battle. Williams was second in the meet overall with 54 points, behind Middlebury with 30 points.

The race demonstrated the Ephs’ incredible depth, as the top seven runners planning to compete at Div. III NCAA Regionals and Nationals in the coming weeks rested last weekend. Meanwhile the second seven women gained championship racing experience.

The weather was perfect, with low winds, and although it was a little chilly, it did not deter the women. The Ephs managed to maintain a tight pack well into the race. This was an impressive feat as the woodsy, winding, 6k course made visual contact and passing opponents challenging.

“We had a great pack through the first three miles and really worked together, which was awesome,” said co-captain Louisa Lee ’14. “It was narrow in the woods, but we played it smart and moved up when we could.”

Lee was the first scorer for Williams, working closely with Amelia Ortiz ’15. She broke away from the pack in the final mile of the race, and had a fantastic finish to come in fourth overall with a time of 22:56.

Anna Spiers ’15 ran a strong race, sticking with the pack and helping teammates, then closing with a stunning kick, passing between five and 10 other runners,  to finish in seventh place with a 23:01. Ortiz finished eighth with a time of 23:03.

The times posted by Lee, Spiers and Ortiz were all personal bests for the season.

Next in was Emma Zehner ’17, who finished in 16th place in 23:16. Zehner had been battling an injury for the past few weeks, but put this behind her and had one of her strongest performances of the year.

Maggie Peard ’17 also ran a heroic race, finishing in 19th place in a time of 23:21. Peard had not raced in three weeks, but did not let that prevent her from a strong finish. Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 fell twice on roots in the tricky woods loop, and Meg Richardson ’16 struggled with a stomach cramp, but the two worked together during a difficult final mile of the race to finish 23rd and 26th, respectively. Calnek-Sugin finished in 23:31, while Richardson finished with a time of 23:40.

“It’s so nice to display how many talented runners we have here at Williams,” said Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73. “It warms a coach’s heart to see runners compete in the way our women did today.”

The women will continue routing the road to victory as they compete at the Div. III NCAA Regional hosted by Southern Maine this weekend. There, the women will face off against rivals MIT and Middlebury. The top two teams at the Regional meet will advance to Div. III NCAA Nationals on Nov. 23 in Hanover, Ind. but teams ranked nationally will also have chances to receive at-large bids.