Women’s cross country captures Little 3 title

Women’s cross country was successful in securing its seventh-consecutive Little Three Championships title last Saturday, dominating the field at its home course at Mount Greylock Regional High School. Placing a solid eight runners within the top 10 finishers of the race, Williams won the tri-meet with an impressively low 19 points, in front of runner-up Amherst with 43 points and third place Wesleyan with 83 points.

As the gun went off it was Lacey Serletti ’16, Emma Zehner ’17 and Victoria Kingham ’18 who took the lead, followed closely by a large pack of Ephs who continued to push forward throughout the race. In the end, it was Anna Harleen ’18 who blew away the competition with a strong burst of speed to win the race in 18:53. Behind her, Amherst’s Savanna Gornisiewicz and fellow Eph Emily Sundquist ’18 battled it out to the finish to end with times of 18:57 and 18:58, respectively.

Following Sundquist was a solid consecutive group of Williams runners. Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 finished with a time of 19:02, and Zehner continued her breakout season by finishing just behind her teammate in 19:06. Fifth for the team and sixth overall in the race was Serletti in 19:06, followed by Kingham in 19:15. Rounding out the top seven for Williams finishers was the 2013 NCAA Div. III All-American Hannah Cole ’17, who rebounded magnificently from injury to finish in 19:31.

The team also had a strong showing at the James Earley Invitational on Oct. 11 hosted by Westfield State, placing first with 59 points ahead of Vassar College with 120 and the University of New England with 130 points in a huge field of 44 Div. III teams.

While a majority of the women in Williams’ top squad had the weekend off after racing in the prestigious Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh the previous Saturday, the win was largely thanks to Sundquist and Calnek-Sugin, who placed first and second in the race with strong times of 18:14.74 and 18:20.20, respectively.

Sundquist and Calnek-Sugin were not the only pair to make waves in the race; Elowyn Pfeiffer ’18 and Eliza Matt ’18 worked together throughout to claim the third and fourth places on the team, finishing with significant personal records of 18:50.95 and 18:52.58, respectively.

The overall goal of the team was to reap the reward of receiving a fast time on a good course, which the Ephs definitely achieved. The top seven Williams finishers all placed in the top 31 finishers of the race. Nina Pande ’17 claimed the fifth spot for the team and was 23rd, finishing in 19:10.39, with Kathryn McNaughton ’16 close behind with a time of 19:13.40. Emily Shea ’16 rounded out the top seven scorers for the Ephs with a time of 19:25.58.

This Saturday, the Ephs will remain home for the second weekend in a row to host the traditional Plansky Invitational, which will feature the men’s and women’s teams as well as a number of alumni who will get the chance to reprise their roles as Ephs for a day as they return to their beloved home course. The Plansky Invitational will also mark the end of the season for some members of the team, as the transition is made into the fast-approaching championship season.

“The team is continuing to stride gracefully through the middle of the season with a balanced blend of consistently strong upperclassmen races and clutch freshman surprises,” Assistant Coach Sarah Lagasse said. “They race in true cross country fashion as a group and work together during races. I’m excited to see what they can do as a team during championship season.”