In a hard-fought battle, women’s cross country ceded victory to Middlebury last Saturday at the NESCAC Championships at Middlebury. Williams scored 47 points to the victors’ 38, a modest gap given that Middlebury’s top scorers finished one-two.
The women finished a sizeable distance ahead of third-place Amherst, who amassed 108 points. The top three individual finishers of the women’s 6k race included victor Alison Maxwell of Middlebury with a time of 22:16.8, her teammate Summer Spillane in 22:33 and Audrey Gould of Tufts in 22:33.6.
While the rookies have been making a huge impact on team scoring all season and last Saturday’s race was certainly no different, it was particularly the seasoned upperclassmen who spearheaded the charge for the Ephs. First across the line for Williams was Emma Zehner ’17, who admirably raced stride for stride with the NESCAC’s finest and placed fourth overall with a time of 22:37.7, not far behind the veteran leaders of the race. Zehner has had a fantastic sophomore season so far, consistently running in the top pack, and this marks her fourth top-15 finish at a race this year.
Second for the Ephs and eighth overall was Lacey Serletti ’16, who finished in 22:51.8. Victoria Kingham ’18 was third for the team and placed right behind Serletti with a time of 22:52.9. Kingham had a stellar race, working her way up in the race and summoning a speedy kick to catch up to her experienced teammate. As the top first-year-finisher in the race, she was awarded NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors.
Fourth for the Ephs was Hannah Cole ’17 with a time of 23:02.1. Cole has been improving each race while overcoming an injury. Next up, Emily Sundquist ’18 and Anna Harleen ’18 finished consecutively in 23:07 and 23:08.6, respectively. Clinching the seventh spot for the Ephs was Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 with a time of 23:20.4.
The achievements of the second pack of Williams finishers also cannot be ignored. Working together throughout the course, Rebecca Delacruz-Gunderson ’18 finished in 23:26.5, tri-captain Anna Spiers ’15 ran a time of 23:30.2, and Michelle Buncke ’17 crossed the line in 23:33.9. Maggie Peard ’17 was 46th overall with a time of 24:17.5, and tri-captain Amelia Ortiz ’15 placed 48th overall in 24:20.4. All 12 of the Williams finishers placed within the top 50 of the race, testifying to the depth of the team.
“At NESCACs, our team demonstrated perfectly our asset of depth,” Spiers said. “We’re looking forward to facing off with Middlebury again in the coming championship meets.”
Next weekend the second seven will travel to Westfield State to race at the ECAC Championships, while the top pack will next don their racing spikes at the NCAA Div. III New England Regional Championship, which will be held on the women’s home course at Mount Greylock Regional High School on November 15th.