In a competitive field of 38 teams from Div. I, Div. II and Div. III, women’s cross country came away with a 17th place finish at the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh last weekend. They raced through a steady drizzle and ideal cool temperatures.
The Paul Short Invitational is one of the largest cross country meets in the United States, holding races of several divisions for athletes from high school age and upward. Most of the women competed in the Gold 6k, which offered the highest level of competition.
In first place overall in the Gold 6k was the University of Guelph from Ontario, Canada with 105 points. Div. I Cornell placed second with 155 points, and Johns Hopkins, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation for Div. III cross country, placed third with 180 points.
After No. 13 Tufts, who placed just above the women, Williams was the third Div. III team in the overall scoring of the Gold 6k. As of the end of September, the women’s team is ranked No. 2 in Div. III.
The women had most of their top squad present at Lehigh, except for tri-captain Lacey Serletti ’16, who placed first at the Purple Valley Classic on Sept. 26 and Anna Harleen ’18. However, Serletti’s absence did not prevent the team from excelling as a whole. Victoria Kingham ’18 was the first Eph to cross the finish line in 21:26, placing 41st overall.
Hannah Cole ’17 was next across the line for the Ephs, with a time of 21:59. Emily Sundquist ’17 was third for the team with a time of 22:05. Michelle Buncke ’17, who finished in 22:12, followed close behind.
Tri-captain Meg Richardson ’16 (mistakenly labeled as Serletti in the results) continued her strong season by starting the race conservatively and turning the final 3k of her race into one continuous push through the pack of 312 racers to finish in 22:32.
Emma Zehner ’17, and Maggie Peard ’17 rounded out the pack, finishing in 22:42 and 23:14, respectively.
In the open 6k race earlier that morning, Emily Harris ’19 had a phenomenal 6k debut. Harris finished 66th overall with a time of 23:27.
Yvonne Bungei ’17 had a strong race as well, finishing in 23:34. Nina Pande ’17 finished in 23:44, and Phalecia Cramer ’19 finished in 23:55. Kayla Servin ’17 rounded out the racers in the open race, finishing in 24:12 for a 6k personal record.
“We went to Paul Short to practice running in a big, competitive field similar to what we will see at Nationals,” Richardson said. “I was so excited about the way that all of our runners handled what was a new type of race for us this season. We wanted to go out pretty conservatively and not get carried away coming off the line. We did that and then were able to stay strong and pick people off during the latter part of the race. I think this race showed that we have some very exciting things to look forward to as the season goes on.”
This weekend, the women will head to Westfield, Mass., for the Westfield State Invitational.