Women’s XC proves Little Three dominance

Women’s cross country dominated the field at the Little Three Championships last weekend.  The race was hosted by Amherst and the women’s low score of 15 bested second-place Amherst with 59 points and third-place Wesleyan with 69 points. This race was a season highlight in terms of both a low team score and the high number of outstanding individual races.

“Every year we get hyped for Little Threes, and this year was no different,” said co-captain Lacey Serletti ’16. “Everyone was excited to compete and brought great spirit and enthusiasm to the race.”

While the racing conditions were ideal, Amherst’s challenging home course yielded relatively slow 5k times for the runners. Nevertheless, the Ephs excelled in typical fashion by working together in groups.

Soon after the gun, Victoria Kingham’18 and tri-captain Lacey Serletti ’16 took the lead, racing with each other up to the final stretch of the course. Each ran a phenomenal race, with Kingham winning in 19:17.4 and Serletti finishing in second with a time of 19:30.6.

Serletti and Kingham were then followed by four more consecutive Williams runners in a wave of purple. Emily Sundquist ’18 moved up steadily throughout the race and nearly caught up to Serletti, eventually finishing third with a time of 19:31.6. Co-captain Meg Richardson ’16, a newcomer to the top pack this year, followed in 19:34.0. Rebecca Delacruz-Gunderson ’18 was fifth in 19:39.1 and Hannah Cole ’17 was close behind in 19:43.5.

The six-woman sweep was briefly broken by Lizzie Lacey of Amherst. She was followed by Michelle Buncke ’17 who took eighth in 19:56.9 and Anna Harleen ‘18 who took ninth in 19:58.1, putting a total of eight Williams runners in the top 10 places. Overall, the first nine Williams runners crossed the finish line all within 42 seconds of each other.

On Oct. 10, the women raced at the James Early Invitational at Westfield State, placing second in a field of 39 teams by the small margin of a single point. The University of New England was the winner of the day with 72 points, with Williams just behind with 73 points and Saint Anselm in third place with 180 points.

The individual winner of the women’s 5k race was Abby Shafer of New England College in 18:04.05. Harleen placed second in 18:16.79, outkicking Jessie Cardin of Westfield State in the final straightaway. Harleen led Delacruz-Gunderson in 18:27.29 and Stella Worters ‘18 in 18:37.08 to top-10 finishes as well.

As the fourth scorer for Williams, Borah Lim ‘17 crossed the finish line strongly in 19:39.60, passing a slew of runners from other teams to the finish line.

While the top few runners to cross the finish line are obviously a key component for a high placing, the fifth scorer is often the lynchpin when determining the overall team score. Laura Stamp ’15 admirably filled this role, nearly breaking 20 minutes with a time of 20:00.48.

Olivia Goodheart ’19 in 20:09.24 and Eliza Matt ’19 in 20:21.24 rounded out the scorers for the meet, to say nothing of the many strong performances that followed. These included Sam Avila ‘16, who had an exceptional race running stride for stride with Matt, finishing just behind her in 20:21.49.

“Little Threes is special because our whole team gets to run together for the last time,” said Richardson. “It’s invigorating to get to race with such a huge group. Our team supported one another really well. As soon as people crossed the finish line, they were back out on the course cheering for their teammates who were still racing. I was extremely proud of that. It’s especially fun to win a meet like Little Threes, because there are so many people to share the joy with. As we head towards championship season, this kind of ‘team first’ attitude that people displayed at Little Threes will serve us well.”

This Saturday, the women will remain home to compete at the informal Plansky Invitational, in which any and all Williams alumni are invited to participate. The invitational is a home event at Mount Greylock Regional High. School in Williamstown.

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