Women’s cross country hosted the traditional Plansky Invitational on Saturday afternoon amidst steely gray skies and chilly temperatures. The Plansky Invitational is always a home favorite for the Ephs; the race is the last of the season for many members of the team, as well as open for alumni to reprise their roles as runners for the day. This year, a total of 24 alumni, including nine women, relived their glory days on Mount Greylock Regional High School’s challenging 5k course.
In addition to seeing some familiar faces, the women’s team won the meet with a low score of 19 points. Clark University came in second place with a score of 74 points, and Conn. College finished in third place with a score of 79 points.
The top 10 places on the result sheet were dominated by Ephs, both new and old. Top scoring runners included Emily Shea ’16, who won the race in 20:04. The second woman to cross the line was Khiere Ashley from SUNY Delhi in 20:14.4. Phacelia Cramer ’19 in 20:27.2 was the next scorer with a fourth-place finish.
Following Cramer were a trio of Williams runners: Olivia Goodheart ’19 in 20:32.3, Nina Pande ’17 in 20:33.6 and Kayla Servin ’17 in 20:34.9. Anna Ryba ’16 finished in ninth place, finishing the final cross country race of her college career in 20:44.2, and Borah Lim ’17 was the final scorer for Williams in 20:47.5.
Top alumni finishers included former co-captain Brianne Mirecki ’14, who placed third overall for the women with a time of 20:19.6. Her classmate Leslie Blackshear ’14 finished in 10th place in 20:45.2.
They were, however, not the only Ephs to return to the Purple Valley and once again race in the purple and gold. Andrea Burke Rae ’06 finished 14th with an impressive 20:54.9 time nearly ten years since she competed as a runner under Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73.
Emily Barreca ’14 crossed the finish line in a time of 21:39.3 for a respectable 22nd place in the race. Coming in as a dynamic trio to the end of the race were Amanda Huey ’10, Grace Babula ’12 and Mary Feeley ’09. The three women snagged 49th through 51st place with times of 23:40.8, 23:41.1 and 23.41.4, respectively.
Meriting special attention for her worthy performance at the Plansky Invitational is Anne Melvin ’85. Melvin, four months removed from her 30th College reunion, leaped ahead of plenty collegiate runners to finish her race with a time of 24:29.9, amongst the first sixty runners to cross the line in the race.
The women are satisfied with their performance last weekend and are excited to compete in NESCACs, “The Plansky meet is special for a number of reasons. Some of our team members run the last race of their season or of their college career,” tri-captain Meg Richardson ’16 said. “It’s a chance for a lot of hard work to pay off. All of our seniors went out with bangs. It’s fun and inspiring to realize what an important role Williams cross country plays in the lives of so many people for years and years after their last race in a Williams uniform. Looking toward NESCACs, I am very excited. The team has so much energy right now and we are ready to unleash it this weekend.”
As this race marks the end of the regular season for the Ephs, this top groups of runners will be resting up for the imminent championship season. This Saturday, they will trek down to Wesleyan to fight for glory in the NESCAC championships.