Women’s cross country powers to third at ECAC Championships

Members of women’s cross country pose with their second-place trophy after the race on Saturday. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information
Members of women’s cross country pose with their second-place trophy after the race on Saturday. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

Women’s cross country ran away with a thrilling third-place finish at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Cross Country Championships on Saturday afternoon. The cool blustery day and the Ephs’ challenging home course at Mt. Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown did not stop the women from excelling in a huge field of 46 teams.

In the 6k race, the team’s “Second Seven” left it all on the course, earning the chance to shine and displaying the team’s breadth on a very hilly and challenging course. The top seven women train through to NCAA Div. III Regionals this weekend.

The top-scoring team was Tufts with 45 points, and the University of New England placed second overall with 63 points. Williams earned 73 points for third.

Right from the gun, Tiana Thomas of the University of New England darted away from the huge pack of 310 racers and maintained a clear lead to finish with a time of 22:54.2. In second place was Lindsay Atkeson of Tufts, who crossed the line in 23:03.9.

On the other hand, the third-place spot was far from determined until the final stretch. It was ultimately captured by tri-captain Meg Richardson ’16, who summoned a ferocious kick in the last 100-meters to finish in 23:06.4, just 0.7 seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher.

Second for the Ephs was Stella Worters ’18 in 23:26.6, who worked her way up steadily throughout the race and made use of her track mid-distance speed to blast through a clump of racers at the finish. Emily Harris ’19 was the Ephs’ third finisher, ending her strong season with a 6k time of 23:47.0. Richardson, Worters and Harris earned All-ECAC honors by finishing in the first 15 spots.

Maggie Peard ’17 who finished in 24:03.6, Laney Teaford ’17 who finished in 24:04.2 and Emily Shea ’16 who finished in 24:04.7 raced together in a pack, finishing in 22nd, 24th and 25th place, respectively.  Yvonne Bungei ’17 was the final scorer for Williams, finishing in 24:21.64, showing her immense improvement in distance racing over the course of her Williams career.

From this point on, most of the team has finished racing, and all energy will be focused on the seven women who will be competing at both NCAA Div. III Regionals and NCAA Div. III Nationals. The Ephs are currently ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Div. III and are shaping up to make an impact on the national stage. This weekend, they will head to Conn. College to compete at Regionals.

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