Women’s XC tops Div. III opponents

Women’s cross country finished tied for 23rd out of 45 teams at the highly competitive Paul Short Invite hosted by Lehigh last Saturday.

One of the largest invitationals in the nation, this meet was open to Div. I, II and III teams. The women split their top 14 runners into the Gold and Open Divisions. In the predominantly Div. I Gold Division 6k, the Yale women were victorious with a team score of 92 points. They were followed by runner-up Georgetown (119 points) and the University of Pennsylvania (127 points). Top individual race finishers in the Gold Division race included Angel Piccirillo of Villanova with a time of 19:57, Ashley Montgomery of University of Pennsylvania with a time of 20:12 and Jessica Drop of University of Georgia with a time  20:13.

Williams was the first Div. III team to finish in the women’s Gold race, ahead of 40th-place Tufts. With an average time of 21:44, the Eph women were also the top Div. III team across all four women’s 6k races. Johns Hopkins, ranked No. 3 in the NCAA, raced in the Brown Division 6k with an average time of 22:31, along with Middlebury, which had an average time of 22:02.

“The Paul Short meet has become a prime ‘test’ for our team, concluding the early part of our season, and with a storied course to race on against some of the best in the nation in Div. I,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said.

“Remarkably, all seven of our 13 runners ran personal records for the 6k course. The three first-years — Carmen Bango ’20, Emma Herrmann ’20 and Anna Passannante ’20 — shined, with very fast times. They have filled in our up-front depth while a few of our veterans are out of the lineup recovering from injuries. Our seniors have all improved markedly with great summer training, and placed 1–3–5–7 for us in the Gold race, plus 3–4 for us in the open race.”

Emma Zehner ’17 was the first Eph to cross the finish line in the women’s Gold race. She was the only Williams runner in the top 100 out of a field of 405 and finished in 74th place with a time of 21:08. For her performance, Zehner was selected as the NESCAC women’s cross country co-performer of the week. Anna Harleen ’18 was next for the Ephs in 104th place with a time of 21:26.

Bango impressed in her first collegiate 5k, placing 169th overall with a time of 21:53. Tri-captain Maggie Peard ’17 was the fourth Eph scorer with a time of 22:01. She was followed closely by Hermann who finished in 22:08, which earned her a place in the Ephs’ top seven.

Tri-captain Laney Teaford ’17 finished in 22:20 and Yvonne Bungei ’17  finished in 22:50, rounding out the scorers for the Ephs. Stella Worters ’18 was nearly step-for-step with Bungei to the line with a time of 22:51.

The second half of the team’s top squad raced in the unscored Open Division race. Passannante had a standout performance of 22:32 on the 6k course, which earned her 60th place and would have allowed her to score for the Ephs in the Gold Division race.

Emily Harris ’19 was 88th with a time of 23:01. Nina Pande ’17 finished in 23:07, placing 96th. Eliza Matt ’18, who finished in 23:17, and Kayla Servin ’17, who finished in 23:21,  were the other Williams competitors.

“We definitely had a really good day across the board on Saturday,”  Peard said. “The course at Lehigh is flat and fast so we clocked in some really fast times with PRs all over the place. Especially exciting were the performances of our three first-years who made the trip to Paul Short. This race was their first 6k, making the jump from the 5k. Seeing that fresh talent is really exciting, especially in a season when we are missing some of our top runners due to injury.”

“Because the race is mainly Div. I runners, it was a really great opportunity to get the feel of a big championship race with hundreds of runners who are all highly competitive,” she continued.

Next weekend, the women will be staying in Massachusetts and competing at the Westfield Invitational.

“The team is poised now for those who didn’t compete at Paul Short to race at Westfield Saturday,” Farwell said. “Those who did Paul Short are looking to train through until the Little Three meet on Oct. 15.”

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