Women’s cross country captured its third straight NESCAC title at Bates on Saturday. Tri-captain Victoria Kingham ’18 came in second overall as the women scored 62 points. Middlebury finished second with 77 and Tufts earned third place with 82.
It was beautiful day for racing – the sun was beaming, and the temperature was a cool 60 degrees with a light breeze. As the Ephs were waiting to warm up, spectators arrived and cheered enthusiastically. Spirits were high as the women prepared to race, talking about packing strategies and where to make moves while previewing the course.
The NESCAC is a deep conference, and the competition between the 144 runners was ferocious. The Bates 6k course had many rolling hills and twists and turns, as well as a wooded section, where the trail was hard-packed dirt. Kingham led the Ephs with a second-place finish in an impressive time of 21:53. She earned First Team All-NESCAC honors while co-captain Anna Harleen ’18 and Audrey Rustad ’20 were named Second Team All-NESCAC. They finished in 11th and 12th in 22:34 and 22:35, respectively.
Stella Worters ’18 ran a strong race for fourth on the Eph team and 17th overall, crossing the line in 23:01. The final scorer for the team was tri-captain Emily Sundquist ’18, who finished close to Worters with a time of 23:10 for 20th overall. Emily Harris ’19 finished sixth for the team in 23:21. Despite a recent illness, Erica Barrett ’21 was right behind her, finishing in 23:24.
Caroline Galo ’21 had a strong performance and crossed the line in 23:33 for eighth among the Ephs. Next on the team was Eliza Matt ’18, who finished in 23:48. After Matt, a group of three Ephs ran together. Brianna Bourne ’21, Emily Tibbetts ’20 and Janelle Gowgiel ’20 all had very strong races, showing weeks of solid training, and finished in 24:07, 24:20 and 24:25, respectively. Sarah Tully ’21 was right on their heels, crossing the line in 24:32 in spite of illness. Anna Passannante ’20 was the next finisher for the Ephs with a time of 24:46. Leah Rosenfeld ’20 raced tough and crossed the line in 26:19.
The depth of the team was evident throughout the meet as eight women placed in the top 36. This meant that eight Ephs finished before eight other teams had their fifth runners, and sometimes fourth runners, cross the line. Additionally, all 15 of the Eph racers finished before one opponent’s seventh runner had crossed the line.
Head coach Pete Farwell ’73 was thrilled with the victory.
“[It was a] great team effort with all of the top eight pacing extremely well over the up and down terrain and putting out great effort over the final mile to improve placings and with final kicks,” he said. “It was a very highly contested team contest with the top four teams finishing so close in score, and it was eventually decided by our fourth and fifth finishers, Worters and Sundquist.
“[The] top three earned their All-NESCAC [honors] with tremendous races,” Farwell said. “And big breakthroughs came from Harris and Galo.”
He was also proud of the seniors’ efforts and leadership.
“The senior class has made this team their mission and has accomplished great things already this season. [I am] looking forward to more culminating team experiences and races in the next three weeks, when they traditionally reach an even higher peak.”
This Saturday, the women will host NCAA New England Regionals at 11 a.m.