Men’s and women’s XC place second in Purple Valley Classic

Sports Desk

Last Saturday, women’s and men’s cross country placed second at the Purple Valley Classic.

13 teams travelled from as far as Ohio to compete in the annual invitational. The athletes ran  through mud and over hills on the Mt. Greylock Regional High School course, which is beautiful as well as challenging.

In the women’s 6k, MIT took first place, with a score of 67 and two individuals placing in the top five. The Ephs took second with a score of 81, while Tufts took third with a score of 114.  The overall top finisher was Tufts senior Natalie Bettez, who ran a time of 22:06.

Emma Herrmann ’20 placed first for the Ephs in seventh, with a time of 23:08. She was closely followed by co-captain Emily Harris ’19, who took eighth in 23:12, and Audrey Rustad ’20, who took 13th in 23:19.  “When our three girls got together like that after the beginning and worked together, that’s the pack we want,” head coach Pete Farwell ’73 said.  Next, Sarah Tully ’21 ran a strong race for 25th with a time of 23:43. Erica Barrett ’21 and Jaylan Fraser-Mines ’21 finished close behind with times of 23:48 and 23:57 for 28th and 32nd, respectively.

Shortly thereafter, Brianna Bourne ’21 rounded out the Ephs’ top seven in 24:14 for 42nd overall. Caroline Galo ’21 (24:37), co-captain Lindsay Klickstein ’19 (24:51), Janelle Gowgiel ’20 (24:53) and Hannah Lebowitz ’20 (25:52) rounded out the 6k field for the Ephs. Overall, Farwell was very pleased, saying that “to come in second at this meet is really good. We’ve been working hard, and people still found their legs on a tough course.”

Earlier in the day, some of the Eph women raced in the 5k. The first-years showed their strength, winning the 5k and taking three of the top five places. “We have a really neat group of first-years,” Farwell said. Grace Dailey ’22 won the race in an excellent time of 20:04. Close behind her were Lilly Wells ’22 and Abby Scott ’22, who took third and fourth, with times of 20:16 and 20:32, respectively. Sarah Jane O’Connor ’22, Lauren Fossel ’22 and Adrienne Banks ’21 worked together well to finish 11th, 12th and 17th, with times of 21:20, 21:22 and 21:34, respectively. Next came Emma Tapscott ’22 in 21:59 and Wyndom Chace ’21 in 22:23. Julia Gunther ’20 (22:46), Tori Saltz ’22 (22:54), Avivah Malin ’22 (23:19) and Elizabeth Bigham ’21 (23:21) rounded out the field in the 5k.

No. 17 men’s cross country faced off against No. 3 Amherst, No. 6 RPI, No. 7 MIT and No. 8 Middlebury. In cool, windy conditions, the Ephs finished second overall with 72 points. RPI won the meet with 41 points, while Middlebury was third with 103.

The day started with the men’s 5k, in which all of Williams’ first-years and some upperclassmen competed. Elias Lindgren ’22 ran a strong, confident race, winning in a sprint finish in 16:29.7. Jack Wallace ’22 finished fifth in 16:42.1 while Jett Ballantyne ’22 was sixth in 16:58.2. Williams ended up edging out WPI 30-30, winning due to the strength of the Ephs’ sixth runner.

The men’s 8k featured the best individuals and teams in the region. Aidan Ryan ’21 and Ryan Cox ’20 ran confidently in the top pack, feeling out the pace in the early stages of the race. As RPI’s top man gained separation and the pack thinned, both Ephs hung tough. Cox held it together for a fourth-place finish in 25:56.3 while Ryan kicked hard to outrun an Amherst athlete, finishing sixth in 26:04.1. Behind those two Ephs, a trio of Williams juniors rounded out the top five. William McGovern ’20 had a strong kick and placed 15th in 26:29.4 – 47 places higher than his finish a year ago. Samuel Wischnewsky ’20 finished in 19th in 26:33.8. In his last race before going abroad, Kenneth Marshall ’20 finished 29th in a time of 26:43.0. Rounding out the top seven for the Ephs were  Chris Avila ’21, who ran 26:58.6 for 36th and Kevin LaFleche ’20, who ran 27:06.8 for 45th.

Farwell was excited about how well his team performed. “We really got things going from an individual and team standpoint in the 5k,” he said. “I was very impressed with how well [Lindgren] raced, and his poise and ability to hold off a WPI athlete coming up on him in the last couple steps. WPI came ready to race, and our first-years did very well to pull out the win. In the 8k, I was ecstatic watching our juniors show their strength. We did very, very well to get second, and our guys beat some good athletes and teams. We had good, strong races and did a great job executing.”

The Ephs will return to competition on Saturday at the Saratoga Invitational, hosted by RPI.