Williamstown, MA-- Fifty-one women's teams converged at Mt. Greylock High School Saturday to compete in the NCAA New England Regional Championship, hosted by Williams College. Sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures in the 60s made for ideal racing conditions on the 6k course, which featured rolling hills, wooded trails, and grass field. With over 300 competitors, the field was tightly packed for much of the race but thinned by the final straight-away, with several seconds between each of the top seven finishers.
The NESCAC reigned at the championship, with the top three teams hailing from the conference. Middlebury College won the New England Regional title 58 points, placing four runners in the top 15, followed by host Williams with 91 points, and Amherst with 103. The top two teams in each region go on to the national championship in Iowa next weekend, and up to three additional teams from across the country will earn at-large bids. The top seven individuals whose team did not qualify also continue on to nationals.
Keene State's Paige Mills was second (21:49.7), followed by Ali Simeone of Amherst (22:16.3), Randelle Boots of Wellesley College (4th, 22:23.6), and Collette Whitney of Middlebury (5th, 22:29.3). Unofficially (pending the at-large bid), the seven individuals who will likely earn a spot in the national championship, in addition to Mills and Simeone, are fourth-place finisher Randelle Boots of Wellesley, sixth-place Amy Wilfert of Tufts have qualified as individuals and the remaining individuals will be announced on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Head Coach Pete Farwell hopes to keep the team healthy and well rested over the next week as the runners prepare for the national championship, where he hopes to see even more improvement as the team finishes out its season. Middlebury looks to be a strong contender at the national championship, hoping to build on last year's fourth-place finish. The team's strong packing strategy throughout the season has served them well. Williams has also benefited from their group tactics throughout the season, as demonstrated today with five runners finishing under 24 minutes on the challenging course. Third-place Amherst also had three runners in the top 20.