It was a true cross country race at Principia College today. The course was filled to the brim with large rolling hills, with almost no sections of flat ground. The path was wide -- ten meters across at its narrowest which allowed for some mobility in a crowded race. As the women took to the start line, the wind began to pick up. Throughout the race, the gusts became stronger and the rain came down more steadily, but the Williams women ran valiantly.
This course and conditions tested the team's grit, but their gumption pulled them through the tough race and competitive field. There are 32 teams selected to compete at the National Meet, as well as 56 individuals, for a total of 279 of the best runners in the country.
The Ephs were led by senior captain Victoria Kingham, who earned All-American honors for the second time. She was 24th overall with a rapid time of 21:21. Kingham ran a brave race, mixing it up with the front pack before out kicking others near her to the finish. Next in was sophomore Audrey Rustad crossing the line in 21:35, good for 37th and All-American honors. Rustad started out more conservatively, but once she began moving past competitors, she never stopped. This was also a personal record for Rustad, despite the conditions. Running a strong race and displaying her toughness was senior captain Anna Harleen. She was third for the team, and finished 94th overall with 22:10, after a huge push to move in the last mile. The scorers were rounded out by two more seniors, Emily Sundquist and Stella Worters, finishing 147th and 159th respectively. While Sundquist has competing in the Nationals meet two of the last three years, this was Worters' first showing at the national level. They worked together in an incredible pack with their fellow teammates, freshman Erica Barrett and junior Emily Harris. The "core four" was together through two miles, trading off the lead throughout that distance. As the race progressed, Sundquist and Worters pulled away from the underclassmen, with Sundquist finishing in 22:35 and Worters in 22:39. Barrett crossed the line in 22:47, good for 175th, with her now classic flying finish. Harris finished in 23:04 for 207th place overall.
However, once the individuals are taken out, the depth of the Williams team really shines. Harris was the 9th best seventh runner in the entire race, defeating 19 sixth runners and 9 fifth runners from other teams. Barrett was similar, being the 6th fastest sixth runner overall, crossing the line before 21 fifth runners from other teams. Worters was 6th fastest fifth runner in the national championship, a really incredible run to finish her senior season.
Head coach Pete Farwell is "really proud of the way this team has handled challenges with such a postive attitude." He feels the team has really come together and exhibited strong leadership throughout the season, capping it off by running toughly at Nationals.