On a sunny Thursday afternoon, a group of about 28 runners set out for Pennsylvania looking for a fast race and good competition. They were not disappointed! Unlike the last few years, the week leading up to the Paul Short race, and the course itself, was dry. The weather was idyllic: sunny, about 60 degrees, with a light breeze. Additionally, Paul Short is known for being chalk full of strong Division I runners to test the Williams team's mettle against.
After the men's open race, the ladies in the women's open toed the line. Excitement was running high with the glorious weather. After a fast, but controlled first mile, the harriers began to show their strength steadily moving up through the field. Seniors Emily Sundquist and Eliza Matt paired up nicely through about 4k, with freshman Sarah Tully following closely. Sophomore Leah Rosenfeld led the second pack, with Sophomore Emily Tibbetts and Freshman Caroline Galo running together. Emily Sundquist was the first finisher for Williams with 22:32 and 36th place, with Eliza Matt not far behind in 22:42 and 42nd place. Sarah Tully had a stellar first 6k breaking 23:00, running 22:57. Next to cross the line was Leah Rosenfeld with a great 23:09, followed by Emily Tibbetts with a strong 23:23. Then, Carolin Galo, also her opening 6k, raced really well at the increased distance and finished in 23:36.
Later in the day, seven women stepped up to the line in the women's gold race. This is the most competitive race at the meet, with just five Division III teams out of the forty competing in it. No intimidating for these ladies though! They went out cool and in control, before reeling in runner after Division I runner. Everyone executed the Williams race strategy of "pushing after the 4k downhill" (Pete Farwell). Senior Victoria Kingham led the team from the get-go, mixing it up with the some of the top Division I runners. She ended up placing 40th, with an incredible time of 20:43. Senior Anna Harleen moved up well during the race, crossing the line in 21:31 looking very strong. Next in was varsity veteran and Sophomore Emma Hermann with a great finish of 22:04. Throughout the race Sophomore Anna Passannante, Freshman Erica Barrett, and Senior Stella Worters worked with each other to make moves. This effort led to fast times for all three: 22:21, 22:31, and 22:34 respectively. Erica Barrett did not let the extra 1k prevent her from competing well and staying with the upperclassmen. Emily Harris was the next harrier to cross the line with a 23:00.
After a solid day of racing and cheering across the board, we talked with head Coach Pete Farwell. He said that he "likes bringing the team here for the atmosphere and competition with one hundred and thirty teams, a real true cross country place". Pete also commented that the Division I teams were not holding back, because their performance today affects their chance to qualify for nationals. Of the open race, he shared, "Emily and Eliza worked together in a pack," which bodes well for the team. For the gold race, he enthused, "Victoria had the race of her life," and happily noted that "Anna Harleen ran way better than last week, especially still coming off of being sick". He also felt that Emma Hermann had run really well in her first race of the season, and is excited to "see the team depth starting to take shape."
Next weekend, many of the team will race at the beloved Westfield, another fast and fun course. It will be exciting for the team to test their training on a course that lends itself to competitive, fast runs, break out the cowtights as the weather gets brisker, and cheer on team mates!