WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – There was excitement in the air as the Williams College women's cross country team warmed up for the famous Little Three's meet with Wesleyan and Amherst. The women were looking to claim their tenth title for this meet, an impressive feat considering the change every year in courses, conditions, and team members. This is also the last race of the season where the entire team races together, creating a special atmosphere for the ladies on the line.
It was a beautiful day with clear skies and a lot of beautiful fall foliage. The Williams women succeeded in their goal, finishing with a team score of just 20 points, less than half that of the runner-up Amherst with 43 people. Wesleyan finished third with 69 points. Williams displayed their depth, taking six of the top ten spots, and eleven of the top twenty.
Nicky Roberts, a senior from Amherst, flew away with the lead and ran a blazing 17:49. Victoria Kingham, Williams captain and senior, ran a smart race, crossing the line in 18:23 for second place. She was followed by sophomore Audrey Rustad in 3rd place and senior captain, Anna Harleen in 4th, finishing very close in 19:00 and 19:05. First year Erica Barrett had a "breakout race with a strong kick", working together with senior captain Emily Sundquist with 19:17 for 5th and 19:21 for 6th , respectively (Pete Farwell). This rounded out Williams' top five. The sixth finisher for the harriers was senior Stella Worters, running a strong 19:31. Next across the line was sophomore Anna Passannante in 19:48, and then there was a tight pack of three, freshman Sarah Tully, junior Tyra Wynn, and senior Eliza Matt, finishing at 19:56, 19:58 and 19:58 respectively. Junior Emily Harris was close behind, crossing the line in 20:03.
The next pack of Ephs was led by sophomore Leah Rosenfeld finishing in 20:28. First years Brianna Bourne and Caroline Galo were working with her to cross the line in 20:33 and 20:39, respectively. Then, there was another nice trio of sophomore Janelle Gowgiel at 20:58, freshman Jaylan Fraser-Mines at 21:17, and senior Katie Flaharty at 21:21. We saw even more team work from the Ephs who finished next, with sophomore Hannah Lebowitz coming in at 22:16, freshman Wyndom Chace in 22:20, and sophomore Adrienne Banks in 22:39. Junior Jesse Facey and freshman Ariel Brodey worked together well to have solid races of 23:04 and 23:13 respectively. Sophomore Julia Gunther who was struggling with sickness crossed the line in 24:07.
The spread of the Williams team was only 58 seconds from first to fifth, but perhaps more impressive was that there was also only 58 seconds from second to tenth. This showcases the incredible depth that the women's team has this year, and carries some weight for the championship races to come. Assistant Coach Dusty Lopez said, "I thought the group ran a solid, controlled race overall... It would have been easy for our team to get drawn out, but everyone stayed with the plan." He also gave a special nod to the seniors, saying "It was really nice to see the seniors go out with a good race in their last Little Three meet. They have made some great contributions to the team in many ways and today was a great example of how much we have come to rely on them in competition as well." Head Coach Pete Farwell reiterated these sentiments, also noting "Our pack is closing up some on the top trio, which bodes well for the NESCAC Championship in two weeks". He wanted to highlight the performances of freshman Erica Barrett and Sarah Tully, both of whom ran strong races.
Following the race, the women cooled down while watching an exciting fight for the title by the Williams men. They then enjoyed the gorgeous autumn day with a bountiful picnic provided by the many parents that came to support the team.
Next week, the Ephs have another home race for the Plansky meet, which includes many alumni who return to race. The women's race will begin at 12:00. The week after next begins the championship season with the NESCAC race at Bates College in Maine.