WILLIAMSTOWN, MA-- After a win at NESCACs at Bates two weeks ago, Williams women's cross country returns to Maine for another important meet. The Ephs will compete this weekend at NCAA New England Regional, which will be hosted by Southern Maine University.
Teams from all around New England will converge on the Gorham Country Club course, hoping for a chance to qualify for Nationals. The first two teams in each of the eight national regions automatically qualify and the NCAA selects an additional 16 teams around the country.
The Ephs are ranked 2nd in the region heading into the race behind the defending champion, MIT. The top teams at NESCACs were not far behind Williams and will also be hoping to claim an automatic bid. Though a lot of teams will be in the mix, the Ephs are in a great position to claim one of the top two spots.
All three senior co-captains will be racing this weekend. Victoria Kingham, who took second at NESCACs in a breakthrough senior season, will be leading the Ephs and potentially vying for the top spot. Anna Harleen, who earned NESCAC second-team honors, will put her post-season experience to good use. Emily Sundquist will return to Regionals after missing the 2016 season due to injury. She has rebounded from a lengthy recovery time and has proved to be a consistent scorer for the Ephs.
Unlike the captains, the other four Ephs who toe the line on Saturday will be racing at Regionals for the first time. Senior Stella Worters has been a consistent performer through her four years but her training has helped her reach a new level this year and she has placed in the top seven throughout the season. Junior Emily Harris earned her spot on the Regionals squad with a breakout race at NESCACs. Sophomore Audrey Rustad has been a consistent top three presence this year, as she returns to competition after missing most of her first year due to various injuries. Finally, first-year Erica Barrett will experience her first Regionals. She has adjusted well to college running and that has translated into consistent top performances.
Head Coach Pete Farwell is looking forward to the race, saying, "We're looking forward to good competition on a fine XC course that features plenty of hills." The hills may fover the Ephs, who frequently train on hills. Farwell is optimistic about their chances, noting that the runners are "looking strong in practice and are raring to go."
The women's race will begin at 12:15 under sunny skies, with a high of 38.