WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—As the end of the season approaches, the Ephs are preparing to travel north to compete in NCAA Regionals this weekend hosted by Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The race will begin at 11:00 AM.
This race will not just be an chance to compete with teams from all over New England, but also the Eph's opportunity to secure their spot at NCAA Nationals, which will be held on November 17th. The top two teams in every region automatically qualify, and 16 other teams are selected from across the country based on both regionals performance and the standings from other meets.
As the seventh ranked team nationally and the third ranked team in New England, according to the USTFCCCA National Coaches Poll, Williams will be in the hunt for one of the automatic qualifying slots. While the Ephs are aiming for a top two finish, a third or fourth place finish would likely be sufficient to earn the team a trip to Oshkosh, due to the strength of the New England region. To earn a qualifying spot, the Ephs will have to beat the top team in the region, MIT or Middlebury. The Panthers beat the Ephs to win NESCACs, scoring 47 points to Williams' 73. Another notable contenders include Wesleyan, who were a close third at NESCACs, Brandeis, and Tufts.
Although there will be tough competition, the 7 Ephs who will take to the course are well-prepared after months of training and racing. At the top, Emma Herrmann '20, co-captain Emily Harris '19, and Audrey Rustad '20 have led the team all season, working together to move up throughout the race. Rustad recently returned from illness, giving Williams an excellent top 3.
Sarah Tully '21 has earned a breakout sophomore season through smart training and has consistently placed well as one of the five scorers. First-year Grace Dailey has successfully transitioned to the 6k. While most first-years take some time to adjust to college and a different training regime, Dailey has cheerfully and resiliently earned a spot among the top five this season. Erica Barrett '21 and Jaylan Fraser-Mines '21 will round out the top seven. Each has the potential to run very well and make the difference in the final standings. Barrett brings experience, having raced at Regionals and Nationals before and her gritty racing will serve Williams well on Saturday. Fraser-Mines is racing at her first Regionals to conclude a breakout second season, thanks to a fantastic summer of running, as well as diligent care to all aspects of training.
Head Coach Pete Farwell is optimistic about his runner's preparedness, saying, we "are well-versed on positioning, packing pacing, and passing, focused especially on a dynamic final kilometer to bring in our three front-runners with 'low sticks' and then the crucial 4th and 5th scorers staying within range and beat out their counterparts of these other teams, to complete Williams scoring and give our Ephs a high overall team place."