NEW LONDON, CT—When a herd of Ephs arrived at Harkness Memorial State Park on the morning of the Connecticut College Invitational, they were greeted by perfect blue skies and hundreds of cross-country runners. With teams from as far afield as Virginia and Minnesota, the race featured top talent from across the country. This meet gave the Ephs a chance to prove their chops against interregional ccompetitors, a factor used by the NCAA in determining at-large bids for the NCAAl Championship..
In the women's 6k, the MIT Engineers ultimately carried the day, scoring just 75 points. The Ephs were second, with 103 points, followed by Tufts with 121 points. Individually, Hannan Parley of Ithaca College was victorious, setting a new course record in 20:52.
With more than 350 athletes in the race and a sharp turn just a quarter mile into the race, it is important to get out fast or risk being stuck in the crowd, unable to move up. This meet provided the Ephs with the opportunity to practice that all-important skill, which is vital for top finishes in the large fields at NCAA regionals and nationals.
Indeed, the Ephs placed 6 athletes in the top 35. First-year Eva Borton continued her impressive first season, earning 8th place with a time of 21:39. Junior Sarah Tully was next, covering the distance in 21:48 for 10th place. Senior Anna Passannante was the third Eph to cross the line, earing 24th place in 22:11.
A trio of Ephs led by senior co-captain Emma Herrmann swept through the line next. Herrmann took 30th place in 22:19, followed by senior Maddy Boutet in 22:21 and junior Brianna Bourne was 32nd in 32nd place. Sophomore Sarah Jane O'Connor rounded out the top 7, earning 58th place in 22:51.
A parade of Ephs followed, each one competing with the athletes around them and working off of their teammates, who were easily identifiable by the purple and gold cow print uniforms. Sophomore Abby Scott, Junior Erica Barrett, Junior Jaylan Fraser-Mines, Junior Caroline Galo, and first-year Sarah Lyell were the next group of Ephs across the line, finishing within 17 seconds of each other, between 23:04 and 23:21.
Sophomores Lilly Wells and Grace Dailey and senior Leah Rosenfeld were the next trio across the line, working together to run 23:33, 23:37, and 23:39 respectively. Just 10 seconds later, first-year Maria Tews and sophomore Emma Tapscott finished together, running 23:49.
Senior co-captain Hannah Lebowitz was next, with a time of 24:56, followed by sophomore Lauren Fossel (25:23), first-year Sammie Seamon (25:38), sophomore Avivah Malin (25:58), senior Julia Gunther (26:27), and sophomore Tori Saltz (28:31).
Said assistant coach Jamie Norton, "It was a really great day overall. It is very exciting to compete against some of the best teams in the country and come out in second place. I think we're set up for some big steps forward going into the rest of the season. Top to bottom, there were a lot of great performances. It's awesome to see how different people step up every week and we always have a lot of people who are ready to contribute. "
The Ephs return to competition on November 2nd for the NESCAC Championships, which will be hosted by Williams at Mt. Greylock Regional HS.