Williams cruises to first NCAA title since 2004
WINNECONE, WI -- The Williams women's cross country team had an historic day today at the NCAA championships hosted by Oshkosh University in Wisconsin, winning the race with 81 points and upsetting three-time winner Johns Hopkins, who were looking to make another record-breaking NCAA win. SUNY Geneseo placed second with 179 points, and MIT placed third with 182 points. Johns Hopkins was fourth with 188 points. It was the first NCAA win for the Ephs since 2004.
"This was really an amazing performance for us, and we were floored by how well everyone performed," said head coach Pete Farwell, who couldn't have been happier with the race. "Everyone delivered on their months of solid, consistent training."
Though the weather was cold and windy, preventing even the 30-odd spectators who road tripped from Williams to watch the race from donning bare chests and body paint, the course was flat and fast, allowing the women to excel.
The first runner to cross the finish line for Williams was Cole, following up her second-place win at New England Regionals last weekend with a 4th place finish. Cole finished in 21:30.3, not long after race winner Abrah Masterson of Cornell College, who finished in 21:23.1. The second place overall finisher was Olivia Mancl of Willamette, with 21:25.4, and third place was claimed my Maya Wiegel (21:27.0) of Pomona-Pitzer.
Cole ran a smart, strong race all around, sticking with the front pack in the end. Next was Kingham, who continued her consistent season at the top of the pack and placed 11th in 21:35.1. She was followed by Serletti (21:39.2), who placed 22nd to end her Williams cross-country career on a blazing note. "I am very happy that Lacey was able to earn All-American honors her senior year, as she's been working hard towards it for all these years," said Farwell.
This trio of women were key in securing the win, but the rest of the top seven were no less integral. Anna Harleen '18 passed several runners in the final stretch with a blazing kick to secure 39th place with a time of 21:49.3. Classmate Emily Sundquist finished in 21:57.6, and Rebecca Delacruz-Gunderson '18 placed 67th with a time of 22:07.4. "The sophomore class has been an amazing contribution to the team, and I'm extremely proud of all of them," gushed Farwell.
The final scorer for Williams was Michelle Buncke, who finished in 22:33.8 for 133rd place. Overall, in a field of 280 talented runners, the top Eph women had a spread of just over a minute, adding merely another accolade to the team's collection from this afternoon.
Additionally, though co-captain Meg Richardson, alternate for the race, didn't run, it can't be ignored that she had an incredible season as well. "Meg has been an amazing captain, pulling up the rest of the team with her with her energy and gumption," said Farwell.
With the win, Williams College now owns 33 NCAA team championships, which have been won in 10 different sports.