Amidst cold and rainy conditions, Amherst women’s cross country stepped up to the challenge at the Connecticut College Invitational this past Saturday, placing an impressive seventh with 232 points in a deep 25-team field. In a tight race, Middlebury took the team title with 67 points, while Dickinson College (72 points) and Tufts (82 points) finished close behind. Noting a significant improvement from the Paul Short Run, the team’s previous outing, head coach Cassie Funke-Harris said, “[Amherst] was only one point behind TCNJ this week after they beat us by over 100 at Paul Short.”
In cross country, team placement is heavily dictated by the performance of a team’s fourth and fifth runners. A small one-five split, the time difference between the first and the fifth and final scoring runner can be a strong indication of depth. With a mere 51 second split, the Mammoths cut their one-five split from 1:53 at Paul Short by a factor of over two.
In the 307 harrier field, a season-high 10 Mammoths competed. Junior Kristin Ratliff paced the squad with a 22:34 mark over the 6k course to finish 23rd overall. Close behind, sophomore Olivia Polischeck placed 30th in 22:44. Senior captain Lela Walter (23:11) was next across the line for the Mammoths, placing 56th. First-year Eline Laurent (23:23) and sophomore Sarah Gayer (23:25) rounded out the scoring Mammoths, finishing in 65th and 69th place, respectively.
First-year Julia Doubson and junior Jenny Mazzella clocked times of 24:13 and 24:31 to finish 116th and 137th, respectively. In her first race of the season, sophomore Haley Greene ran 25:21 to place 183rd.
Junior Olivia Moehl (25:39, 199th) and sophomore Katie Crum (25:40, 202nd) finished neck and neck to round out the competing Mammoths.
“We are putting the pieces together when it really counts and need to keep that momentum and positive energy heading into championship season,” said Funke-Harris.
“We’re excited to get two more weeks of training in before the NESCAC meet,” added Gayer.
Next up, the Mammoths will head to Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts for the annual NESCAC Championships on Oct. 27. This competition marks the beginning of championship season, and it will be the last race for all but the top seven Amherst runners, who will continue on to the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships, hosted by Bowdoin on Nov. 10.