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Team Unity a Feature Of Women's X-Country

By Alisha Schor

TEAM MEMBER

The women’s Cross Country team proved their merit in the New England running community last Saturday with a fourth place finish out of 24 teams at the UMass-Dartmouth Shriners Cross Country Invitational.

The finish was the highest ever by the women’s team and earned Tech its first top 10 ranking in the New England Division III coaches’ poll.

“Our varsity team moved up five places from last year, and our sub-varsity team moved up three. That’s a real significant accomplishment,” said team captain Katie R. Huffman ’04. Julia C. Espel ’05 and co-captain Martha W. Buckley ’04 led the Tech runners with times of 18:24 and 18:31, respectively, over the five-kilometer course. Filling in the next three scoring slots were Alisha R. Schor ’07, Veronica A. Andrews ’05, and Karen A. Kinnaman ’06.

Runners in the sub-varsity race produced the next two fastest Tech times with Betsy R. Eames ’06 taking fourth and Jen A. Gaugler ’05 placing fifth. Such a density of runners indicates the depth of the 2003 team, a necessary quality for a successful season.

While the early season has shown promise, MIT’s women runners still have areas to improve upon in order to achieve their goal of winning the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference championship. One of the primary focuses will be on minimizing time spread between the first and fifth runners.

“We’ll have to pack it up, run together, and push each other. We have to work together to win as a team,” Huffman said.

Working together as a team has not proved to be a problem this year. With nearly 40 athletes on the squad, finding motivation and training partners has come naturally.

“Like all [cross country] teams at MIT in my tenure, there is great team harmony, and this year it is especially true even with the increased size of the squad,” said Assistant Coach Harold B. Hatch. “There is great depth, intra-squad competition, a willingness to work hard, and great team leadership and unity.”

Hatch echoed the team’s goal of winning NEWMACs and also added that he would like to see a top 10 finish in the New England National Qualifiers.

Towards the end of the season, the team is hoping to be assisted by the return of some injured runners to the top slots, as well as the improvement of several who have shown a high level of fitness and early season potential.