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Lady’s X-Country Places Ahead of Rival Wheaton

By Alisha R. Schor

TEAM MEMBER

Perhaps there is something to be said about rising to the occasion because that is just what the MIT women’s cross country team did last Saturday at the Twin Brook Invitational in Cumberland, Maine. The distance for the women’s races was bumped up from the usual five-kilometer to a six-kilometer course, but the extra length seemed to offer more opportunity than challenge.

The Lady Tech Harriers placed third out of 13 teams, finishing ahead of fellow NEWMAC team Wheaton College (in 6th).

“We did pretty well against our big NEWMAC rivals today,” said Julia C. Espel ’05.

While the change in distance and the absence of another major conference rival, Wellesley College, made it difficult to extend any predictions for the championship meet (to be held Nov. 1), there were notable strong points to last weekend’s race.

“People were running together and our packs were really tight this race,” said Nancy J. Benedetti ’05.

The results clearly back up this statement. Pack running is an essential element of a successful cross country team, and last Saturday’s race produced a number of consecutive finishers, and several more within only a few seconds of each other.

Leading the scoring positions were the usual 1-2 runners, Espel in ninth and Martha W. Buckley ’04 in 10th, clocking 23:23 and 23:24 respectively. Karen L. Condon ’07, Alisha R. Schor ’07, and Karen A. Kinnaman ’06 made up the next pack of runners, separated by only 23 seconds. The spread between the first and fifth runners was only one minute and 24 seconds, a mere one second behind the season low, a strong statement considering that the longer course generally adds over four minutes to an individual’s time.

“There were definitely more pairs of people working together. Looking at the finishes you could see that,” Jen A. Gaugler ’05 said.

Paired finishes certainly seemed to be the theme of the day, as MIT’s sixth and seven finishers, Benedetti and Betsy R. Eames ’06, recorded identical times of 25:11 to finish 47th and 48th. Veronica A. Andrews ’05 and Gaugler also finished only three places apart.

“We’re in a good position to be competitive at NEWMAC” championships, Espel said.

Last weekend’s Twin Brook Invitational was dubbed by some the “National Qualifier Preview,” due to the fact that it is run on the National Qualifier course. If that is the case, then the future is looking fairly bright for the women’s cross country team. It seems that they have finally heeded head coach Paul Slovenski’s advice and learned to work “TECHgether.”