Sub-par races at NESCACs make runners hungry for DIIIs
Buckled into three sleek white vans, the women's cross country team traveled with the men's team to Middlebury on Halloween night for the NESCAC Championships. Despite strong efforts, the women did not race to their potential, finishing in 6th place out of the 11 NESCAC teams.
"We felt really out of sync as a team on Saturday," said co-captain Kala Hardacker '04. "[However], New England is the strongest conference in the nation, so we are not discouraged with a sixth-place finish at NESCAC's."
The Bowdoin women's score of 167 placed them behind champion Middlebury, as well as Amherst, Williams, Trinity, and Wesleyan. Yet even with the majority of the Polar Bears racing slower than usual, they still beat Maine rivals Bates and Colby, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Neoma Palmer '07 led the women in black with an outstanding 11th-place finish, in a time of 18:54. Palmer earned All-NESCAC honors for finishing in the top 14 out of 121 competitors, and was the second-highest finishing first year, behind predominately juniors and seniors.
Six places behind Palmer, Audra Caler '05 ran courageously, finishing in 19:18. In the first half-mile of the race, Caler collided with a competitor in the thick of the aggressive lead pack and lost contact with her competitors. Caler pushed herself through the remainder of the race without a teammate to run with, still gaining on the leaders.
Less than 30 seconds behind Caler, Ellen Beth '05 crossed the finish line in 32nd place, with a time of 19:44, three seconds ahead of the first finisher from Bates.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth Bowdoin women finished in a tight pack, placing 59th, 61st, and 62nd. Livy Lewis '07 led the group in 20:22, followed five seconds later by Kristen Brownell '07, the last of the scoring top five. Hardacker raced into the finishing chute a mere half second behind Brownell, also completing the course in 20:27.
Katie Landry '05 led a second pack of women to finish in 93rd place with a time of 21:44. Co-captain Chelsea Spector '04 barreled through the final mile of the course, running a time of 21:47, one second ahead of Alix Roy '07.
Three places behind Roy was Jill Schweitzer '06 who finished in 21:56, ahead of Allie Yanikoski '06 in 22:05. Claire Discenza '05 rounded out the Bowdoin women, completing the race in 22:35.
The Polar Bears finished with an average team score, which is neither reflective of their performance earlier in the season, nor of their potential.
"We are eager to get another shot at New Englands [the regional qualifying meet for the NCAA championship] to place ourselves in the top five," said Hardacker. "We can definitely move up to the top five if every woman has her best race."
Top seven runners Caler, Palmer, Beth, Hardacker, Lewis, Brownell, and Landry will train through the next week until the New England Division III race on November 15; however, this weekend Spector, Roy, and Schweitzer will represent Bowdoin in their final race of the season, the ECAC Championship meet at Tufts.