Women’s Cross Country Easily Captures First Overall at Smith Invitational
Issue   |   Tue, 09/12/2017 - 22:07

The Amherst women’s cross-country team started the new season strong with a first-place finish at the Smith Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 9.

Competing against a field comprised entirely of Massachusetts schools, Amherst dominated the race, placing five runners in the top 10 out of a field of 95 runners. The team scored 28 points, well ahead of second-place finisher Westfield State University, who scored 83 points.

“We have been very focused during practice, and I think that translated to strong races,” Kristin Ratliff ’20, Amherst’s top finisher, said.

The hilly five-kilometer race traced a route around the trail system surrounding Smith’s campus. The course featured a difficult mix of grassy terrain and trails, and runners considered it one of the toughest courses on which they’ve competed in the past few years.

Ratliff placed second in the invitational with a time of 19:34.8.

Team captain Lela Walter ’19 (20:04.0) and Sarah Gayer ’21 (20:05.9) followed in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

First-years Haley Greene (20:11.7) and Olivia Polischeck (20:33.7) finished in seventh and 10th place, respectively, while senior captain Helen Clapp ’18 finished in 37th (22:12.1).

With three first-years in the top ten overall, the women’s team has a strong base for seasons to come.

“I’m especially proud of our freshmen women for doing so well at our first meet,” Gayer said. “I’m so excited to race with them this season and in future seasons.”

Top returners and captains Nicky Roberts ’18 and Veronica Rocco ’19 did not compete in this race, as the meet was largely a chance for other, less-established runners to showcase their ability. However, the two stalwarts are fully primed to return to action for the season’s upcoming meets.

The Mammoths continue their season on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Purple Valley Classic, which will be hosted by rival Williams College. Last season, Amherst placed ninth in a 23-team field at the event.