| Rachel Asher '09
Williams women's cross country has become a force in New England
and the nation. In the past 17 years the Ephs have won eight New
England Division III Championships and finished runner-up six
times. Williams has qualified 14 consecutive years for the NCAA
Championship, recording eight top-5 finishes.
The program was initiated in 1976 with Bud Fisher as head coach and sent its first NCAA qualifiers in 1981: All-Americans Sue Marchant (14th) and Liz Martineau (22nd) led the way. Fisher coached 1976-77 and 1980-86 seasons, with Doug Armstrong filling in during 1978 and 1979.
Larry Bell coached 1987-1990, Rob Colantuono 1991-1992, Monica Egbuonu 1993-1995, and Kristen Morwick 1996-1999. In 1990 five individual Ephs qualified for the NCAA, and then created a team score at the NCAA Championships, which was good enough for 3rd: Rebecca Adams ’93 12th, Cherie Macauley ’92 20th, Anne Bokman ’91 23rd, Anne Platt ’91 27th and Lindley Hall ’93 64th.
In 1995, sophomore Jessica Caley bested the entire field at the NCAAs to become the NCAA Division III Individual Champion.
In 2000, under the direction of Pete Farwell for the first time, the women enjoyed their best season in history, ending with a 2nd place finish at the NCAA Championships: Joey Shapiro '01 led the way with a 3rd place finish overall, with Courtney Bennigson '01 and co-captain Julia Bensen '03 also earning All-American honors. The Ephs followed that up with another runner-up finish at the NCAAs in 2001, led by All-Americans Jenn Campbell '05 (3rd) and Bensen (6th).
2002 found the Ephwomen on top of nearly every meet, sweeping three invitational meets, the NESCAC, ECAC, New England Division III regional, and NCAA titles! Co-Captain Bensen was joined up front again by Campbell and first-years Caroline Cretti and Michelle Rorke. With much improved Katie Marsh '05 as 5th runner, the team racked up 5 All-American slots (11-7-5-6-33 respectively). Cretti was the top first year at the NCAAs, and was NESCAC and New England region Athlete of the Year for her wins at those meets. Bensen became Williams’ first female three-time x-country All-American.
|Liz Gleason '08|
The 2004 squad had a superior final race to wrest the NCAA title
away from Middlebury by a 110-129 margin as Campbell and Cretti
went 3-4 for the Ephs. Campbell completed her x-country career with
4 All-American placings, the first Williams harrier, male or
female, to accomplish that feat. The ‘Second Seven’ won
the ECAC title for the 3rd consecutive year.
Cretti capped her astounding career in 2005 with her 4th New England regional individual title, and a 6th place NCAA finish to lead the Ephs to a runner-up NCAA championships finish after a convincing New England title. Also garnering All-American status were Rorke (14th), Liz Gleason (12th) and Mallory Harlin (28th).
Rachel Asher ’09 led the 2006 team to 3rd in conference and region, and then 8th at NCAAs, as she placed 31st to earn All-American honors.
Farwell's Ephs have qualified for the NCAA Championships every year they have been eligible (1993) and in 2007 they finished 14th at the NCAAs. The Ephs finished second in NESCAC, second at the NCAA New England qualifier and won the ECAC Championhip.
The 2008 squad had a phenomenal year, topped off with a 3rd place NCAA podium finish, led by Lauren Philbrook as All-American in 19th place. A close and deep pack backed her up all year, with Robin Kuntz, Meghan Shea and Bret Scofield finishing between 68th and 79th at the NCAA. Williams won Little Three over Amherst and Wesleyan, tied for the NESCAC conference title with Middlebury, and ran away with the ECAC championship with all 7 Ephs finishing in the top 10.
The 2009 team had a strong campaign taking 2nd at NESCAC, 3rd in Region, 1st at Little Three, and 2nd at ECAC before a solid team effort resulted in an 8th place finish at the NCAAs led by Jennifer Gossels in 49th, Olga Kondratjeva 57th, and Elly Teitsworth 82nd.
Sophomore Jen Gossels finished second at the 2010 NCAA Championships and led the Ephs to a fifth place finish. She was later tnamed the USTFCCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Chiara Del Piccolo concluded her 2011 season at the top of the charts winning the Division III NCAA Cross Country Championship, topping a field of 277. The race was held at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winnecone, WI. The win for Del Piccolo enabled her to close out the 2011 campaign with a five-race win streak. She later was named the USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, appeared in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Corwd and was the Honda Women's Corss Country Div. III Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Del Piccolo's individual win led the Ephs to a third palce finish in 2011.