Women’s Cross Country | Beltrani leads Jumbos to first-place finish
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 09:10
The Tufts women’s cross county team continued its strong start to the season by winning the Bowdoin Invitational Meet on Saturday. Improving on a second-place finish last weekend, the Jumbos dominated the 10-team field at Bowdoin with a score of 19 points, and finished ahead of the hosting Polar Bears, who came in second with 52.
Tufts sophomore Olivia Beltrani finished in first place, and senior tri-captains Lauren Creath and Abby Barker were right behind her in third and fourth place, respectively. Sophomore Audrey Gould and senior Molly Mirhashem finished in fifth and sixth place to round out the scoring for the Jumbos.
“We aimed to get off the line together and work off each other the whole race, pulling each other along to maintain a good pack,” Beltrani said. “Most telling of our success this week was not the places or team score, but rather the closeness in time of our finishes.”
In an incredible display of both talent and depth, Tufts claimed seven of the top eight spots, and eleven of the top thirteen. The team finished with just a 36-second 1-5 spread. This comes as no surprise, as the main theme that the team has emphasized all season is the importance of running as a pack.
“Going into Saturday’s race we were really focused on running as a pack,” Creath added. “We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to run as a team and really push each other. During the race we were talking, communicating and letting each other know where we were. Simple words like, ‘Right here!’ or minor hand gestures help to tell each other to keep working hard and to stay connected to the pack. This will help us in larger and post season races when our focus will be to get five Tufts girls across the finish line as quickly as possible.”
Beltrani’s time of 22:40 in the 6-kilometer race was good enough for the first meet victory of her collegiate career. But still, she stressed the significance of running as a team.
“Nothing about winning a race is a solo ride,” she said. “It was the teammate that got us out, or the one that pulled us through the tough middle of a race, or the one that offered words of encouragement on an exhale that, when combined, helped us cross the line at the end. We aim to bolster each others’ performances both in the race and all the days surrounding it.”
While the team does have two meets coming up in October, the date that everyone has circled on their calendar is Nov. 2, when the Jumbos will travel to Connecticut College for the NESCAC Championship. If this weekend’s meet is any indication, the Jumbos look like a force to be reckoned with.
“We entered the season with extremely high, yet realistic goals of getting top three at NESCACS and top four at Regionals,” Creath said. “We will use this past weekend’s performance to reassure us that we are very capable of accomplishing our season goals. If we run with confidence and composure, stay as a pack and believe in the fact that we are fit enough to run with the lead girls, then we will have success.”
Yet, there is still much work to be done. The team will get a chance to train hard together for the next two weeks, not competing in another meet until Oct. 12 in the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championship at Franklin Park in Boston.
“We hope to build upon this past weekend’s success by continuing to stay healthy and to keep working hard in workouts and races,” Creath said. “We won’t be celebrating until we accomplish our goals at NESCACs and Regionals, so we have to remain humble and focused.”