Women's Cross Country | Jumbos cruise to easy victory at Conn. College Invitational
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 08:10
The final regular season meet presented two opportunities for the women’s cross country team: run a fast time on a quick course and notch a convincing victory that was sure to boost the confidence of the squad heading into championship season.
The squad certainly seized those opportunities. Outpacing runner−up Plattsburgh State by 37 points, the Jumbos’ score of 51 was the best of the day.
Keene State placed third with 151 points and SUNY Oneonta and Southern Connecticut State finished fourth and fifth with scores of 157 and 158, respectively.
On the individual side, Bridgewater State junior Molly Roulliard ran to an individual victory. Her time of 21:44 over the six−kilometer course bested the 244−runner field.
Several Tufts athletes clocked impressive times en−route to the landslide victory, as racing conditions were nearly perfect on the waterfront course. For the third time this season, freshman Audrey Gould led the way, placing fourth overall with a time of 21:58. Her performance was encouraging considering she sat out the previous race with an injury.
“I can barely feel the tendonitis anymore,” Gould said. “So I think it’s safe to say it’s basically healed.”
Next across the line for the Jumbos was junior Abby Barker. Her time of 22:11 was good enough for eighth overall. Junior Laura Peterson and junior tri−captain Madeleine Carey finished back−to−back in 11th and 12th with times of 22:29 and 22:30, respectively.
Peterson’s stellar performance so far this season has not gone unnoticed by her teammates.
“Laura Peterson has made the biggest impact on the team this season,” Carey said. “Every race she gets stronger and more sure of herself. She has a wicked kick, which will be essential to scoring well in big postseason meets like Nationals.”
Closing the scoring for Tufts on Saturday was senior tri−captain Lilly Fisher, who placed 19th with a time of 22:41. Crossing the line immediately after Fisher with an identical time was freshman Olivia Beltrani. Rounding out the Jumbos’ top seven was junior Molly Mirhashem. She clocked a time of 22:57, which qualified her for 27th place.
Much like Peterson, Mirhashem has demonstrated consistent improvement from week−to−week, and is currently in position to be a key contributor for the team.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Mirhashem said, “I’m just going to try to continue doing what I’ve been doing, and keep putting in what it takes to contribute as much as I can to the team.”
The team’s impressive performance on Saturday was just what the squad was looking for heading into championship season.
“We knew we had a good shot at winning,” Gould said. “I think we all went in planning on running aggressively to achieve that goal. Winning that decisively should give us some confidence going into the championships.”
Carey echoed that sentiment, saying the victory was a huge confidence−booster heading into the postseason.
There is, however, still plenty of work to do over the next few weeks in order for the squad to be at its best when it matters most.
“Train hard, eat well, rest plenty, get hyped,” Carey said. “We still have over a month until nationals which is our ultimate goal for the season, so over the next two weeks we will be putting in some hard work.”
The first postseason test is the NESCAC Championship on Oct. 27, a race in which the Jumbos have good reason to believe they can make an impact due to their stellar depth.
“NESCACs should be a great race for us,” Mirhashem said. “We can showcase the fact that we have twelve girls who can compete seriously, not just seven.”
“We have the potential to run very well in the postseason,” Carey added. “We just need to show up on race day and get it done.”