UMass women’s cross country ties for first at mini-meet
The Massachusetts women’s cross country team excelled in its shortest race of the season on Friday. The team placed first at the CCSU Mini-Meet alongside No. 4 Providence with 78 points in the three kilometer race.
The UMass harriers faced off against only 15 other squads. Among them, many teams did not field their best runners because of the unusually fast nature of the race as well as to prepare for the conference and regional championships coming up in the next few weeks. Providence, for example, did not field its top four runners from its last meet at Wisconsin.
Two of the Minutewomen’s best runners – freshmen Natalie Mako and Heather MacLean – did not compete either after dealing with injuries.
Nevertheless, the Minutewomen put forward a concentrated attack led by freshman Christine Davis, who finished third overall with a time of 10:15, just 12 seconds short of the course record. Katie Powers, a junior, finished five seconds behind Davis, good for ninth overall.
The biggest story for UMass this season has been the performance of junior Rachel Hilliard. Hilliard had been the fastest runner for the Minutewomen in each of their previous meets, but she finished third for the team this time with a time of 10:26. Senior Sarah Barrett and junior Alexandra Purdue-Smithe wrapped up the scoring for UMass, finishing 24th and 27th, respectively. Barrett came in at 10:36 with Purdue-Smithe just a second behind.
Even the Minutewomen’s sixth and seventh runners, Carly Zinner (10:42) and Katrina Martyn (10:45), finished well ahead of the majority of the field, which consisted of 137 runners. The recent consistency of this team is promising as UMass heads into the Atlantic-10 Championships on Saturday.
Arthur Hayden can be reached at email@example.com.