The United States Merchant Marine Academy women's cross country team finished 31st out of 53 teams at the ECAC Championships this past weekend in Williamstown, MA.
A total of 284 runners competed at the meet, which pits top competition stretching as far north as Maine, as far south as Virginia, and as far west as western Pennsylvania. Hosted by Williams College, the 6K course at Mt. Greylock High School was difficult and hilly. Weather conditions were ideal for running with temperatures hovering in the low 40's, clear skies, and low humidity.
The Mariners were significantly shorthanded as they only ran five runners due to athletes being unable to make it back from fall break in time because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Included in the absentees were Kings Point's number one runner Gretchen Holoubek, and number three runner, Elizabeth Coulter. Despite having the odds stacked against them, the lady mariners ran with a lot of heart and improved on the team standing by three places from a year ago.
Sophomore captain Amber Kinter led the way for the Mariners with a time of 27:28. Coming in second for Kings Point was freshman Madeline Sullivan (pictured) who ran her best race of the year and her second best lifetime race on an extremely difficult course with a time of 27:51.
Freshmen Emily Bull (28:26) and Saxon Londagin (28:54) came in fourth and fifth for USMMA respectively, running well after returning from recent minor injuries.
Junior Chelsea Tapper rounded out the finishers for the Mariners with a time of 31:50. Tapper has spent the past few months at sea and didn't have the opportunity to train for the event. She will be captaining the women's track and field team when the season commences in a few weeks.
"I'm "genuinely proud of our girls," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "We faced a lot of adversity this week surrounding Hurricane Sandy. We were missing some valuable pieces to our team but our girls rose to the occasion and ran tough. Their heart and dedication are really starting to build a strong foundation for the future of our program."
Merchant Marine will spend the coming week recovering and gearing up for NCAA Regionals taking place Saturday November 10th in Rochester, NY.