Local colleges: Williams women win national D-III cross country championship


WINNECONNE, WISC. >> For the first time in 11 years, the Williams College women are NCAA Division III cross country champions.

The Ephs placed three runners in the top 15 and scored a decisive championship victory. The Ephs finished with 81 points, while runner-up SUNY-Geneseo had 179 points and MIT was third with 182. Three-time defending national champion Johns Hopkins had two runners finish in the top 10, but ended up fourth.

Hannah Cole led the way for Williams. The reigning NESCAC runner of the week finished second among the team runners, running the 6 kilometers at the Lake Breezee Golf Course in 21 minutes, 30.3 second.

Victoria Kingham (21:35.1) was seventh for the Ephs and Lacey Serletti (21:39.2) was 13th.

The individual champion was Abrah Masterson of Cornell College, who won in 21:23.1. She beat Willamette's Olivia Manci by 2.3 seconds.

Williams won its last national championship in 2004, and it's the school's third national championship. The Ephs were second in 2013.

In the men's championship, Williams took second. It was the best finish for a Williams team in the NCAA championship since the Ephs were second to North Central (Ill.) in 2009.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire won its first-ever title Saturday, with 135 points to 144 for Williams. Geneseo was third at 209. North Central was fifth with 254. North Central also lost to Williams in 1994 when the Ephs claimed their only Division III crown.

The difference between first and second was one position. Eau Claire's Josh Thorson finished second, Ryan Mugan was ninth and Darin Lau was 12th. For Williams, Bijan Mazaheri was third, Peter Hale was 13th and Todd Ford was 31st.

Ian LaMere of Wisconsin-Platteville won the individual event, covering 8 kilometers in 23:35.4. Thorson's time was 24:15 and Mazaheri's time was 24:41.4.


In Geneva, N.Y., Williams set up a rematch with William Smith in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Ephs beat Stevens Institute of Technology 2-1, while William Smith needed overtime to defeat Brandeis 1-0.

The two teams will play this afternoon at 1:30 p.m., for the right to go to the NCAA Division III Final Four next month in Kansas City, Mo.

Freshman Kristina Alvarado scored both Williams goals, as the Ephs got out of the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.

"Kristina has been knocking on the door for a while," Williams coach Michelyne Pinard said in a post-game press conference. "She has been creating so many opportunities for us. I knew that it eventually was going to happen. For it to happen in the Sweet 16 is not a bad day for a first-year."

Alvarado broke a scoreless tie at 12:45, and made it 2-0 when she tapped home a cross from Kriste Kirshe at 49:32.

Gabby Mathelier scored with just under eight minutes left, foiling goalkeeper Tressa Palcheck's shutout bid.

In the first game, Kara Shue scored 2:26 into overtime to keep William Smith's hopes for another NCAA title alive. The Herons last won the title in 2013.


In North Adams, Kayla Hotaling had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds as the MCLA women (2-2) evened their season record with a 62-44 win over SUNY-Cobleskill (1-2).

Hotaling also had five blocks in the victory. Courtney Durivage came off the bench to add 11 for MCLA.

The Trailblazers took an 18-6 lead after the first quarter, extending the lead to 36-17 at halftime. That proved to be too much for the Fighting Tigers to overcome.

Ashley Creighton had 14 points for Cobleskill.

Pittsfield's Courtney McLaughlin had seven points and seven rebounds for the Trailblazers while McKenzie Robinson of Adams came off the bench to pick up five assists and two steals in 21 minutes.


In Williamstown, Hamilton's Megan Ahern scored at 14:30 of the third period to break a scoreless tie and beat host Williams 1-0. Both teams are now 1-1.

Sam Walther had a big day in goal for Hamilton, stopping 20 shots for the shutout. Christina Cleroux made 17 saves.


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