Paced by Hilfrank’s First Place Finish, Lady Bullets Stride to Victory
By John Zak, Contributing Writer
The Gettysburg Bullets Women’s Cross Country came in first of 12 teams at the Delaware Valley Invitational Saturday in Doylestown, Pennsyvania.
The Delaware Valley Invitational Aggie Open featured a number of division III teams including Widener University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Eastern University, the top three schools to finish behind Gettysburg.
The Lady Bullets won the 6,000-meter race with a score of 46, average time of 25:08, and a total time of 2:05:41. They would beat the runner-up Widener University, which clocked in at 2:10:12, by five minutes in total time.
The Women’s Cross Country team not only came out on top as a team during the invitational, but it also had the best individual finish with senior co-captain Elizabeth Hilfrank finishing 1st out of 128 participants in the invitational. Hilfrank, from Norfolk, Massachusetts clocked in at 23:14.4 for the 6k and averaged 6:14 per mile during the Invitational.
“This was a really exciting meet for me,” said Hilfrank. “I had not won a race since my first year here, so it was definitely a good feeling.”
This has been a good year for Hilfrank as she has consistently led the team and placed within the top ten during competitions.
Junior Sarah Rinehart finished second for Gettysburg Saturday. With a time of 25:21.8 and average mile of 6:41.8, Rinehart would finish 11th overall in the competition. Rinehart finished 15 seconds faster than she did at last week’s first 6,000-meter competition at Kutztown University.
Junior Paige Wesolowski averaged 6:51.8 per mile to finish 3rd on the team and 13th overall with a time of 25:35.6. This time proved to be 59 seconds faster than last week’s competition.
The Women’s Cross Country team earned the inaugural Delaware Valley Aggie Open Invitational thanks to its depth in the pack. The team had six runners finish in the top 21 spots.
“One of our main focuses this season has been on pack running,” said Hilfrank. “Going into Saturday’s meet, we reiterated the importance of running together to push each other to go a little harder and to go a little faster. Everyone took this to heart and worked the unexpected hills and terrain that the course threw at us.”
Part of Head Coach Aubrey Shenk’s training program the past two weeks has been hill workouts. Faced with two very hilly courses in the past week, this training of using momentum from the downhills for the uphill has proved to be very beneficial.
“I felt the strongest I’ve felt this season during the DelVal invitational,” said junior Margot Hoagland. “All the hard work we have been putting in since the preseason is beginning to pay off.”
Hoagland finished 21st overall Saturday, serving as the first displacer for the team.
The race served to be a good preparatory race for this Friday’s competition at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University.
“Paul Short is a fantastic meet for improving your PR,” said Hoagland. “There is a ton of competition, the course is challenging but manageable. I am very optimistic going into this weekend.”
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams arrived early in August to begin preseason training. Their first regulation distance meet, however, was not until last weekend at Kutztown.
Like the distance, most Bullets have seen growth with each race.
“I’ve personally been improving with each race, and I hope to continue that trend as the season progresses so I can continue to be a consistent contributor to the team’s success,” said Hoagland.
Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Hilfrank is the co-sports editor of The Gettysburgian. She was not involved in final editorial decisions surrounding this piece (although the rest of the staff congratulates her on a big victory!). (BP)