Women’s Cross Country Hosts Conference Championships
The Gettysburg College women’s cross country team placed fifth of 12 teams at the Centennial Conference Championships (Photo Khun Minn Ohn)
By John Zak, Staff Writer
The Bullets women’s cross country team placed fifth out of 10 teams at the Centennial Conference Championships Sunday. This was the 25th annual Centennial Conference Cross Country Championships and took place at Gettysburg College for the first time since 2009.
The Championship competition featured division III teams from schools such as regional first-ranked Johns Hopkins University, second-ranked Dickinson College, third-ranked Haverford College, and Swarthmore College. Each filled the first, second, third, and fourth place spots respectively.
The women’s cross country team’s finish was led by the individual performances of senior Elizabeth Hilfrank and junior Sarah Rinehart. Their performances earned both of them All-Conference honors for the first time in each of their careers.
In the 6k race, Hilfrank clocked in at 21:55, making a new personal record on the course and the second best time of her career. Hilfrank also placed fourth overall in the race of 100 runners, the best placement of any Gettysburg College runner on that course in 8 years. Hilfrank’s time is also the fastest time to be recorded by a Bullet on the home course.
Hilfrank placed first on the team complimenting what has been a strong season for her.
Rinehart finished 12th in the varsity competition, also setting a new personal record with a time of 22:43. Rinehart placed second on the team.
This All-Conference duo of Hilfrank and Rinehart was the first time two Bullets had made it into the top Conference teams since 2010.
Along with the strong individual efforts of Hilfrank and Rinehart, the team as a whole presented a solid performance on Sunday. The team finished with a score of 113 to beat Bryn Mawr College (sixth), Muhlenberg College (seventh), Franklin and Marshall College (eighth), and Ursinus College (ninth), respectively.
The group’s achievement was supported by four Bullet runners finishing in the top 30.
Along with the fourth and 12th place finishes of Hilfrank and Rinehart, first year Michelle O’Malley finished 24th overall with a time of 23:50.5 and junior Paige Wesolowski crossed the line 28th overall with a time at 24:07.7.
All but two of the Lady Bullets finished with times significantly faster than at the Gettysburg Invitational, held on the same course, two weeks ago.
“Everything really came together this past weekend,” said Colleen Campbell ’19. “The girls have been working all season to run in packs, and I feel this weekend was the best that we have done yet.”
Campbell, who finished 45th overall with a time of 25:30.4 in the Centennial Conference Championships, was happy with her personal results. Campbell was the fifth and final point scorer for the team.
“I am really glad with how the Conference Championship went,” said Campbell. “My teammates were so helpful throughout the race. They always encourage me to push my pace and focus on passing.”
Sunday’s performance has the team looking forward to the regional meet to be held in two weeks. The Bullets are currently ranked ninth in the region.
“We are going to do big things at regionals!” said Campbell. “Our races keep improving every week and we have the potential to really do something great.”
Sunday’s race was the last competition for the whole team, as only seven women are allowed to be entered into the regional meet. The meet will bring the Bullets to face all the same teams from the Centennial Conference in addition another 40 competitors to reach a total of approximately 350 racers.
The Gettysburg College women’s cross country team will have a week off to rest before facing tough competition in the NCAA Division-III Mid-East Regionals. The meet will take place at Big Spring High School in Newville, PA at 12p.m. Saturday, November 11.