November 11, 2007

Women's Cross Country Takes Fifth at NCAA Northeast Regional Meet

Nov. 11, 2007

Boston, MA - Fresh off its third-place finish at the Ivy League Championships, Director Craig Lake's women's cross country team took fifth at the NCAA New England Regional Championships on Saturday at Franklin Park in Boston. The team tallied 142 points, only 11 outside of a berth to the national competition, marking a three-place improvement from last season.

Though cross-town rival Providence and Stony Brook secured the team bids to Nationals by placing first and second, the Brown women will still be represented at the big dance, as senior Smita Gupta (Tulsa, OK) finished seventh overall (20:54) on the 6-kilometer course to punch her ticket.

"I am thrilled that Smita qualified for Nationals," said Lake. "I feel that we have left our mark as one of the most up and coming programs. I am confident we will be a nationally ranked team in the near future."

The last time the women's side put an athlete on the line at the NCAA Cross Country nationals was in 2001 when the team finished 29th, and no individual has finished with All-American status since Sara Tindall took 19th in 2000.

Brown was the top Ivy League school in the meet as they surpassed nationally ranked Columbia, even though the light blue finished second at the conference meet. The Bears outpaced the Lions, who took sixth, by 23 points, and the young team also comfortably bested Cornell (seventh, 200), Harvard (eighth, 218), Yale (10th, 251) and Dartmouth (15th, 452). Princeton and Penn compete in the MidAtlantic Region.

Also earning All-Regional certificates were sophomores Ariel Wright (Oakland, CA) and Jenna Ridgway (Santa Barbara, CA). The duo finished in 11th (21:03) and 13th (21:05), respectively. The young squad had rookies securing the final two scoring positions, as Kesley Ramsey (Franklin Lakes, NJ) crossed in 44th (21:50) and Megan Fitzpatrick (Hopewell Valley, NJ) took 69th (22:18) in their first NCAA action.

Also on the Regional roster were first-year competitors Lauren Pischel (La Jolla, CA) (88th, 22:38) and Cara Harrison (Gaithersburg, MD) (125th, 23:08).

It was the second-consecutive year for Wright and Gupta to take home All-Region honors. However, Gupta posted a 15-spot improvement and Wright moved up ten places from last year's meet.

Gupta's time of 20:54.25 on the 6k route was an astonishing three and a half minutes faster than her finish at the 2005 Regional competition, her last outing on the course. Two weeks ago, Gupta took sixth to lead the team at the Ivy League Championships en route to her first All-Ivy cross country honors.

While the rest of the squad transitions to the indoor season, Gupta will finish out her final fall campaign as she competes at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 19.

Team Scores:
1. Providence - 73
2. Stony Brook - 118
3. Boston College - 132
4. Syracuse - 139
5. BROWN - 142
6. Columbia - 165
7. Cornell - 200
8. Harvard - 218
9. Boston University - 225
10. Yale - 251