On Saturday, most of the women’s cross country team traveled a few miles down I-93 to historic Franklin Park for the annual Codfish Bowl, a low-key meet featuring college, club and high school teams. Tufts, which was resting its top pack, absolutely obliterated the field, running away with 31 points for the victory, 63 points lower than second-place Phillips Andover Academy and 68 points lower than third-place Merrimack College.
Franklin Park is an historic venue located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods that has hosted hundreds of high school, collegiate and professional cross country meets, including the 1992 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. All-time greats such as marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe, multiple world record-holder and multiple-time Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie and multiple U.S. marathon champion Shalane Flanagan have all traversed Franklin Park’s course in its storied history.
Over the weekend, junior co-captain Alice Wasserman led the Jumbos on the day, taking the individual victory in the 161-person race, running 19:01 for the 5000-meter course and holding off Carmen Bango of Phillips Andover. Senior Sydney Smith, who after a strong outdoor track season which saw her run a super quick 4:32.42 in the 1500-meter, nabbed fourth in 19:20, while senior Lily Corcoran and first-year Kelsey Tierney grabbed seventh and eighth in 19:35 and 19:36, respectively. First-year Clara Wagner rounded out the scoring as the fifth runner for the Jumbos, taking 11th in 19:40, finishing just a few seconds behind Corcoran and Tierney. Overall, the Jumbos put six runners under 20:00 (sophomore Sara Stokesbury was 15th in 19:57), an impressive number that highlights the team’s depth.
“Going into the race, my plan was to get out hard and to try to stay up close to the front…with a few of my teammates since it was a relatively small meet,” Corcoran told the Daily in an email. “Then I tried to just hang on as best as I could for the second half of the race.”
The first-years also had an impressive day overall, as all of them placed in the upper half of the field.
“The freshmen looked really good this weekend,” Corcoran said. “We have a really deep team this year, and the freshmen have done a great job of jumping right in and adding to that, even this early in the season.”
The first-years have had a phenomenal impact on the team, and Tierney thinks they can do even more.
“Because our class already has a few girls in the top pack, we’ll be able to contribute a lot to the team in the future, both this year and in the coming years,” she told the Daily in an email.
Tierney also explained how her overall impression of collegiate cross country compares with high school running.
“College running has been better than I expected; it’s similar to high school with how close and supportive the team is, but with more numbers and increased depth,” Tierney said. “I just wanted to improve upon my race the weekend before [at Bates] and work together with the other girls.”
Most of coach Kristen Morwick‘s squad will have next weekend off as the top pack travels to Lehigh in Bethlehem, Penn. for the annual Paul Short Invitational. “Paul Short,” as it has become known, is one of the largest high school and collegiate cross country festivals in the nation, featuring thousands of runners from Div. I, Div. II, Div. III and high school who want to race against national competition.
However, the squad that raced this weekend will be back at Franklin Park in two weeks for the annual New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships, known informally as “Open New Englands,” to race against the region’s best runners from all divisions.
“This weekend we are sending 10 girls, most of whom didn’t race this weekend, to Paul Short,” Corcoran said. “For the rest of us, we’re going to train through this weekend and get ready to go back to Franklin Park in two weeks.”