No. 16 women's cross country places third at NESCAC Championships

Tara Ellard and the Bates women's cross country team took third place among 11 teams at the NESCAC Championships on Nov. 2, 2019 in Williamstown, Mass. (Courtesy of Patti Barrett)

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The No. 16 nationally ranked Bates women's cross country team matched its best finish at the NESCAC Championships since 1987 on Saturday, taking third place out of 11 teams behind All-NESCAC performances by first-year Jillian Richardson and senior Olivia LaMarche.

Bates scored 110 points to finish behind only No. 4 Williams (58) and No. 6 Tufts (90). No. 18 Middlebury finished 15 points behind Bates, and Bowdoin (161) rounded out the top five teams. It is Bates' fifth straight year with a top-five finish at the conference championship meet. The Bobcats last finished third at the meet in 2016.

Richardson (Auburn, Maine) and LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) gave the Bobcats multiple All-NESCAC performers for the fourth consecutive year, finishing ninth and 14th, respectively, among 146 runners. Richardson covered the 6-kilometer course on Williams College's home course at Mt. Greylock High School in 22:45.5, becoming the team's first All-NESCAC rookie since the 1990s.

LaMarche finished in 22:55.4, a hair ahead of Williams senior Madeleine Boutet, as she notched her second career All-NESCAC award, following her eighth-place finish in 2017.

Sophomore Tara Ellard (Brewster, Mass.) had a big race as Bates' third runner, placing 21st in 23:23.6. Junior Vanessa Paolella (Dingmans Ferry, Pa.) took 30th place in 23:37.2, and junior Abby Hamilton (Yarmouth, Maine) rounded out the team scoring in 39th place (23:47.6). Bates' spread of 1:02.1 between its first and fifth runners was second-lowest in the field behind Williams (0:50.6).

First-years Jordan Wilson (Medfield, Mass.) and Lily Harding (Kenfield, Calif.) were the Bobcats' displacers in 43rd place (23:49.9) and 46th place (23:52.6), respectively.

The Bobcats will race again at NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships, hosted by Bowdoin on Nov. 16. The men's race begins at 11am, followed by the women's race at noon.