WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – One year after junior Sophia Gorman ran through brutal conditions to win the NESCAC Championship, she toed the line again against the best runners in the conference. The rain and wind had since cleared and the storied Mt. Greylock course at Williams College provided a crisp, autumn backdrop for the battle ahead. Despite 145 runners doing their best to unseat her, Gorman again rose to the challenge, winning by six seconds to defend her title.
Two weeks ago, Gorman was the third NESCAC runner at the Connecticut College invitational, coming in behind two runners from Tufts. That race marked a midpoint in her progression back from injury, as she had sat out the Maine State Championships two weeks before that. Gorman showed she was more than ready to rise to the occasion. She ran with the same Tufts runners, Danielle Page and Sabrina Gornisiewicz, for most of the race, stretching the field early with an unrelenting pace on the challenging course. Gorman and Page eventually dropped Gornisciewicz before Gorman pushed for a late, solitary lead, winning the six kilometer race in 21.40.2, just six seconds ahead of Page.
Despite her win last year, Gorman remained humble and centered in her approach, stating, "Both Danielle and Sabrina are definitely faster than me on any given day so I knew it was going to be a mental battle. My leg up is more race experience, so yesterday I did everything I could do to stay ahead mentally. I used the quote 'it's up to me if it's to be' and I just really hate to lose." She did not, and remarked, "I didn't expect the race to go that way, but I am very happy with the outcome. Going into the week, I thought the front of the race would run in a loose pack and the win would come down to grit in the end." With the top 10 runners seperated by more than a minute at the finish, the race may have strung out more than Gorman expected, but she still needed and delivered every bit of grittiness necessary for the fight at the top.
Coach Jared Beers was also impressed with her mentality, which has helped her stay consistently excellent in her collegiate career. "Sophia's competitive mindset is what sets her apart and that was on display today. Even with a target on her as the defending champ she came and delivered. Such an impressive race."
The Mules finished eighth in the conference as a team. First-year Meghan Garrett raced to 42nd in her first NESCAC Championship. Rebecca Berube and Meredith Griffin were right behind Garrett in 49th and 52nd, respectively. Catie Riley rounded out Colby's top 5 in 77th.
Colby now focuses on their regional championships in two weeks. The team has an invitational race next weekend before heading to Bowdoin for regionals on November 16th with goals of qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
Photo courtesy of Ben Lawlor '22