2019 women's cross country season preview

Brigit Humphreys '21 (Josh McKee photo)
Brigit Humphreys '21 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College finished eighth out of 44 teams at the 2018 NCAA Division III Atlantic Region Cross Country Championships. This year the Continentals are seventh in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason rankings for the Atlantic Region.

Hamilton has the unenviable task of replacing Grace Heller '19, who earned all-region honors twice and competed in the NCAA championships in 2017 and 2018. Heller finished in 73rd place out of 279 runners at last year's national meet and was named the NESCAC Performer of the Week on Oct. 1 after landing in third place out of 192 athletes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Saratoga Invitational.

Brigit Humphreys '21 leads a dozen returning runners for the Continentals. Humphreys finished 60th at regionals and is one of four athletes on the roster who ended up in the top 100 at the regional meet. Liza Greene '22 was 72nd, Mia Schiel '22 was close behind in 76th place, and Haley Driscoll '21 took 92nd place. Kristen Bitsberger '22 rounded out Hamilton's seven competitors in the regional race. The three seniors on the 2019 roster are Courtney Brunet '20, Erin Schwartz '20 and Ellie Williams '20.

The Continentals were ranked 27th in the Division III Top 35 coaches poll on Sept. 12 last year, and they captured the team title in all three meets held at Hamilton. The Continentals open this season with their short course invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7. The 10-team meet includes Utica College, SUNY Oneonta, Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport, and Division II programs Le Moyne College and Roberts Wesleyan College. The women's race starts at 11 a.m.

The Hamilton Invitational is on Oct. 5 and the Short Course Tuneup is scheduled for Oct. 26. The Continentals travel to meets hosted by Williams, the University of Rochester and St. Lawrence University. The NESCAC championships are at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Massachusetts, regionals are at St. Lawrence and the national championships are at EP Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.