The women’s cross country team did not even need their top runners to continue their recent success.

After a pair of top-10 finishes just two weeks ago in both the Paul Short Invitational and the Quinnipiac Invitational, the squad finished in seventh place Friday in the New England Championships. But for the avid cross country fan, there was something missing from the race, most notably a majority of the varsity runners.

“The New England Championships aren’t the best representation of our season since we ran our junior varsity team in the varsity race on Friday,” said team captain Anne Martin ’05. “Our varsity team is resting to run at the pre-national meet in Indiana this weekend, and a good performance there could help us get a bid to the national meet down the road.”

Though the majority of the runners during the meet were junior varsity, varsity runners such as Martin used it as an opportunity to come back from injury and to try to get a handle on where they stood with their running.

Joining the captain in this opportunity was Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who had also been out because of injury.

After the freshman’s performance on Friday, in which she led the Eli women with a fourth place finish, it seems as if her injury has healed.

“I was hoping to get in a solid race before pre-nationals next weekend,” said Donaldson. “I wasn’t worrying about my time or where I placed, I just treated [the race] as a good practice to prepare for pre-nationals.”

Donaldson finished fourth overall with a 5:43 pace on the track and finishing with a time of 17:47. Following Donaldson was Martin, who crossed the finish line with an overall time of 19:00 to take 44th place.

She was followed closely by Lauren Davis ’06 who finished four seconds later in 52nd place, and then by teammates Ingrid Sproll ’08, Katie Dewitt ’07, Vanessa Mazandi ’05 and Jaclyn Myers ’07 who placed 71st, 74th, 90th, and 105th, respectively, out of 302 competing athletes.

It was their performance that allowed Yale to place seventh overall out of the field of 45 teams, with 245 points. Ivy League rivals Brown and Harvard finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, and were edged out by Boston University, who finished first with 50 points

“We had a bunch of great performances, notably from our freshmen,” Martin said. “They’re starting to really settle in and raced really well. It’s easy to get intimidated in such big races and [the freshmen] were impressive competitors.”

However, the true test will come this weekend when the team travels to Indiana for the pre-national meet.

“It is a very important meet for our team,” Katie Matlack ’06 said. “The teams we beat at pre-nationals will decide our ranking later in the season, which could determine whether or not we make nationals.”