Hanover, IN- To try to sum up a season in a few hundred words seems to trivialize it. After all, how do you capture the highs and lows, the memories, the grueling workouts, the post-race elation, and the bonds established with a few words? Truth be told, you can't. Sure, the men's 3rd place finish in the NCAA Division III Championships says a lot about the success of the season, but it places a premium on results alone. It fails to capture what Williams cross-country is all about.
Perhaps a few quotations could capture the post-race mood. "This is definitely the best day of my life so far," said Jeff Perlis '10. "Trophies are nice," said Assistant Coach Mitchell Baker, referencing the men's and women's 3rd place trophies, "But what really makes this group of guys special is that they came together as a team." "In college," continued Baker, "Everything seems to be centered around helping yourself. So to have a program where guys truly care about the welfare of one another, oftentimes even more than their own, is truly special."
Baker also pointed out that the teams that do come together usually have results to show for it as well. There is no shortage of accolades for the 2008 Eph cross-country team. The team won the Little Three Championships for the 21st time in a row, the ECAC Championships for the 4th consecutive time, the NESCAC Championships for the 3rd consecutive time and, most importantly, finished 3rd in the NCAA Division III Championships. The Ephs finished behind only two teams with their score of 129 points: Cortland State (80 points) and North Central College (115 points). The race was won by NESCAC runner Peter Kosgei of Hamilton College.
Individuals shined as well. Edgar Kosgey '10 and Jeff Perlis '10 both earned All-American honors for finishing in the top 35. Kosgey finished 10th overall while Perlis finished 26th. Six runners ran personal bests at the championship including Kosgey, Perlis, Macklin Chaffee '09 (37th overall), Brendan Christian '09 (44th overall), Corey Watts '10 (76th overall), and Brian Cole '11 (192nd overall). And Anthony Raduazo '12, provided a glimpse of some of the Eph's young talent, running an impressive time of 26:26.
It really was a team effort. Thirty team members not running in the race made the trip from Williamstown, MA to Hanover, IN to cheer on the team, many by car. Many parents also showed up to support the team. As the team gathered for dinner after the race, it was clearly evident that this was a special team. David Carlin '12, spoke on behalf of the entire team when he said, "I am just so happy to be a part of this team, to be running with this group of guys. I can't imagine going to school anywhere else."
Next season will bring its own share of memorable moments and thrilling victories. And next year's team will have a different makeup as some seniors graduate and new freshman join the team. But there is something that links one team to the next, an inextricable bond. Wearing the Williams College uniform not only makes you a part of the current team but also of teams past. This year's 3rd place finish then, is both a memory that will last a lifetime for those who were a part of it and also another chapter in the storied history of Williams College cross-country.