POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- The Williams College men's cross country team competed in the annual Ron Stonitsch Invitational, hosted by Vassar College. After finishing sixfth in last year's NCAA Division III Championships in November of 2011, this Eph team, led by tri-captains Wade Davis, Brandon Abasolo, and Scott Rodilitz (who was announced as a member of the 2013 Phi Beta Kappa class in Saturday's Convocation ceremony) look to guide a hungry Williams team to a higher finish at this year's national championships.
Under threat of thunderstorms, the race began at 10:30 am and finished just in time to avoid the subsequent downpour. An experienced team, Williams started their season strong by winning the the event in remarkable fashion, finishing with a team score of 15 total points, the fewest amount of points possible in a cross country meet. Host Vassar placed second with 57 points, while New Paltz was third with 91, Stevens fourth with 109, and Scranton fifth with 152.
Williams managed to place nine runners in the top eleven finishers, a dominant performance that points to the early-season fitness of this 2012 team. Head coach Pete Farwell saw his lead runners work together as a pack and control the race from start to finis. The thirteen second gap between the Ephs' top six runners secured the victory. "The team ran according to plan, and showed the fitness they have developed over the summer," noted Farwel. "I think we have more guys than ever before who have really bumped up their training and are vastly improved from last year. That's exciting for all and a great thing for a coach to see."
Cole Townsend, a talented sophomore coming off impressive freshman cross-country and outdoor track seasons, ran with Wade Davis, junior Chris Lee (less than ten seconds away from All-American status at last year's NCAA Championships), and Scott Rodilitz to finish first overall in a of 19:56 over the six kilometer distance. Davis placed second in 19:57, Lee was third in 19:58, and Rodilitz was fourth in 19:59.26. Highly anticipated freshman Bijan Mazaeri rounded out the top five with a time of 20:08 (5:24 per mile pace), while senior Peter Watson placed sixth.
For the remainder of the season, the Ephs' varsity athletes will run eight kilometer races, rather than the six kilometers they raced today. The team's next challenge is their own Purple Valley Classic, which they host at their home course on the grounds of Mt. Greylock High School on September 22nd.