WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – On Saturday, the Williams College cross country team hosted the Purple Valley Classic held at Mt. Greylock High School. The meet featured teams spanning all three divisions of the NCAA, 17 of which competed with full squads in the men's varsity race. Conditions throughout the meet were cloudy, dry, and around 70 degrees, making for relatively quick times in all three races.
The premier men's event was the 8,000-meter varsity run. The race saw a tight pack up front for much of the early going and past the halfway mark. Coming out of the second hill loop, Tufts' Ben Wallis emerged with a sizable gap on the rest of the field. Wallis would maintain his lead through the finish, taking the victory in 26:13. Scott Rodilitz '13 of Williams closed well over the last mile, coming in four seconds back in 26:17. Patrick Hebble of Middlebury was third in 26:20, making for an all-NESCAC top three.
The host team, Williams, captured the team title handily, scoring 39 points and placing five runners in the top 14. Williams was ranked #11 in the country among Division III schools coming into the meet, behind #9 Middlebury, who finished second on the day with 72 points. NYU, who came in ranked #19, was third with 85 points. Tufts entered the meet as #8 in the country, but Wallis was their only runner competing.
Williams senior captain Wade Davis was up front for much of the race and held on as Williams' second finisher and sixth overall. His time of 26:23 put him only six seconds back of fellow captain Rodilitz. Junior Chris Lee, the Ephs' top returner from last year's national championships, was third for the team and ninth overall in 26:36. Senior captain Brandon Abasolo had a strong showing in his first race back from a hamstring injury that had kept him sidelined for most of August. He moved up very well in the latter stages of the race, ending up 13th overall in 26:48. Junior Max Laberge rounded out Williams' top-5, coming in just one second behind teammate Abasolo in 14th. Senior Peter Watson and sophomore Andrew Beaudoin were Williams' 6th and 7th runners, finishing in 27:28 and 27:41, respectively.
The Williams team also saw strong performances from several freshmen in the first event of the day, the coed 5,000-meter run. Bijan Mazaheri '16 took control of the race midway through and came home with the victory, in a time of 16:38. Fellow freshman Todd Ford was not far behind, finishing third overall and second among college runners in 16:51.
Some of the Williams men will race again next Saturday at the Alumni meet, which will take place on the same home course. This will be a special event that should see record-high attendance, given that it is the 100th Anniversary of the Williams cross country program. Many of the top Eph runners will skip the race next weekend and will next see action on October 7, at the All New England Championships in Westfield, MA.