WESTFIELD, MA - The Williams College men's cross country team competed at the New England Championships at Westfield State on Sunday. The Ephs faced their first real test of the season squaring off against a strong field of 37 teams representing NCAA Divisions I, II, and III.
The highly anticipated event was the varsity 8,000 meter race. The course conditions were great with temperatures in the 50s and dry surfaces, producing fast times. The race got out extremely quick with Mike Biwott, a freshman from American International, building a huge gap on the entire field. He led the race from start to finish and ran a blistering 23:56. With such a fast field, the Ephs got out conservatively, settling into the middle of the pack. The Ephs tried to maintain their pack, but the course was very narrow at spots, making it tough strategically. Junior Chris Lee led Williams and had a fantastic race. Despite the fast paced race, he managed to move up extremely well in the fourth mile to run a 25:08. Wade Davis '13 also ran with Chris Lee for most of the race, finishing in 25:15.
The winner of the meet was Dartmouth followed by Boston College. The Ephs placed 8th in this competitive field and were defeated by NESCAC foes Tufts (ranked #11 nationally) and Bowdoin (ranked #23 nationally). Coach Farwell states, "We did well, but we're not quite at our top level. According to our training, we should have a lot of improvement later on."
Max Laberge '14 finished as the third man for the Ephs in 25:34. His closing speed the last 800 meters blew away the men in front of him. Not far behind was Scott Rodilitz '13 running 25:37. Senior Brandon Abasolo, fifth man on the team in 25:41, is now coming on strong after battling an injury for most of August. This bodes well for the team, and he rounded out the top 5 scorers for Williams. Freshman Bijan Mazaheri impressed and ran a 25:51 in his debut in the varsity race, and Peter Watson '13 finished as the seventh man in 26:12.
The sub-varsity 8,000 meter race had great performances as well. According to Coach Farwell, "The first year class was tremendous in their first 8k." Todd Ford '16 (17th) had his best performance of the season and was the first man for the Ephs, running a 26:06. After coming off an injury, Aldis Inde '15 (23rd) in 26:11 and Steve Mendoza '13 was 24th in 26:15. The Ephs were 4th in the race finishing behind Boston College, Tufts and Dartmouth.
The men will take to the course next Saturday at the Little 3 Championships at Amherst College. Coach Farwell looks forward to the meet as "our guys can pack up well in a smaller field." The meet will be great for practicing tactics that will later be important for bigger meets, as the championship season is just around the corner.