AMHERST, MA – On Saturday, the Williams men's cross country team made the short trip to Amherst for the annual Little Three Cross Country Championships. Williams entered having captured the title 24 years straight and with high hopes of capping a quarter-century of dominance over both Amherst and Wesleyan. The team couldn't have hoped for better day – race weather was sunny and in the low-50s with no wind. Some muddy conditions along the course were all that could have slowed some runners.
After watching the Williams women take down the field, the men toed the line for the 8,000-meter race. Soon after the gun went off, many opposing runners moved to the front and took the race out quickly. Senior captain Wade Davis would say later that the top group of Williams runners, who intended to run at least the first part of the race as a pack, were "prepared for a fast opening pace, and focused on staying relaxed and patient." Still, as far in as the two-mile mark the race was far from decided, with a strong group of Amherst runners still pressing up front.
Over the course of the next mile, Amherst runners began to fade while Davis pushed the pace and the field started to string out. Up front with Davis was Chris Lee '14, who made a decisive move at about the 3.5-mile mark. He put substantial distance on the field, and was never challenged for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, fellow senior captains Scott Rodilitz and Brandon Abasolo were moving up from slightly farther back in the race. The pair made up enough ground in the latter stages of the race to reach consecutive 3-4-5 positions along with Davis, separated from Lee only by Wesleyan runner Bryan Marsh. Lee's winning time was 26:11.8, with Davis, Rodilitz, and Abasolo coming in at 26:19.1, 26:19.5, and 26:23.6, respectively.
Junior Max Laberge closed out the top-five for the Ephs, finishing 11th overall in 26:58.2 and sealing the victory for the Williams squad. Williams freshman Bijan Mazaheri was sixth on the team in 27:15.4, and sophomore Aldis Inde had his best race of the season, finishing as the seventh man in 27:29.4.
The Ephs would total 23 points to Amherst's 46 and Wesleyan's 61. After the race, head coach Pete Farwell emphasized "the impressive performance of all three senior captains," to go along with the stellar leadership they have provided all season long.
Next weekend's Plansky Invitational at home will be the end of the season for many of the Eph runners as it is the last event before the championship meets begin. Next Saturday at Mt. Greylock HS the men will run at 6K at 11:45 AM.
Those still competing in the championship season could have a two-week break before the NESCAC Championships. The Ephs will try to defend their NESCAC title on Saturday, October 27th at Bowdoin.