HADLEY, Mass. – Bowdoin will host the 2012 NESCAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Brunswick, Maine. The 30th annual meet will kick off with the men's 8-kilometer race at 11:00 a.m. and conclude with the women's 6-kilometer competition at 12:00 p.m.
On the men's side, Williams will be looking to pick up its 14th overall title, second consecutive and third in four years. The Ephs will be without a trio of All-Conference selections from a year ago but return two Second Teamers in senior Wade Davis (Hallowell, Maine) and junior Chris Lee (Longmeadow, Mass.). Lee's first place showing at the Little Three Championship helped his squad secure top honors for the 25th straight time. As a team, Williams has come out on top four times this fall.
"Both teams [ men and women] have continued training well and building their championship race fitness and skills," noted Eph head coach Pete Farwell. "We are fairly healthy as a whole for this time of year, and feel we have almost all our athletes coming to a good peak for this NESCAC meet and beyond. To place well in this competitive conference we would like to see our top runner break into the top 5 or 10 finishers, and then to have a very tight pack with a minimal time spread between our first and fifth runners. If we do that we will be in the hunt versus Middlebury and Tufts on the women's side, and Bates, Tufts, Bowdoin and Middlebury on the men's."
Bates will be looking for its sixth NESCAC title and first since 1989 after a breakthrough fall in which it has won all five of its meets. Junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) earned All-NESCAC First Team honors a year ago and has been leading the Bobcats again this year. Hannan, junior Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) and senior Ken Whitney all have a first place finishes to their credit, while senior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) has placed in the top 10 four times. Wortham earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors in 2011.
Host Bowdoin will look to contend for its fourth NESCAC men's title since finishing at the top of the conference in both 2001 and 2002. Junior Sam Seekins (South China, Maine) has two first place finishes this fall, while classmate Coby Horowitz (Stow, Mass.) crossed the line sixth at the New England Championships. Horowitz was runner up at the 2011 NESCAC Championship, and his finish at the New England Championships was the best for a Polar Bear since 1981.
Tufts is also in search of its fourth NESCAC victory and first since three consecutive titles from 2003-05. Senior Matt Rand (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), who was third at last year's NESCAC Championship, has been pacing the Jumbos all fall. Other strong contributions have come from classmates Kyle Marks (Carmel, Ind.) and Tyler Andrews (Concord, Mass.), as well as juniors Jake McCauley (Darien, Conn.) and Ben Wallis (Dover, N.H.). Wallis clocked the fastest time at the Purple Valley Classic.
Middlebury will look to be back on top after winning its first title in 2010. After earning Second Team All-NESCAC in 2011, senior Jack Davies (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) has won three races for the Panthers this fall. In the process, he helped his team to first place honors at all three competitions. Junior Nate Sans (Princeton, Mass.) earned a first place finish at the State Meet, and senior Patrick Hebble (Sudbury, Mass.) clocked the team's fastest time at the Purple Valley Classic.
The individual title could be tightly contested, with Connecticut College junior Michael Leduc (Canton, Conn.) and Wesleyan seniors Skyler Cummins (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Bryan Marsh (West Hartford, Conn.) all running well. Cummins earned All-NESCAC honors in 2011, and Marsh was a 2011 All-American. He earned a second place finish at the Little Three Championship just over a week ago.