Williamstown, MA—The Williams Ephs hosted the annual Plansky Invitational on Saturday at Mt. Greylock High School. In addition to teams from Clark University, Southern Vermont College, and SUNY Delhi, a number of Williams alumni also competed. The meet is named in honor of Tony Plansky, coach of Williams cross country from 1931-78.
Cloudy skies and a temperature of 45 degrees provided great conditions for cross country. The athletes battled occasional wind gusts on the open parts of the course, but lack of recent rain made for a good surface under their feet.
In the men's 5k race, Williams alum Colin Cotton was victorious in 15:16. The top three collegiate finishers were John Hillenbrand (16:13, 3rd overall) and Kobie Lane (16:15, 4th overall) of SUNY Delhi, and Justin Ferguson (16:31, 6th overall) of Southern Vermont. SUNY Delhi was the top team with 33 points. Williams placed second with 41 points, Southern Vermont was third with a score of 73, and Clark took fourth with 88 points.
Austin Anderson '19 was the Ephs' top runner, finishing 10th in 16:48. Alex Cowen '18 was just behind Anderson in 11th place (16:52). Anderson rebounded well from a tough race last week at Amherst, while Cowen continued his season-long progression of good performances.
"Austin had a fine race after battling illness and knee problems for much of the season," said head coach Pete Farwell. "Alex has improved immensely since last year. He's pacing himself well and finishing with a strong kick."
Williams' third through fifth runners also came through in a tight pack. Jacob Kahrs '19 finished 16th in 17:23, Hiroshi Kirby '17 was 17th in 17:25 and Nigel Bates '17 took 19th in 17:31. This was Bates' first race of the season following an injury in the early fall. Today, he showed the hard work he's dedicated to cross training and building strength in recent weeks.
Greg Ferland '16 was the Ephs' sixth man, placing 21st in 17:43. Nick Nosce '16 rounded out the top seven, running 17:53 for 23rd place. The senior class in general performed well in the final race of their collegiate cross country careers. Matt Rock '16, Daquan Daly '16, and Michael Navarrete '16 each ran their fastest times of the season.
"I'm very pleased with our team's performance today," Farwell concluded.
Next Saturday, Williams' top 12 runners will compete at the NESCAC Champships hosted by Wesleyan. The Ephs have won two straight conference crowns, and enter the meet ranked second in the USTFCCCA national poll.