HADLEY, MA – Williams College senior captain Bijan Mazaheri notched his fourth consecutive year on the All-NESCAC Men's Cross Country team, securing First Team honors this fall with a second place finish in the championship race.
This marks the third consecutive year Mazaheri has earned First Team honors and he was a named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2012.
"Bijan has led our team all season, both as the top runner and as a senior captain," noted assistant coach Nick Lehman. "He ran a bold race Saturday by pushing the pace for all eight kilometers. His outstanding work ethic has allowed him to run stride-for-stride with some of the top runners in America."
The top seven finishers at the NESCAC Championship race earn First Team All-NESCAC recognition, while the second seven finishers are awarded Second Team laurels.
The Ephs, ranked second nationally and first in New England, out scored second place Amherst 36 to 61 to claim the NESCAC title.
Sophomore Ben Decker collected his second All-NESCAC award this fall and picked up a First Team honor by finishing fourth in the race. A year ago Decker earned Second Team recognition as a first year competitor and was named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. "Ben has emerged from our pack to become a very strong #2 runner for us," said Lehman. "It was great to see him race confidently as he stuck with the NESCAC front-runners for most of the race."
Achieving All-NESCAC recognition for the first time in their purple and gold careers were Peter Hale (7th) who was named to the First Team, while sophomore Griffin Colaizzi (9th) and senior Todd Ford (14th) were named to the Second Team.
"Peter has been a strong and reliable racer throughout the season and NESCACs was no exception," Lehman stated. "His great performance at the NESCAC meet is a result of an excellent summer of training followed by hard work all fall."
Lehman also attributed a strong work ethic for the strong showing by Griffin Colaizzi pointing out that, "Griffin ran a smart race with a strong finish to put himself in the top ten. He has worked hard to consistently be in our top group of racers all season."
As for the Ephs' fifth honoree this fall, Todd Ford, Lehman said, "Todd ran patiently for the first half the race before moving up in the last two miles. His great finishing speed allowed him to grab the final all-conference spot and also clinch the team victory as our final scorer. He has made tremendous improvements throughout the season and has put himself in position to run his best at the championship meets."
Behind the stellar performance of this focused quintet the Ephs captured a fourth consecutive NESCAC crown and their eighth in the last 10 years. Overall the Ephs own a conference best 16 NESCAC crowns.
This Saturday the Ephs' second set of seven runners will compete in the ECAC Division III Championships that will be held on the Ephs' home course at Mt. Greylock HS.
The following weekend the Ephs' top seven will return to Connecticut to compete in the NCAA New England Regional to try and earn a spot in the NCAA Championship race to be held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin November 21.