Williamstown, MA—On Saturday, Williams hosted the 2015 ECAC Cross Country Championships. The field of nearly 300 athletes included teams from more than 40 colleges and universities. The Ephs are one of many teams that entered their second seven athletes in the ECAC championship race. This gives the top seven an extra week to prepare for the NCAA Regional Championships on November 14.
"This meet highlights our second seven," said head coach Pete Farwell. "It reveals the hard work that this group of younger athletes has put in all season. As first-years and sophomores, our second seven is the future and depth of our team."
Together this group competed well en route to a second place finish. Amherst took home the team title with 53 points, ahead of Williams' score of 77. Middlebury took third place with 117 points.
Liam Simpson '18 led the Ephs with a first place finish in 26:24. Simpson was in the front pack from the start, but waited until the third mile of the race to take the lead. He delivered a strong kick to best defending champion Steven Lucey of Amherst. Lucey also finished in 26:24, a few tenths of a second behind Simpson. Southern Vermont's Justin Ferguson took third in 26:31.
"This was a breakout performance for Liam," noted Coach Farwell. "He displayed tremendous race tactics and also finished with a fast time on our course."
The next Williams runner to cross the finish line was Zeke Cohen '19, who placed sixth overall in 26:58. Cohen and his teammate Simpson earned All-ECAC honors, an award is given to the top 15 finishers. "Zeke got out well and stayed strong throughout the race," Farwell commented. "But I was most impressed with the kick he unleashed to pass two guys in the finishing stretch."
The Ephs' third and fourth finishers were Zachary Dulabon '18 (20th, 27:26) and Alex Cowen '18 (21st, 27:28). Both of these runners have improved continuously throughout the season after battling injuries last year. Though they had similar times, Coach Farwell pointed out the differences in their racing tactics. "Zach paced himself very well today, while Alex's advantage was in his finishing kick."
Farwell's concluding comments praised his athletes' efforts in their final race of the season. "Going up against this many teams, especially a very deep squad from Amherst, I'm very happy to see us take second place."
The next challenge for the Ephs is the DIII New England Regional Championship, hosted by Connecticut College on November 14. On that day across the nation, teams in all eight regions will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships on November 21. The top two teams in each region will automatically qualify for the national championship, while a committee will select 16 additional at-large bids. Last year, Williams qualified with an at-large bid after finishing fourth at the regional meet.