WESTFIELD, MA--This year's James Earley Invitational hosted by Westfield State College split the main race into two, with a "Blue" race in the morning followed by a "White" race, in which Williams fielded 18, and then six runners. The Ephs delivered an excellent performance in the Blue race with 18 points for first place over Trinity with 77. They placed six men in the top ten, with Kevin LaFleche '20 winning in 27:16, tailed by Jacob Cytrynbaum '18 in 27:21, a substantial personal best. Eli Cytrynbaum '20 (4th, 27:33), Matthew Peacock '21 (5th, 27:38), and captain Andrew Bloniarz '18 (6th, 27:39) all finished within 6 seconds of each other. Felix Biwott '21 (9th, 28:10) all staked out spots in the top ten.
While the Ephs did not manage to prevail over a strong Trinity in the white race (who scored 2-7-9-15-41-46 to Williams' 4-10-18-21-24-28), they still turned in high-caliber performances. Tristan Colaizzi '20 placed fourth in 26:01 after a hard-fought battle with the leading pack, headed by Plymouth State junior Sam Brunnette (25:35). Zeke Cohen '19 placed 10th in 26:39. Chris Heckelman '21 (26:54), Jenks Hehmeyer '20 (27:04), Sam Gilman '21 (27:12), and Ben Hearon '20 (27:26) all snuck into the top 30. Alex Cowen '18 also ran a strong race, finishing just in front of Gilman in about 27:11. Unfortunately, due to a chip error, his finish was not recorded. Thanks to the flat and hard packed woods of Westfield, the majority of the Williams team was able to run at or near 8k personal bests.
Coach Pete Farwell evaluated the races with his usual sunny disposition, noting, "Our training is lining up now. It was a real test to see how everyone would do in this competition without all the top guys, and I thought we performed admirably. In the Blue race, we moved up well and took command. In the White race, Tristan had his first run back after his lung issues, and he did well. Zeke Cohen '19 has been working hard coming back as well; he put together a great move after the three-mile mark; and Chris Heckelman '21 moved up from seventh for Williams all the way to third! I was pleased with everyone's work today."
Next week the men's cross country team will face Amherst and Wesleyan on home turf in the historic Little Three Challenge in a bid to defend their 29-year winning streak.