Oshkosh, WI—The Williams men's cross country team finished their season with a bang today at the DIII NCAA Cross Country Championship. On a cold, wintry day in Oshkosh, the Ephs finished 8thoverall with 300 points, their best finish in 3 years.
Since entering the season with a preseason ranking of 16th, the Ephs had been looking to prove themselves. Throughout the year, they performed better than expected, finishing 2ndat Little Threes, 2ndat Purple Valley, 2ndat the Saratoga Invitational, 2ndat the Connecticut College Invitational, 2ndat the NESCAC Championship, and 2ndat the New England Regional. Only Amherst and RPI had beaten the Ephs this season heading into NCAAs. The Ephs were ranked 11thgoing into the final race.
The race was called back after a fall, but Williams handled the confusion well. At the second gun, the Ephs got out hard, with Ryan Cox '20 and Aidan Ryan '21 among the lead pack. William McGovern '20 was in the next group, with Elias Lindgren '22, Tristan Colaizzi '20, Kevin LaFleche '20, and Samuel Wischnewsky '20 just behind. As the race progressed, Ryan held position, while Cox continually moved up. By the 5k mark, Cox and a pack of seven others—all of whom were among the most established runners in Division III—had separated from the field. Cox ran fearlessly, covering every move that the leaders made. In the home stretch he found it within himself to pass two runners, finishing 6thoverall in a personal best of 24:37.2—the first male Eph to garner All-American honors in cross country since 2015. Said Head Coach Pete Farwell, "Ryan was spectacular today. Just when I thought he might be showing the strain, he sprinted it in to earn his 6thplace finish. All-American is one thing, but top-10 is quite something else. We haven't had too many guys do that." Behind him, Aidan Ryan finished in 42ndin his own personal best of 25:01.2. Lindgren was the next Eph across the line, capping a tremendous freshman campaign with a 109th, 25:40.2 performance—the 6thbest freshman in DIII. LaFleche and Colaizzi rounded out the scoring 5 for the Ephs in times of 25:46.4 (128th) and 25:47.7 (135th). Said Farwell of their performances, "Kevin and Tristan were critical to our team finish. Both of them showed their mid-distance speed in the last kilometer and caught dozens of guys, even though each of them looked like they were at their limits. This was a real breakout race for Kevin." Wischnewsky and McGovern finished things off for the Ephs in respective times of 25:57.8 (169th) and 26:01.1 (181st).
Head Coach Pete Farwell was pleased with how the team finished the season, saying "we put together today everything that we had been practicing. Every one of our guys got out pretty strong, stayed smooth for much of the race, and then put together a really great kick. We beat our seed going in, and earned that 8thplace finish. If you look at the teams around us and the teams that we beat, I think we performed well above how someone might have expected us to. I'm proud of our guys, and I think that caps a very successful year."