MIDDLETOWN, CT – The Williams College Ephs scored a resounding victory over Amherst and Wesleyan at the Little Three championships, winning for the first time since their streak of 29 straight wins from 1988 to 2016. In the 6K race, Williams scored the minimum 15 points, topping Amherst's 56 and Wesleyan's 73, and took the first eight spots in the race.
Full results for the race can be found here.
"I think the results speak for themselves, but this was a really exciting day. I thought that our guys took control of the race from the beginning and dictated the pace. We had a lot of guys up in the front group the whole way, and that just speaks to the depth and the power of this team," Eph assistant coach Jamie Norton commented after the dominant win.
This race marked Williams' first 15-point showing at the Little Three Championships since 2001. In order to finish with just 15 points, a team needs to finish their top five runners in first through fifth place; though today, the Ephs did even better, with eight runners crossing the line before any Mammoth or Cardinal.
Aidan Ryan '21 continued his blazing start to the season by winning his second consecutive race with a time of 18:52.96. The only runner to cross the 19-minute threshold, Ryan ran at a blistering pace of 5:03.9 per mile and finished more than 12 seconds ahead of the second place runner. Fortunately for the Ephs, the second-place runner – along with the next six after him – all wore purple and gold.
"It's highly unusual, if not unprecedented," said Eph head coach Pete Farwell on Williams taking the first eight spots.
The next seven Ephs all finished in a tight pack, led by Elias Lindgren '22. Lindgren, who finished second in the freshman-sophomore race at Monmouth, enjoyed another second-place finish, continuing his breakout second season with the Ephs.
Out of the top 10 Eph finishers, Lindgren was the only freshman or sophomore, which speaks to the robust depth of Williams' senior class. Nick Gannon '20, Tristan Colaizzi '20, Peter Kirgis '20, Kenneth Marshall '20, Sam Wischnewsky '20 and William McGovern '20 – all seniors – trailed Lindgren and comprised the bulk of the pack. Together with Lindgren, each member of the pack finished between 19:05.25 and 19:18.05.
Farwell was especially impressed by the 25-second spread between Ryan and McGovern at the back of the pack. "Any time you have a spread of thirty seconds between one and five is really good," remarked Farwell. We had less than that spread with eight guys. It's really0."
The Ephs' promising performances were not limited to the people who scored. In his first race in nearly a year due to injury, Ryan Cox '20 performed very well, finishing in 19:42.76 at a pace of 5:17.3 per mile. Will Spollen '23 finished second among all freshmen in the race, finishing right behind Cox with a time of 19:44.38.
For the Mammoths, Spencer Ferguson-Dryden led the way, finishing 9th overall with a time of 19:26.20. Jamie Mazzola and Braxton Schuldt, who finished 11th and 13th, respectively, were both less than 15 seconds behind him.
Grant Van Inwegen was the fastest-finishing Cardinal, taking 10th place at 19:28.70. Only two Wesleyan runners, however, finished in the top 20, compared to Amherst's five.
Even though the Ephs earned a lopsided victory, they showed their resilience by making up significant ground in the second half of the race. "It wasn't a foregone conclusion for most of the race that this would be a clear, dominating victory," said Norton. "There was a loop down in the woods, and as the group came down from the woods with a little over a mile to go, there was an Amherst runner in second and another in fourth. They had a couple of guys right up there, but we showed our strength in that last part of the race."
Two weeks from now, on Saturday, September 28th, the Ephs will look to continue their strong start with their first home meet of the season in the Purple Valley Classic, a much larger meet featuring some of the best DIII teams in New England and New York.