Men's Cross Country Stays Hot with Purple Valley Classic Sweep

Men's Cross Country Stays Hot with Purple Valley Classic Sweep

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In their first home meet of the 2019 season, the Williams College Ephs continued their blazing start, coming in 1st in both the men's 8K and 5K races at the Purple Valley Classic.

Full results for the race can be found HERE.

It was the Ephs' first 8K race of the year, as both of the first two races were 6Ks, but the Ephs finished with similar results. In the 8K, Williams finished first out of 19 NCAA DI and DIII teams, scoring just 31 points – 25 points ahead of second-place MIT. The Ephs were even more dominant in the 5K, finishing with just two points above the minimum at 17, and a whopping 35 points ahead of second-place NYU. In the 8K, following Williams and MIT were RPI, Middlebury and Amherst, with 91, 145 and 162 points, respectively. Springfield, Worcester State and Fitchburg St. finished behind Williams and NYU in the 5K, with respective scores of 68, 117 and 118.

The Ephs have consistently finished at the top of the Purple Valley Classic 5K – it was their fourth straight victory – but this race marked the first time the Ephs won the 8K since 2012.

The 8K victory was a testament to the Ephs' impressive depth. "We showed off our guts today," remarked Eph assistant coach Jamie Norton following the meet. "Some of the guys who were at the top at Little Threes a couple of weeks ago struggled a little bit, but we've got at least 10, 11, 12 people who are ready to step up on any given day."

In the 8K, Aidan Ryan '21 won the entire race for the third week in a row. Finishing the race in 26:07.3 – good for a pace of 5:16 per mile – he finished a staggering 24 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Behind him, Will McGovern '20 enjoyed his strongest race of the season, finishing in third with a time of 26:35.4. Kenneth Marshall '20, Nick Gannon '21 and Ryan Cox '20 rounded out the Ephs' top five, finishing in 7th, 9th and 11th respectively and within 12 seconds of each other. 

Each of Williams' top ten runners came from their junior and senior classes. Peter Kirgis '21, Chris Avila '21, Sam Wischnewsky '20, Lucas Estrada '20 and Kevin LaFleche '20 came in sixth through tenth for the Ephs, finishing within 17 seconds of each other and showing the extent of the Ephs' robust depth.

In the 5K, the Ephs – who finished with six of the top seven and eight of the top ten finishes – were led by Will Spollen '23, who won the race with a time of 17:07.0 at a pace of 5:31 per mile. Caleb Dittmar '23 and Ben Hearon '21 were not far behind, finishing second and third and within 11 seconds of Spollen. An additional pack of freshmen, comprised of Simon Kissam '23, Oliver Hall '23 and Grant Gattuso '23, finished 5th, 6th and 7th, respectively, between 17:18.6 and 17:33.2. Will Titus '23 and Jett Ballantyne '22 finished out the top 10 with times of 17.37.7 and 17.40.1. 

Though the juniors and seniors paced the team in the 8K race, it was also a strong showing for the Ephs' younger runners in the 5K, as seven of the eight Ephs who finished in the top 10 were either freshmen or sophomores and the first and eighth-place Ephs were just 33 seconds apart.

"We have a neat freshman class," commented Eph head coach Pete Farwell. "The first-years have put in a good month, and they're ready to try their first 8K. A whole bunch of them are excited about making that next step into real collegiate cross-country running."

Even though the Ephs have enjoyed a fantastic start, Farwell emphasized that it's still early in the season. "We're on the third meet in the fourth weekend, but there's still a long way to go until NESCACs and nationals," said Farwell. "But we're in good position, that's for sure." 

Next Saturday at 12:00 ET, the Ephs look to build on their strong September at the Keene (NH) invitational.