The Williams men’s cross-country team won its second consecutive meet this weekend, venturing into upstate New York and dominating the SUNY Geneseo Invitational.
Despite the long trip, the Ephs managed to arrive in Geneseo well-rested, thanks to Jay Slowik ’01 and Tim Austin ’03 volunteering their homes and giving their teammates a place to stay on Friday night.
On Saturday, the rest came in handy as Williams cruised to its second commanding victory in as many weeks.
A quick review of the course during the team’s warm-up gave an indication that the race would be a fast one, as the course was almost completely flat, with relatively good footing. In spite of this, Coach Pete Farwell suggested a slight variation on his traditional conservative race strategy.
Since the Ephs would be competing against largely unknown competition, Farwell thought it would be good for his team to start slowly and then make strong surges at the two-, three- and four-mile marks.
Unfortunately for Coach Farwell’s plan, the rest of the teams in the field didn’t give the Williams harriers a chance to execute it.
The early leaders took advantage of the fast course and went out at a quick pace, giving the Eph runners no choice but to respond. The Ephs quickly reassessed their strategy and set out to maintain contact with the front group, eventually working runners into the top ten.
The plan for a conservative first mile fell by the wayside as a group of six Williams runners came through the mile in 4:57, and still trailed the lead pack. Had the Williams pack run its goal pace of 5:20 for the first mile, the early front-runners would have gained a formidable lead.
The mid-race adjustment proved effective by the third mile, when the top five Williams men had established themselves in the top ten. Reed Harlow ’01 was the top Eph on the day.
He battled for the overall lead for the last half of the race, taking the lead with less than a mile to go in a tightly contested battle with a runner from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Harlow would eventually finish second, covering the five-mile course in an impressive 25:49.
The next Williams runners weren’t far behind. Wes Reutimann ’02 used his powerful finishing speed to kick past teammate Dusty Lopez ’01 with 100 meters to go.
Reutimann took fifth place in 25:57 and Lopez was next for Williams, sixth overall in 26:00.
Tim Campbell ’01 secured seventh place with his time of 26:09, and tri-captain Shad Miller ’00 closed out the Williams scoring in ninth place, clocking 26:21.
Justin Wilson ’03, in his first eight-kilometer race, and Will Ronco ’01 rounded out the top seven.
After the race, Harlow remarked, “The start was fast but it still felt good. It felt like about 5:10 pace. It didn’t really matter, though, because when everyone goes out that hard you just have to go with them.”
Williams finished with a final score of 29 points to Plattsburgh’s second place 67.
Williams’ top five haven’t finished in the same order once all season, but have been within 30 seconds of each other all year, prompting Farwell to comment, “I’m really pleased with our overall strength as a team. We don’t need any one guy to be up front every race.”
The Ephs’ next meet is the traditional alumni race on the home course at Mt. Greylock High School.
The low-pressure meet next Saturday is a welcome break before the season takes a serious turn in two weeks at the Division I New England Championships.