For the second week in a row, the Williams men’s cross country runners set out for Amherst with one thing on their minds: continue the streak.
Last week, the team had barely broken a sweat in its defense of the Little Three title for the 12th consecutive year.
This week, the streak in question was the team’s six-year string of NESCAC championships. Last year, a strong Tufts team had controlled the race until the last mile, when a heroic effort by the Ephs saved the day literally at the last minute. The streak survived intact but Williams’ aura of invincibility within the NESCAC was shaken.
The goal at this year’s meet was to boldly reclaim newly contested territory, and the team proudly responded.
Despite a week of dry weather, the Amherst course retained its swamp-like characteristics, and even the blue skies and brightly shining sun were deceptive, as a heavy wind blew a chill into the runners as they toed the starting line.
Within the first mile, however, the Ephs had given their competition more pressing concerns. Having set themselves a bold goal, the Williams harriers proceeded to run boldly, seizing control of the race early and aggressively defending their advantage.
Senior co-captain Tim Campbell ran a duel for first against Bowdoin’s Steve Allison, and eventually finished second in a time of 26:00 over the eight-kilometer course.
After a scrap with Allison early in the race, co-captain Dusty Lopez ’01 came across third in 26:12. Campbell and Lopez were only the spearhead of a virtual stampede for the Ephs, as Andy Golden ’03 was next for Williams in 26:37, good for sixth place. Karl Remsen ’03 was hot on Golden’s heels, finishing three seconds later in ninth place. Wes Reutimann ’02 finished in a dead heat with the last of the three superlative sophomores, Chris Garvin, as both runners were timed in 26:49, for 11th and 12th places, respectively.
Mitchell Baker ’04 completed the Eph top seven in 23rd place. Matt Winkler ’04, Fred Hines ’02, Ben Chaffee ’02, Jay Slowik ’01 and Tim Karpoff ’01 all ran well to round out the top twelve spots for Williams.
When the dust had settled and the scores had been added up, Williams had put up a score of 31 points by claiming half of the top 12 overall places.
Bowdoin’s second place score of 97 was something of an afterthought, and Williams dominated the All-NESCAC team, as the top six Ephs earned that distinction. It was a good day for coach Pete Farwell’s purple no-dessert eaters, as they proudly re-established unambiguous supremacy over their NESCAC foes.
Campbell commented, “The only time I was worried was when I saw Allison give (Lopez) a shove, so I sprinted up to the lead in case I needed to calm him (Allison) down with an elbow. It got a little rough out there but we handled it.”
On Friday, the Eph junior varsity squad traveled to Saratoga to take on RPI in a dual meet.
After an RPI runner took first place, Shamus Brady ’04 claimed second place, and led a string of six straight Ephs across the line.
Neal Hannan ’03, Ryan McDevitt ’02, Aaron Magid ’04, Eli Lazarus ’04 and Nick Brandfon ’04 took third through seventh places respectively to clinch a 20 to 42 victory for Williams. It was a fine effort in the last meet of the year for the junior varsity team.
Next week the Williams second seven will travel to Tufts to compete in the ECAC championships, and the varsity will have the week off to prepare for the Division III New England meet on Nov. 11.
Deep into championship season now, the Ephs will be working hard and running together to close the gap on favored Keene State, the second ranked team in the country.