Men’s cross-country runs strong at Tufts

Sunny skies and the occasional stiff wind greeted the Men’s cross-country team at Grafton, Massachusetts, where the Ephs traveled to participate in the Tufts Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The eight-kilometer course was dry and, for the third week in a row, the team placed second, finishing behind Tufts (31) with 48 points, but defeating Bentley (62).

Despite the second place finish, Karl Remsen ’03 turned in a dominating 26:06.2 performance en route to a first place finish. Following Remsen in third place overall, Shamus Brady ’04 (26:26.5) showed his improved form by running over two minutes faster than he did at last year’s ECACs, also held at Tufts Grafton.

Although the Ephs were resting Chris Garvin ’03, they still placed three men in the top ten with Neal Hannan ’03’s strong seventh place finish in 26:46.05. The Ephs’ fourth, fifth, and sixth men, Zach Blume ’02, Co-captain Ben Chaffee ’02, and Matt Winkler ’04, ran as a strong pack between 27:18.8 and 27:28.0, managing 18th, 19th and 20th place finishes respectively. Finally, Mitchell Baker ’04 rounded out the Ephs’ top seven by posting a strong 27:51.8 in his first race back from injury.

The Ephs placed six men in the top 20, as well as seven men under 28 minutes. Jay Slowick ’01 continued the practice of returning alumni racing unattached – a trend seemingly started this season by former captain Dusty Lopez ’01. Slowick finished 23rd overall with a 27:35.9 behind the pack of Blume, Chaffee and Winkler.

Williams’ second seven also ran well, as many freshmen made the jump to the longer distance of eight kilometers. Fred Hines ’02 (28:28.4) was followed closely by Trevor Scott ’05 (28:30.5) in an impressive eight-kilometer debut; then Sam VonVolkenburgh ’05 (28:52.2), Teddy McGehee ’05 (28:55.2), Colin Bruzewicz ’05 (29:03.8), Tim Austin ’03 (29:05.1) and Eric Daub ’04 (29:14.1) rounded out the Ephs’ top 14.

Men’s cross-country finished a close second behind Dartmouth College’s B-squad at the 2001 Purple Valley Classic held on Williams’ home course at Mt. Greylock High School on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Dartmouth harrier Zack Strong won the meet, setting the inaugural record for the newly redesigned 8K route at 26:42. Remsen led the Williams charge, racing to a 26:49 finish, good for third overall. Garvin also earned top-ten honors, finishing sixth in 27:05.

Brady (27:30) and Hannan (27:35) finished 11th and 12th, respectively. Dartmouth’s third and fourth scorers captured ninth and 10th to leave the Ephs just three points short of keeping the first-place trophy in Williamstown.

Winkler (18th, 27:54) was Williams’s fifth man; co-captain Chaffee (22nd, 28:04) and Hines (35th, 28:51) rounded out the top seven.

“We were patient and controlled in our pacing today and it paid off,” Chaffee said of his squad. “Most guys were able to move up and pick off runners in bunches over the second half of the race.”

Coach Peter Farwell’s amended course now brings harriers across open terrain more often than in years past, making the five-mile race more accessible to spectators, though this is not at the loss of the characteristic woods loops and hill sections. Among the changes are a longer start and finish.

Williams will host the ECAC Championships this year, a late-season meet that draws a large number of runners, and will likely fill the Mt. Greylock course to capacity. Last summer, Farwell learned that he would lose access to what Eph harriers onerously call “The Pasture,” a down-and-up 1,000-meter arc around an uneven, ankle-breaking cow path, which has since become a cornfield.

To accommodate, Farwell extended the 150-meter straightaway off the starting line by the widths of a football and soccer field, easing the bottleneck that would otherwise occur in a large race at the first turn — a left-hand hook around the Mt. Greylock High School sign beside Route 7.

For the finish, where racers once had to make a final loop of the roadside field and sprint downhill to the chute, the new route traces back around the soccer field near the start and passes around the backstretch of the track, making a hard right-angle left turn to the finale.

Next week the Williams harriers return home to Mt. Greylock High School for the Fall Foliage Frolic and alumni meet.

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