Men’s XC cruises past Amherst to claim conference title

Men’s cross country topped Amherst for the second week in a row to win the NESCAC championship on Saturday at Mount Greylock High School. After coming out ahead of Amherst in last week’s Little Three championship, the Ephs finished with a leading score of 47 points to trump their rivals’ 86-point tally and claim the conference title. Bowdoin nosed out Trinity for third with 98 points over the Bantams’ 109.

The individual winner of the 8000 meter race was Peter Kosgei of Hamilton College in a time of 25:52. Amherst’s Will Yochum (26:21) placed second overall and Edgar Kosgey ’10 finished third in 26:29.

Williams’ five scoring harriers continued their impressive pack-running, as all five Ephs finished within 20 mud-streaked seconds of each other. Following Kosgey for the Ephs was Corey Levin ’08 in sixth place with a time of 26:37. Brendan Christian ’09 was eighth, just two seconds back in 26:39 and Corey Watts ’10 followed in 26:43 for 13th place. Grant Burgess ’08 rounded-out the pack, as he sprinted down the crowd-lined straightaway in 17th in a time of 26:48.

Times on the course were slower than normal due to the inclement weather. The race gun went off under cloudy skies and rainy conditions, with moderate-to-heavy winds blowing across the fields during the race. Puddles marked the terrain throughout the course. In the forest loops, the woodchips lining the ground had been churned beneath inches of mud, reducing traction to a minimum. Navigating turns became treacherous as runners wiped out while making their way over the slick terrain.

The open race provided the worst footing of the day since two full varsity races had already charged through the course. Despite the torn-up terrain, Brooks Udelsman ’09 and Ben Swimm ’09 gutted out second and third place finishes, respectively. The two runners led a purple streak of 10 Williams finishers in the top 20 of the race.

Men’s cross country will next compete in the ECAC championships next Saturday, which will also be held at Mount Greylock.