Kosgey leads pack, Men’s XC takes 2nd

Tearing along the scenic Connecticut coast amidst strong winds, Eph harrier Edgar Kosgey ’10 cruised to victory Saturday at the Div. III New England Regional championships, leading the Williams squad to a runner-up finish behind Amherst. The two teams were separated by a heartbreaking single point — Amherst with 117 and Williams with 118 — in the heated race at Conn. College’s home course in New London, Conn.. Both teams qualified for the national championship race at St. Olaf College in Minnesota next weekend.

The close finish between the top-five teams in the region – all five were within 35 points of each other – is indicative of the strength in the New England region this year. Going into the race, Head Coach Pete Farwell was aware that this range of talent was something to keep an eye on.

“We knew at the beginning of the season that it was a toss-up due to the depth in our region,” Farwell said.

But the deep pack of runners did nothing to stop Kosgey’s victory, in a time of 24:55. The first-place finish adds another stellar notch on the runner’s belt, which is studded with top-placed finishes spanning the whole season.

Throughout the race, Kosgey kept in control, waiting until the last mile to make the decisive move that led to his first-place finish.

“The race felt pretty nice the first three miles,” Kosgey said. “At the last mile, I heard [the other racers] breathing hard around me and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to kick these guys.’”

Leading into the final straightaway, Kosgey held a solid lead of five seconds over individual runner-up Sean Watson (25:00) of Wesleyan.

Captain Corey Levin ’08 finished in 14th place (25:12), just ahead of Corey Watts ’10 who continued his breakthrough season with a 22nd place finish in a time of 25:20. Kosgey, Watts and Levin earned All-Region honors.

Throughout the race, the Williams runners tried to pace in pairs or triads, feeding off each other and demoralizing competitors in passing streaks of purple. Captain Grant Burgess ’08 ran fourth for Williams (39th place, 25:39), and Connor Kamm ‘10 closed four seconds back in 25:43 for 42nd place.

Brendan Christian ’09 raced as sixth man for the Ephs, running 25:58 (62nd place), and Morgan Seybert ’08 rounded out the pack in 70th place, crossing the line in 26:07.

Reflecting on the day, Levin considered the race a solid performance, but he thought that all the elements didn’t lie in the Eph’s favor.

“This wasn’t our ideal course,” Levin said. “We train and thrive on hills all season, so a flat course like this isn’t necessarily playing to our strengths.”

Farwell expressed similar sentiments to Levin’s – they agreed on the quality of effort poured into the race – but he also cited the necessity for everything to fall into place next weekend at the national championship. “I think we had a few excellent races today, and a few good races,” Farwell said. “We just have to all have excellent races next weekend, and things will work out. All in all, it was a good team effort today.”

Though the second place finish may not have been what Williams fans hoped for, Levin believes that Williams’ loss will work in their favor next week at the national championships race.

“It hurts to lose by just one point, but when we go out there next week, that’s going to work as motivation,” he said.

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