XC competes in first weekend

Heading into their 96th season, men’s and women’s cross country split their squads last weekend and sent some members to the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortland and others to the St. Rose ‘Joust’ in Albany. Both teams ran well and they will look to build on their performance throughout the coming weeks.

Edgar Kosgey ’10 earned an impressive first-place win in a field of 178 runners, with a time of 26:28.55. Overall the Ephs placed third out of 16 teams. All of the men’s top seven runners finished the race in the top 40.

The women finished fourth overall in their race, which consisted of 20 teams. Co-captain Lauren Philbrook ’09 captured sixth place with a time of 19:14. A second group of women competed in St. Rose’s Golden Knights XC Joust, where Williams trailed Middlebury by only one point to finish in second.

This year’s men’s team will be lead by tri-captains Brendan Christian ’09, Brooks Udelsman ’09 and Steve Van Wert ’09. The three hope to continue the success of past seasons. In 2007 men’s cross country finished 10th at NCAA nationals, were runners-up at the New England Div. III championships and winners of the NESCAC championship, the ECAC championship, and the Little Three championship.

But this year’s captains will not be alone in their quest to maintain cross country’s tradition of excellence; four of last season’s top seven runners, including Christian, Connor Kamm ’10, Kosgey and Corey Watts ’10 will be returning. There is an additional legion of 52 other runners, many of whom have a good chance of filling out the remaining varsity spots. Some of the team’s top talent includes Macklin Chaffee ’09, Aaron Schwartz ’09, Jeff Perlis ’10, Matt Deady ’10, Jeff Stenzel ’10, Brian Cole ’11, Mike Geary ’11, Andrew Gaidus ’11, Will Palmer ’11 and Jason Rapaport ’11. A large crew of freshman also bring promise this year and the team is excited to see what they can do.

The women’s squad also returns four of its top seven from last year’s NCAA championships, where they placed 14th. Last season the Ephs earned second place finishes in the Little Threes, NESCACs, and the New England regional NCAA qualifier, and first place finishes at the ECAC championships and the New England Div. I race.

As the team looks to continue last season’s success they will be lead by a quartet of senior captains, including Rachel Asher ’09, Beth Links ’09, Julie McNamara ’09 and Philbrook. Asher and Philbrook were part of the group of seven runners that competed at the NCAA championships. Moria Yoe ’10 and Elly Teitsworth ’10 are the team’s other returning varsity members.

Competing for the remaining top seven and second seven spots are over 50 other runners, 16 of whom are first-years. Some of the top talent includes Natalia Re de Castro ’09, Gillian Tedeschi ’09, Bret Scofield ’10, Jessica Clarke ’10 and Sarah Weber ’11. Both teams will be led by Head Coach Pete Farwell and Assistant Coaches Kathleen Newton, Mitchell Baker ’04 and Erica Clausen.

Both teams will travel to Middlebury this weekend for the traditional Co-Ed Relays, where they will not only compete in male and female pairs, but do it while wearing costumes.