XC claims Little Three titles

Last weekend, men’s and women’s cross country had their final full team meet of the season as the teams hosted the Little Three championship. The meet has a rich history and is always greatly anticipated by runners from Welseyan, Amherst and Williams alike.

At last year’s meet, the women’s team finished second to Amherst. Entering last weekend having already crushed Amherst’s women twice this season, the women were well aware that the Little Three championship is always highly contested, and thus they took nothing for granted. The men, on the other hand, went into Saturday’s race having won the meet for 20 consecutive years. While the team always tries to downplay the significance of the streak, there is no denying that expectations are always high. Perhaps adding to the pressure was the fact that this would be the last race of the season for most of team, as this year’s NESCAC race will only include varsity runners – meaning the top 12 from every team.

Despite ominous weather and incredibly strong head winds, both the men and women’s teams rose to the challenge and turned in a number of strong performances. In their 5k race the women took first place followed by Amherst and then Wesleyan. Captain Lauren Philbrook ’09 was the first Eph finisher, taking second overall with a time of 18:51. Following Philbrook, the Ephs finished in strong packs, nabbing places fourth through eighth and 10th through 14th. Bret Scofield ’10 and Megan Shea ’11 were the fourth and fifth-place finishers, both running the course in 19:15.

The men’s team also ran well, taking home the first place trophy for the 21st consecutive year. Jeff Perlis ’10 just barely beat Edgar Kosgey ’10 as they both finished in 26:12 and placed first and second overall. The fifth through eighth place spots were won by Ephs as Mack Chaffee ’09, Anthony Raduazo ’12, Brendan Christian ’09 and Corey Watts ’10 all finished within four seconds of each other.

Both teams now look ahead to the post season, particularly the NESCAC championship this weekend at Bates, and the ECAC championship the following week. Both the men and women have looked incredibly strong thus far, and with a few more weeks of training they should be in prime shape for Nov. 15, when Williams will host the NCAA Div. III New England Regional meet.