Men’s XC finishes 1st at NCAA regional qualifier

This past weekend, men’s cross country hosted the NCAA Div. III New England Regional Championship meet at Mt. Greylock High School. On an unusually warm and particularly wet November morning, the men’s varsity did exactly what they’ve been doing all season: running fast and winning races.

This meet, however, was different from others because it was the regional qualifier for the NCAA national championship meet; the top two teams have an automatic bid to nationals while the third, fourth and fifth place teams need to be voted to nationals by a panel of coaches. For the remaining 50 teams, their seasons and dreams of running at nationals are over until next fall.

Last season, the regional qualifier was held at Conn. College on a relatively flat course, which did not play well to the Eph harriers’ copious hill training. On top of that, it was speculated that a few racers ran below their potential. Nevertheless, in the end the men’s team did finish second overall. Although this secured the automatic bid, when the points were tallied it turned out that the Ephs had lost to archrival Amherst by only one point, making the bid a somewhat bittersweet victory for the men.

This season, however, with the meet on their home course, the harriers displayed a very dominant performance as six of the seven varsity men took home All-Region honors by finishing in the top 35.

For the second year in a row Edgar Kosgey ’10 took home the title of overall winner, but unlike last year, the Williams men managed to place five of their seven runners in the top 15 places. Kosgey’s clocked in his winning time over the 8k course at 25:52. Kosgey collected the additional honor of being named NESCAC Performer of the Week.

Captain Brendan Christian ’09 came in fourth place with a time of 26:16, and he was closely followed by Jeff Perlis ’10, who finished fifth in 26:19. The next Ephs across the line were Macklin Chaffee ’09 and Anthony Raduazo ’12 who finished 12th and 14th, respectively. Corey Watts ’10 finished 26th overall in 26:58 and Brian Cole ’11 was the Ephs’ seventh man taking 39th place.

This gave Williams an overall score of 36, a solid score that put the rival Amherst men at a distant second with 122 total points. Needless to say, this victory more than makes up for last years’ disappointing loss to the Jeffs, but as anyone on the team will say, the most important race is yet to be run.

Next weekend, the team will travel to Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, to compete at NCAA Div. III nationals. The Ephs are currently ranked 6th going into this competitive meet, and they will work their hardest to gain a podium finish at nationals.