Eight days after winning both men’s and women’s Little Three Championships, the cross country teams headed to Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn. for the NESCAC Championships. The Ephs navigated muddy trails to a first place finish for the men, their fourth straight NESCAC title, and a second place finish for the women.
The women’s 6k race was the first of the day and saw a fast start typical of championship races. In particular, the Middlebury women went out hard, establishing a strong pack of five ahead of the top Williams runners. The Ephs, however, used good pacing and pack running to move up throughout the race and make a strong bid for the team title. In fact, Williams’ top finisher, Jen Gossels ’13, would pass all but one of the Middlebury runners en route to a sixth place overall finish. Following closely behind Gossels were co-captain Bret Scofield ’10 (11th), Annie Dear ’13 (12th), Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 (14th) and Olga Kondratjeva ’10 (16th). With a final score of 59 points, Williams finished only 10 points behind Middlebury and 12 points ahead of third place Amherst.
Shortly after the women wrapped up their second place finish, the men’s 8k race took off at an aggressive pace â€“ the top seven runners from Williams covering the hilly first mile in under five minutes. As the race went on, defending champion Peter Kosgei of Hamilton pulled away from the field, with only Edgar Kosgey ’10 providing a chase. The two battled for the individual title with Hamilton’s Kosgei emerging victorious for the third consecutive year and Kosgey finishing 17 seconds back in second place.
Behind the two front runners, the Williams men moved up throughout course of the five mile race to set up strong finishes across the board. Not to be outdone by his countrymen, J. Koima ’12 returned to his early season form by unleashing a vicious kick to pass Amherst’s top two in the last half mile and finish third overall. Meanwhile, All-American Jeff Perlis ’10 ran a gritty race for 10th overall, followed closely by Anthony Raduazo ’12 and co-captain Corey Watts ’10 in 12th and 13th places. Making impressive jumps from previous weeks, co-captain Connor Kamm ’10 and Mark Springel ’12 finished 15th and 22nd overall.
With a final score of only 40 points, Williams finished with less than half as many points as runner-up Amherst (88). Kamm, excited after the race, called Williams’ performance “dominant,” adding, “we’re excited to win for the fourth year in a row and now to move on to the Regional meet [with] the chance to qualify for Nationals.”
The Ephs’ top four women and top five men were named to the All-NESCAC team, capping a very successful day for the program. The top seven men and women will have next week off from competition in order to rest up for the Regional meet at the Twin Brooks Golf Course in Cumberland, Maine on Nov. 14. Next weekend Williams will host the ECAC Championships at Mount Greylock Regional High School where the second seven runners from the men’s and women’s teams will compete for the alternate position at Regionals.