On Saturday, men’s cross country hosted the ECAC championships at Mount Greylock Regional High School. This year’s field included 43 teams and individuals from seven other squads. Most teams use ECACs as a chance to race their “second seven,” but with some teams bringing their top runners, the Williams squad of Sam Jackson ’10, Andrew Gaidus ’11, Geoff Rodriguez ’11, Jason Rapaport ’11, David Carlin ’12, Wade Davis ’13 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 locked in a tight battle for the team title. Led by Carlin, Williams ultimately pulled out the victory with a final score of 85 points, four ahead of runner-up St. Vincent. With this year’s title, Williams has now won ECACs on the men’s side five years in a row.
Taking advantage of almost perfect weather, the race began at a fast pace with the Ephs running somewhat conservatively and off the lead for the first mile. As the race moved into the challenging woods loops, the Williams pack moved up to establish themselves in a strong team position as other teams began to show their weaknesses. This trend only continued as the race moved into the final miles with the Williams men using strong finishes to lock up the team title. Finishing first for Williams in 11th place, Carlin earned the alternate position for the varsity team going into the Regional championships. Only three seconds back, Rapaport finished second for Williams in 12th place, and the next three Williams racers all finished in the top 25 of the race.
Next week Williams will compete in the Div. III New England Regional Championships at Twin Brooks Recreational Center in Cumberland, Maine. Williams is the defending regional champion after winning last year’s meet with a score of only 36 points. The Regional is extremely important in determining the rest of the men’s season. If Williams finishes in the top two team spots at the Regional meet it is guaranteed a spot in the National Championships. In addition, a selection committee grants 16 at large bids to Nationals among those teams finishing outside of the top two in their region. After winning NESCACs last Sunday, the varsity men trained through last week and will look to qualify for the National Championships for the fourth consecutive year.