Men’s cross country competed in its first home meet of the season Saturday, when the Ephs hosted the Purple Valley Classic at Mt. Greylock High School. The Ephs raced well overall, placing seventh in the meet with a score of 158 points as MIT took the win. Competition included a wide range of schools, from Div. III rivals Amherst, Middlebury, Tufts and Colby to Div. I and II schools such as Johns Hopkins and Boston College.
MIT ultimately prevailed as the meet champion after a tiebreaker with Keene State. Both teams scored 90 points with their top five runners. The tiebreaker is determined by comparing the sixth runners on each team. Since Keene lacked a sixth runner, MIT claimed the win.
Josephat Koima ’12 ran well in the leading pack. His fourth place finish and 26:26 time made for a great first race of the season. Wade Davis ’13 finished soon after with a great kick in 27:05, the second Eph and 21st competitor to cross the finish line.
Breakout performances from what Head Coach Pete Farwell fondly dubbed the team’s “California Connection” – Scott Rodilitz ’13, Daniel Silver ’13 and Thomas Bliska ’12 – solidified the Ephs’ results. All three runners scored for varsity for the first time.
Farwell was very pleased with the team’s seventh place finish, particularly because, as he notes, “It was a very strong field of teams – possibly the best we have had here in a non-championship meet.” A number of the team’s standouts, including co-captain Andrew Gaidus ’11 and Anthony Raduazo ’12, did not compete in Saturday’s meet, as Farwell wanted to give younger Ephs a chance to compete.
Runners enjoyed sunny skies and mild temperatures as the races got underway. Despite appearances, however, the Greylock course is never an easy run. A first loop through the trees includes a series of small rolling hills, while the second features a large and fairly steep hill that runners must labor over twice.
The men had a solid contingent in the sub-varsity race as well, winning the 5k with an excellent score of 26 points. Farwell ran all of the team’s rookies in the race, and four of them – Max LaBerge ’14, Peter Drews ’14, Henry Koster ’14 and Chris Cogswell ’14 – placed in the top seven overall.
The Ephs are looking to carry the positive momentum they’ve gained through to their next meet on Oct. 9, when they will compete at the New England Div. I Championship meet in Boston, Mass. With no races next weekend, the team will be using the 11-day block of training time to prepare for some fast racing in Boston. “That meet, both in size and talent, is quite similar to the Div. III nationals, so it gives us preparation for that race and a forecast of things to come,” Farwell said. “We hope to place our teams in the top 10 on the varsity and top five on the sub-varsity level.”