Men’s cross country hosted the annual Plansky Invitational on Saturday, a meet which featured both a varsity 8k race and a sub-varsity 5k. Four teams – the Coast Guard Academy, MCLA, Keene State and NEC – participated in the events at the Ephs’ home course at Mt. Greylock High School. The men placed second on Saturday, just behind the Coast Guard. This weekend’s meet comes on the heels of the team’s Oct. 9 performance at the New England Div. I Championship in Boston. Williams finished eighth overall with a team score of 333 points. Dartmouth claimed first place.
A number of Williams cross country alumni also showed up to run at Saturday’s Plansky Invitational alongside current Ephs. As the end-of-season championship races are just around the corner, many top runners among the current Ephs did not compete.
The men still managed an impressive showing on their home course, however. Tri-captain Dan Franck ’11 was the first Eph to cross the finish line. Franck finished seventh overall in a time of 27:16. The varsity runners competing alongside Franck included Will Palmer ’11, Thomas Bliska ’12, Brian Cole ’11 and David Carlin ’12. Palmer finished 12th, while Bliska, Cole and Carlin followed in close succession, taking 15th, 16th and 18th, respectively.
The 8k race was dominated by alums Macklin Chaffee ’09 and Chris Ellis-Ferrara ’07 in first and second. Brendan Christian ’09, Stephen Van Wert ’09, Bill Ference ’07 and Colin Carroll ’07 also placed in the top ten overall individual finishers.
Only current and graduated Williams runners participated in the sub-varsity, co-ed 5k. Tommy Gaidus ’13 edged out teammate Nick Fogel ’12 by one second to claim the winning spot in 17:18.
“Plansky is a good field for some of our mid-pack racers to run up front and get in the scoring mix,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said. “It also allows a chance to get a better feel of the 8k distance.”
Williams posted the best results for a non-Div. I team at Franklin Park Oct. 9, outpacing 13 Div. I teams in the process. The Ephs took advantage of the smooth, dry course to post fast times. Two Williams runners placed in the top 50 finishers overall, as Josephat Koima ’12 led the Ephs with a 20th place finish in a time of 25:14 and Scott Rodilitz ’13 completed the course in 25:41 for 49th overall. Rookie Max LaBerge ’14 finished close behind at 25:55, putting him in 72nd place for the day. Teammates Wade Davis ’13 and Anthony Raduazo ’12 also finished well, with 89th and 103rd place finishes, respectively. Tri-captain Andrew Gaidus ’11 and Peter Drews ’14 also ran as part of the team’s varsity seven.
The team continued its strategy of running in a pack, as is clear in the runners’ finishing times: The third through seventh Williams runners all finished within 45 seconds of each other.
“Franklin Park is always a good indication of how we are coming together as a team and how we fare in big meet, crowded conditions,” Farwell said. Dartmouth won the meet with a team score of 138 points, while Garius Rop of American International College was the individual champion, finishing in a time of 24:08.
The team’s championship season kicks off with the Little Three Championship on Saturday at Wesleyan. Williams is looking to continue its streak of 22 straight wins over Amherst and Wesleyan with a success this weekend.
“We have lots still to improve on,” Farwell said. “We will work this week [at the Little Three meet] at packing together and pacing well to come in strong in the final two miles. From there on, the competition will be strong and we will be looking for great performances in the Championships.”