Men’s XC closes out season at NCAAs

Men’s cross country competed in its final race of the 2010 season, the NCAA Div. III National Cross Country Championship, on Nov. 20. The defending runners-up traveled to Waverly, Iowa to face off against 31 other Div. III teams from across the country, including NESCAC rival Middlebury.

Josephat Koima ‘12, who earned All-American last year, once again led the Ephs, speeding to an 81st place finish in 25:20.8 despite losing momentum after getting tripped near the mile mark. He was followed by a four-man pack consisting of Ford Smith ’12, Jack Fitzhenry ’12, Anthony Raduazo ’12 and Wade Davis ’13.

Smith continued a streak of dramatic improvements with a new personal best, completing the race in 25:34.3 and placing 117th overall. Fitzhenry also ran a season-best 25:40.6, earning 136th place overall. Close behind, Raduazo finished in 25:46.1 for 147th place. Davis fell off from the pack toward the end of the race but kept his spot as fifth on the team with a 26:00.0 performance for 187th place.

Scott Rodilitz ’13 and Henry Koster ’14 rounded out the Ephs’ seven-man squad with 26:14.8 and 26:37.9 times, respectively. Rodilitz finished 214th, and Koster ran a strategic race, working his way up around 40 spots throughout the race for 243rd place.

In total, the Ephs tallied a score of 500 points and a collective time of 2:08:21.7, putting them in 18th in the team competition. “It was an excellent effort and a good result, though not quite what we had hoped for,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said. Farwell noted that, having graduated four members of last year’s second-place team and losing Brian Cole ’11 and co-captain Andrew Gaidus ’11 to illness earlier in the season, “it is remarkable how well the group fared.”

The national championship went to Haverford College, led by individual champion Anders Hulleberg who completed the 8k course in 24:22.2. The second-ranked Fords crushed the competition with 87 points and produced an astounding five All-Americans. Haverford’s entire scoring team placed in the top 35. Top-ranked defending champions North Central College finished second followed by St. Lawrence College in third. Middlebury placed 21st in the competition.

Farwell expressed optimism for 2011. “We have all of our top eight back next year, plus two other freshmen who had been in the top seven at some point,” he said. The young team should be formidable next year.