Men’s XC takes top spot at Purple Valley Classic

Men’s cross country defended its home course at Mount Greylock Regional High School in the Purple Valley Classic last Saturday, walking away with a resounding victory over the field of 16. Led by co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12, Williams placed five scorers in the top 15. The men scored 42 points and finished ahead of Fordham (58 points), NESCAC-rival Middlebury (71 points) and a strong field that included several regionally ranked teams. The victory is a significant improvement from last year’s result, when the men, depleted due to injury, stumbled to seventh place in the event.

After a night of rain, the hilly Mount Greylock course was slick and cut up from the junior varsity 5k when the men opened their race.

Using a practiced strategy, the top Ephs roared off the line to establish a pack. Ford Smith ’12 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 took their turns in the lead before Middlebury’s defending regional champion, Michael Schmidt, and Fordham’s Julian Saad gapped the field midway through the course.

Raduazo and classmate Jack Fitzhenry ’12 bided their time before attacking their competitors on the daunting final hill. Raduazo edged Fitzhenry out at the line, with Abasolo close behind. Raduazo finished in fifth with a time of 26:34, while Fitzhenry finished mere milliseconds later in sixth place. Abasolo earned seventh place with a time of 26:38. All-American Josephat Koima ’12, who placed 10th (26:52), and Wade Davis ’13, who placed 14th (27:02), rounded out the scorers for Williams. Smith and Scott Ridilitz ’13 constituted the rest of the men’s top seven, placing 22nd and 28th with times of 27:10 and 27:27, respectively. Fordham’s Saad won the race handily in 26:13.

After the race, Head Coach Peter Farwell was delighted by the team’s performance and the leadership of his seniors. “Anthony and Jack ran tremendous races [by] being in good position but patient through the early miles, and they made strong moves with great kicks to lead our group into the chute,” he said. “The seniors have set the tone for our season.”

The Ephs, ranked 10th in the national poll, have a week off before heading to Franklin Park in Boston for Div. I New Englands on Oct. 8 to take on the top competition in the region. The race site is suited for quick times and will resemble the courses on which the men will compete for regionals and nationals. After claiming their second win in a row and conquering the steep foothills of Mount Greylock, Farwell hopes a flat course with elite competition will be a prime place for Williams to build on its early success.