Men’s cross country continued its strong season by seizing the NESCAC championship at Amherst last Saturday. The first-place result was an improvement from last year, when the men came in second to Middlebury in a close race. Led by co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12, Williams placed six runners in the top 15. The team finished with 49 points, powering past Bates and Bowdoin, which tied for second with 79 points each.
The 8k course consisted of two laps that traversed woods and open meadow. The men raced after the women, forcing them to cope with tough footing on a beat-up, muddy course.
The Ephs were content to start the race in the middle of the pack and move up late.
At the beginning of the second loop the men’s pack pushed close to the front. Raduazo, Wade Davis ’13 and Josephat Koima ’12 took turns leading the Ephs’ group, with Colin Cotton ’15 and Chris Lee ’14 following close behind. The Ephs were in control of the race, maintaining their five-man formation as they charged through a tunnel with 3k to go.
As the team entered the homestretch, Raduazo ignited a blistering kick to move into sixth and cement his status as a four-time All-NESCAC performer. Raduazo turned in a time of 26:24. Davis placed eighth in 26:27. Lee charged across the finish line in 26:28, taking 10th as the third Eph to finish. Cotton finished in 11th place with a time of 26:29. The result earned him NESCAC Newcomer of the Year honors, marking a milestone in his strong rookie campaign. The Ephs’ top seven also included Koima, who placed 14th in 26:38, Jack Fitzhenry ’12, who claimed 15th with a time of 26:39 and Brandon Abasolo ’13, who secured 28th place and finished in 26:52.
“I think the race was a really good indicator of our strength, our fitness and our depth as a team,” Raduazo said.
“[It was] a superior performance top to bottom, packing as we have all year but at a faster pace and moving up throughout with our best finishing sprints thus far,” Head Coach Peter Farwell ’73 said.
Middlebury’s Michael Schmidt was the individual champion. Despite losing a shoe in the race, he finished with a time of 25:51. The Panthers were the NESCAC champions last year. “We lost this meet last year by only a couple of points to Middlebury, so it was sort of revenge this year a little bit,” Raduazo said.
The men will host the ECAC Championships at Mount Greylock Regional High School at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Only the team’s second seven will race. Williams is undefeated at its home course and is the defending ECAC champion.
“Next we’re excited for our deep pack to shine with our eighth to 14th men in the ECACs and then [with] our top seven at the NCAA regional,” Farwell said. “Everyone is firing on all cylinders.”