Men’s cross country blazes to 7th consecutive ECAC title

Men’s cross country earned its seventh straight ECAC title last Saturday at Mount Greylock Regional High School. The team scored 44 points to outpace second-place Tufts with 77 points and third-place Middlebury with 102 points.

The Ephs’ home course was free of snow and relatively dry after intensive cleanup efforts from coaches and volunteers throughout the week. While the weather was chilly in the morning, the sun emerged for the men’s midday race.

Going into the meet, the team planned to employ its signature pack strategy to wear down the competition. However, the pace was quick from the start, forcing the team to stretch out.

Co-captain Mark Springel ’12 led the men with an excellent performance, staying within striking distance of the front throughout the course of the race and eventually taking over the lead around the four-mile mark. Scott Rodilitz ’13 and Ford Smith ’12 worked together behind him, closely followed by Cole Townsend ’15.

Springel was ultimately passed by the winner of the race, New England College’s Antoine Gisore, who finished in a time of 26:10, and Middlebury’s Patrick Hebble, who turned in a time of 26:19. The Eph held on for third place, completing the course in 26:23. Smith ignited a powerful kick to garner fourth place in 26:33, while Rodilitz came in right behind his teammate to seize fifth place with a time of 26:34. Townsend ran a smart race, earning 14th place and concluding his resurgent rookie season with a strong performance after coping with an injury earlier in the season.

Henry Koster ’14 rounded out the top five in 18th place, finishing in 27:06. Aldis Inde ’15 placed 22nd in a time of 27:17.

“It was thrilling to watch Mark Springel vying for the individual title, and to see Ford Smith and Scott Rodilitz accelerate to their fast finishes right behind Mark,” Head Coach Peter Farwell ’73 said. “We had our goal of winning this meet and accomplished it with a good margin over strong contenders Tufts and Middlebury.”

Williams will travel to Bowdoin to compete in the Div. III NCAA New England Regional this Saturday. The Ephs finished second in the event last year, and the team expects a stiff challenge from defending champion MIT and the strong field of Div. III schools.

“That they all raced so well further demonstrated what fine shape our team is in now, and how well our regional group is poised to race Saturday at Bowdoin,” Farwell said.

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