Cross country sets strong pace at home Plansky Invitational

Cross country posted two strong team results at the Plansky Invitational last weekend. Men’s cross country sped past Fitchburg State to win the invite in the last race of the season for much of the team. With many of its top runners off for the weekend preparing to defend the NESCAC title this Saturday at Bowdoin, Henry Koster ’14 led the Ephs to the team title with the help of a breakout performance by Brian McGrail ’14. No. 3 women’s cross country posted a second-place finish at the Invitational behind Conn. College. The women outpaced Fitchburg with the help of Emily Barreca ’14, who earned her first collegiate victory in the event. The women were also resting most of their top runners in preparation for the NESCAC Championship this week.

Lance Harden, the men’s assistant coach, participated in the event and took out hard over the flat first two miles of the race. By the time the runners entered the woods, Harden had seized control of the race and built speed to win the invitational in a time of 19:49. Koster was the first Eph to cross the finish line, using an impressive last mile to take fourth in 21:08.

McGrail had perhaps the best race of his Williams career, picking off runners throughout the meet to take fifth place. Ben Fischberg ’14 and Matthew Rock ’16 concluded their seasons with fast finishes, taking ninth and 12th places, respectively. Alex Rich ’13 wrapped up his career with a strong 13th-place finish, closely followed by rookie Matt Tarduno ’16, who earned 14th.

“Our men moved up well to secure the victory over the final third of the course, and several had their best races ever for Williams,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. Overall, the men scored 24 points to outdistance Fitchburg State, who finished with 33 points.

Women’s cross country notched a second-place finish at the invitational, losing to a full-strength Conn. College team while taking down Fitchburg State.

Barreca broke away from the field early on and never relinquished her lead, earning her first collegiate victory in a time of 21:43. Rookie Sophie Chatas ’16 paced off Barreca for much of the race and hung on for an impressive sixth-place finish in 22:19. Allie Rowe ’16 and Meredith Sopher ’14 finished neck-and-neck to earn 10th and 11th, respectively. Kim Kiplagat ’16 rounded out the Ephs’ top five scorers with a 13th-place finish. Olivia Foley ’13 and Samantha Avila ’16 completed the Williams top seven in 20th and 31st places, respectively.

“The women caught Fitchburg in the final kilometer to come in second,” Farwell said. “Many individually had their best race of the season, and a few [had] bests of their career.”

Both teams will compete in the NESCAC Championships at Bowdoin on Saturday. The men will begin races at 1 p.m., while the women will kick off at 2 p.m.

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