Men’s cross country paced to a fifth-place finish at the NESCAC championship on Saturday at Bowdoin. Led by standout Chris Lee ’14, the Ephs scored 97 points.
Competing on Bowdoin’s 8000-meter flat course, the men worked with each other in strong packs. Lee and tri-captains Wade Davis ’13, Scott Rodilitz ’13 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 were consistently near the front of the race, sitting behind a group of former All-Americans led by Coby Horowitz of Bowdoin and Tufts’ Matt Rand.
Around the fourth mile, Lee distanced himself from his competitors, attempting to seize control of the race. Although he was eventually caught by the chase pack, Lee held on for seventh place and a second straight All-NESCAC finish in 24:36. Overall, Horowitz took home the individual title.
Rodilitz was the next Eph finisher, crossing the line in 17th place with a time of 25:04. Davis, Abasolo and Max LaBerge ’14 finished within seconds of each other, earning 23rd (25:10), 24th (25:16) and 26th (25:18), respectively.
Aldis Inde ’15 and rookie Bijan Mazaheri ’16 rounded out the Williams top seven. Inde placed 32nd in 25:25, while Mazaheri took 42nd in 25:43.
Tufts walked away with its fourth NESCAC title after scoring just 66 points. “Chris Lee put out a real challenge to the top NESCAC racers, and though he was caught by several, he made yet another breakthrough in his harrier career,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “LaBerge closed up the gap between our fourth and fifth runners, and Inde is now a very strong sixth man, which will give us the opportunity to attack the pace a bit more at the regional [postseason meet]. With a personal best race from each of our guys in two weeks, we have the potential to beat any and all of our NESCAC rivals.”
“I was a bit surprised and disappointed with our fifth-place finish, but I don’t think that result tells the full story of the race,” Abasolo said. “It’s not that the team underperformed, but other teams ran well above a level of what we thought probable. Fortunately, we have two more weeks to sharpen up for peak performances at the regional championship where we hope to reverse this result and solidify a qualifying berth for the national championship.”
Williams will next host the ECAC Championships at Mount Greylock High School on Saturday. The men will rest their top seven, and the team’s second seven will attempt to defend the team’s title from last year. The race is slated to begin at 11 a.m.