Men’s cross country closed out its 2012 season at the Div. III NCAA Championship in Terra Haute, Ind., on Nov. 17. Facing a tough course and field of 280 racers, the Ephs improved their national ranking and established high hopes for next season. Wisconsin Stout’s Tim Nelson won the individual title, and North Central claimed the team championship. Williams took 12th in the overall team competition.
Facing the third largest field in Div. III, the Ephs worked their way to the front of the race early on. Chris Lee ’14, who finished eighth at the regional meet, made a strong push early on to establish himself as a contender for a top-10 finish. Tri-captains Wade Davis ’13 and Scott Rodilitz ’13 packed up early on, while Bijan Mazaheri ’16, Max LaBerge ’14, Aldis Inde ’15 and tri-captain Brandon Abasolo ’13 measured their efforts.
Tim Nelson of Wisconsin Stout opened up an early gap and held on to take his fourth national title and first in cross country. Dozens of Eph supporters greeted Lee as he won his first All-American certificate in 18th place with a final time of 24:53. LaBerge entered the chute next, taking 89th place in 25:37, also posting his best performance of the year. Davis took 116th in 25:48, while Inde and Mazaheri placed 134th and 136th with times of 25:54 and 25:55, respectively. Rodilitz wrapped up his cross country career with 145th place in 25:59 minutes. Abasolo, who had been fighting illness and injury for the past few weeks, earned 197th place in 26:20, setting himself up for an exciting track season. Overall, the Ephs took 12th place.
“Our men competed as a team, with fire and determination, as they have all year in a terrific season of packing and fast times in highly competitive meets,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “While they would have preferred a top-10 finish, the margin to 12th is a very few seconds. We are proud to be in those top places out of some 450 Div. III teams in the country.”
The Ephs will lose a total of nine seniors to graduation. However, the men look forward to next season, during which they hope to tap into underclassmen talent.
“We graduate a great senior class led by three super captains who gave their all in this final harrier contest, and the four underclassmen who return next year from this top seven all raced extremely well, led by now All-American Chris Lee,” Farwell said.