Men’s XC finishes 4th in New England Region

Last Saturday, Williams hosted the 2014 NCAA Div. III New England Regional Championships. Nearly 400 runners from more than 50 teams competed in the men’s 8k-championship race. The course at Mount Greylock Regional High School is known to be challenging, with many hills to test the runners’ strength. The competitors battled it out under sunny skies and a high temperature of 35 degrees. The many spectators lining the course created a festive atmosphere of immense energy.

As the runners entered the flatter middle section of the course, Williams’s Colin Cotton ’17 and Colby’s David Chelimo made moves to join MIT’s Spencer Wenck in the lead pack. After the four-mile mark, a large uphill provided the final challenge before an easy descent into the finish. Here, Cotton showed a burst of speed to open up a 50-meter gap on Wenck. Cotton cruised to the finish line to take the victory in 25:10. Wenck was the runner-up in 25:15.

In third place was MIT, falling one point short of second place with a score of 70. Williams finished fourth with 85 points. Middlebury finished fifth with a score of 136, and Tufts took sixth with 165 points. These teams are among those that will be competing for an at large bid to the NCAA Championship. In total, 16 teams nationwide will qualify at the discretion of the USTFCCCA selection committee. Last year, the New England region received four at large bids in addition to the two automatic qualifiers for a total of six qualifying teams.

The Ephs had a strong showing in the race with all five scorers earning All-Region honors, awarded to the top 35 finishers. Not far behind Cotton, Bijan Mazaheri ’16 took third in 25:26. Like his teammate, Mazaheri moved up throughout the race and had a forceful kick over the last mile. After cresting the final hill, Mazaheri was far ahead of the next challengers had an easy 800 meters to the finish. Whether or not Williams earns an at large bid to the NCAA Championships, Cotton and Mazaheri have automatically qualified as individuals by placing in the top seven in the region.

Tri-captain Aldis Inde ’15 was the Ephs’ third finisher, placing 22nd in 25:59. His fellow tri-captain Daniel Siegel ’15 followed him closely. Siegel finished in 27th place with a time of 26:06. Holding back early to prepare for a strong second half, Siegel continually picked off opposing runners to earn valuable points for the Ephs out of the number four spot. Ben Decker ’18 placed 32nd in 26:16 to round out Williams’s All-Region performances. The Ephs’ sixth runner was Cole Townsend ’15, who finished 49th in 26:38. He was followed closely by Kyle Kistinger ’16 in 52nd with a time of 26:39.

The men qualified for the NCAA Div. III Championship, which will take place on Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio with the men’s 8k beginning at 11 a.m.

“Obviously coming off a NESCAC Championships victory you are not hoping for fourth, but I don’t think it is a cause for concern,” Siegel said. “We have talked a lot about having our best race come next week at Nationals. That’s the reason that I am confident moving forward.”

With the conclusion of the season, the men will graduate Inde, Siegel, Townsend and tri-captain Andrew Beaudoin ’15.