Men’s cross country hosted the annual Plansky Invitational on Saturday morning at Mount Greylock Regional High School. In addition to teams from Clark University, Southern Vermont College and SUNY Delhi, a number of Williams alumni also competed, 15 men and nine women. The meet is named in honor of Tony Plansky, coach of Williams cross country from 1931-1978.
SUNY Delhi was the top team with 33 points. Williams placed second with 41 points, Southern Vermont was third with a score of 73 and Clark took fourth with 88 points.
In the men’s 5k race, Colin Cotton ’17, racing without NCAA eligibility for collegiate cross country, was victorious in 15:16. The top two collegiate finishers were John Hillenbrand, who took third in 16:13, and Kobie Lane, who took fourth in 16:15, both of SUNY Delhi. Justin Ferguson of Southern Vermont took sixth in 16:31. Austin Anderson ’19 was the Ephs’ top runner, finishing 10th in 16:48. Alex Cowen ’18 was just behind Anderson in 11th place in 16:52. Anderson rebounded well from a tough race on Oct. 17 at Amherst, while Cowen continued his season-long progression of good performances. Williams’ third through fifth runners also came through in a tight pack. Jacob Kahrs ’18 finished 16th in 17:23, Hiroshi Kirby ’17 was 17th in 17:25 and Nigel Bates ’17 took 19th in 17:31. This was Bates’ first race of the season following an injury in the early fall.
Greg Ferland ’16 was the Ephs’ sixth man, placing 21st in 17:43. Nick Nosce ’16 rounded out the top seven, running 17:53 for 23rd place. The senior men, in general, performed well in the final race of their collegiate cross country careers. Matt Rock ’16, Daquan Daly ’16 and Michael Navarette ’16 each ran their fastest times of the season.
“Our men harriers showed great improvements on our home 5k in the weeks since they ran it at the Purple Valley Invite,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “Having the alumni there in force … was a thrill, and the undergrad team responded with [its] best. I am thrilled at how well Anderson and Cowen performed, looking strong throughout and finishing with fast kicks. Seniors [Ferland] and [Nosce] ran bests of their careers, and along with classmates who also completed their XC careers [Daly, Navarette and Rock], have been mainstays of our program.”
This Saturday, Williams’ top 12 runners will compete at the NESCAC Championships hosted by Wesleyan. The Ephs have won two straight conference crowns and enter the meet ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA national poll.