On Saturday, men’s cross country competed at the NCAA Div. III New England Regional Championships. Conn. College hosted the meet at Harkness Memorial State Park, overlooking the Long Island Sound.
In a field of nearly 60 teams, the men edged out the narrowest of victories over rival Amherst 67-68. Tufts took third with 80 points, Wesleyan was fourth with 114 points and MIT finished fifth with 128 points. Williams and Amherst both qualified automatically for the NCAA Div. III Championships.
The runners battled strong winds nearly everywhere on the course. The front pack was especially bunched up since no athlete wanted to take the lead and face the wind alone. A corps of Tufts and Amherst runners paced the field early on, but men’s co-captain Bijan Mazaheri ’16, Peter Hale ’17 and Ben Decker ’18 were right on their heels. When it came down to the kick, the men were situated well with three finishers in the top five.
Mohamed Hussein of Amherst won the men’s 8k race in 24:39, with Mazaheri a close second in 24:42. Luke O’Connor of Tufts placed third in 24:43, then Hale and Decker rounded out the top five in 24:46 and 24:51, respectively.
After a brief gap, co-captain Todd Ford ’16 came through in 25:24 to take 22nd place. The Ephs’ fifth man was Griffin Colaizzi ’18, who finished 34th in 25:38. Each of Williams’ five scorers earned All-Region honors by placing in the top 35.
Finally, Noah Williams ’17, who took 43rd in 25:47, and Liam Simpson ’18, who took 47th in 25:50, closed out the team’s performance.
“Our men showed a strong front three, with the addition of Peter Hale finishing fourth in a sensational time, joining Mazaheri and Decker,” commented Head Coach Peter Farwell said. “Our next men competed hard, duking it out with their counterparts of Amherst, and it was a close contest all the way. A regional title is quite an accomplishment for this team, which has been so consistently good all season. We expect our next four [runners] to close the gap beween that front trio next week and have us contending with the best in Div. III.
This Saturday, the men will end their season at the NCAA Div. III Championships hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.