Ephs achieve second at home meet

Griffin Colaizzi ’18, center, finished in the top 20 at 25:55.8 in the Purple Valley Invitational. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Griffin Colaizzi ’18, center, finished in the top 20 at 25:55.8 in the Purple Valley Invitational. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s cross country placed second Saturday at the Purple Valley Classic.

Hosted at Mount Greylock Regional High School, the meet included 23 teams — all of which Williams defeated except for SUNY Geneseo.

The field for this year’s Purple Valley Classic was historically strong with the highest-ranked New England schools fielding teams in addition to powerhouses SUNY Geneseo, RPI and NYU. Teams from several regions, including New England, the Atlantic, Mideast and the Midwest raced. Baldwin-Wallace, from Ohio, competed at the meet for the first time.

“Each year we highlight this meet as a very strong inter-regional competition, and attract many of the top ranked teams in the country, especially from New York and New England, but [also] Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “Our course is one of the best anywhere, and coaches and runners enjoy the mixed terrain and challenge. Spectators get many views of the races, and the natural beauty of the surroundings, including Mt. Greylock.

“Our teams particularly look forward to racing at home, with families and Williams students cheering them on, and testing their racing skills against such a strong field. It’s been quite a week of team traditions leading up to it, and the spirit was high among our harriers Saturday.”

Eight of the teams that ran this weekend are ranked by the USTFCCCA in the top 32 for the nation, meaning that this race was the most competitive thus far in the country. In addition, 12 teams were ranked in the top 10 in their region.

The Mount Greylock High School course is a championship-caliber course, having been the venue for the NCAA New England Regional three times.

During the meet, Geneseo’s top runner, Isaac Garcia-Cassani, won the 8k in 25:24.9. Close behind, in fourth and fifth place, were Ben Decker ’18 at 25:32.2 and co-captain Peter Hale ’17 at 25:33.1.

The runners from Geneseo positioned themselves well early on, clearly leading the field at the three-mile mark with a strong pack. MIT also looked confident, but the Ephs split up their pack during the final two miles of the race. Griffin Colaizzi ’18 at 25:55.8 and Noah Williams ’17 at 26:02.0 finished in the top 20, and Liam Simpson ’18 at 26:08.7, David Folsom ’17 at 26:19.9 and Austin Anderson ’19 at 26:31.1 came close behind.

Williams lost to Geneseo — ranked second in Div. III — 48 to 64 points. MIT trailed at third with 89.

Perhaps the day’s most exciting performance was the freshman 5k. Led by Ryan Cox ’20, who stopped the clock at 16:13.7, Williams snatched the first six places with a mere 13-second spread, beating out Amherst and Tufts who scored 56 and 72 points, respectively. Tristan Colaizzi ’20 came second in 16:19.8, with Sam Wischnewsky ’20 at 16:23.3, William McGovern ’20 at 16:24.4, Peter Kirgis ’20 at 16:24.8 and Nick Gannon ’20 at 16:26.1 hot on his heels.

Next weekend, the 14 runners selected for the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh will face stiff competition, while the remaining members will compete at a fast course at Westfield the following week.