The cross country teams were swept at home against rivals Amherst and Williams in the Little Three Meet on Saturday, Oct. 19th. Despite the results, both the men and women runners held an optimistic outlook on the meet and on those to come.
“It wasn’t the race I was looking for, but it was a good experience in terms of how to prepare for the rest of the season,” said Libby Lazare ’14.
Lazare, who placed 13th overall with a time of 19:17.2, was the top scorer for the Wes women. Eight Cardinals ran a five-kilometer course as part of a 63-woman field. Williams won with 15 points, Amherst scored 54, and Wesleyan finished with 79.
“We went out a little slow [at first],” Lazare said. “It was a comfortable pace. I tried to stay behind Williams’ top three runners. For the first mile, I was on about a solid six-minute pace. The second mile was still comfortable; I was on a similar pace, and I stuck with the pack I was in. But then between the two- and two-and-a-half-mile marks, I fell off pace. The last mile was tough.”
On the men’s side, 52 competitors ran an eight-kilometer course, with seven running for Wesleyan. Williams scored 25 points, Amherst 37, and Wesleyan 67.
“The race was a lot closer than the points made it seem to be,” said Reid Hawkins ’17, who scored second for the Cardinal men and finished in 10th place with time of 26:32.9. “There wasn’t the same depth [in the number of runners for Wesleyan] but there were the same solid five [scorers].”
Despite a great run, finishing first among Cardinals with a time of 26:20.2, Taylor Titcomb ’16 feels he personally could have gone a few steps further.
“There’s this hill on the course called The Wall,” Titcomb said. “It’s literally a 55-degree angle. And with four hundred meters to go in the race, it takes a toll. I was already having a tough time by the last three hundred meters when I started to dry heave, and that let three guys pass me. I should’ve finished fifth but ended up eighth, and I’m still pretty upset about that. I’m happy with my time; I just could have shaved 10 seconds off and placed fifth.”
It makes sense that the Cardinals were pushing themselves so hard at this rivalry meet. Indeed, for Hawkins, the bad blood went past the history behind the three schools and into personal vendetta. And the passion paid off.
“I didn’t get recruited by Amherst,” Hawkins said. “So I beat their top recruit [at the Little Three Meet]. He was one of the runners sitting on me, and he placed 11th behind me. I was top [first-year] at the Little Three, and I did it by 0.4 seconds.”
Despite a few impressive individual performances, the Cardinals’ cross country team is looking ahead. Its next race will be at the NESCAC Championship, hosted by Conn College on Saturday, Nov. 2nd.
“We can do well,” Lazare said. “We’re a young team. Seven of our top runners graduated last year; we’re mostly freshmen. So the [upcoming race] will be good for them, good for experience.”