The cross-country team traveled to Middlebury on Saturday, Nov. 1 for the NESCAC Championship 8k race, effectively kicking off its postseason. Despite some solid placers, the women’s squad placed ninth of 11 while the men finished eighth, a two-spot improvement from last year.
The men’s team finished with a score of 215 points, which was 16 points better than ninth-place finisher Hamilton and 35 points short of seventh-place Bates.
Evan Bieder ’15 finished 17th (25:49.3) among 121 runners, while Taylor Titcomb ’16 placed 27th (26:13). Returning from an absence at the Little Three meet, Keith Conway ’16 was the third Cardinal to the tape, finishing 50th with a time of 26:40.5.
“It wasn’t our best,” Conway said. “We just need to do better in two weeks at regionals.”
Eric Arsenault ’17 (55th, 26:43.4) and Tate Knight ’18 (66th, 27:02.2) were the last two in the scoring five as the Williams Ephs defended their national rank by winning the entire race. The Colby Mules finished as the runners-up, and the Panthers of Middlebury came in third on their home course.
Other performances for Wesleyan included Paul Brauchle ’17 ( 87th, 27:07.8), Will Dudek ’17 (112th, 28:25.8), Hank Vansant ’18 (115th, 28:42.8), and Graham Brown ’18 (119th, 29:34.3).
“Hank Vansant had a huge day,” Conway noted. “He’s become quite a stud.”
Colin Cotton of Williams won the men’s race in a time of 24:56.8 and was followed closely behind by David Chelimo of Colby (25:12.3). Cotton’s teammate Bijan Mazaheri rounded out the top three, finishing in a time of 25:13.3.
The women’s division saw a shuffled top three, as Middlebury captured top honors on its home course in the 6k race, while Williams and Amherst followed in second and third. The Panthers claimed the top two spots in the race, with Alison Maxwell and Summer Spillane running in times of 22:16.8 and 22:33.0, respectively. Tufts runner Audrey Gould came in third, missing out on second place by just 0.6 seconds with a time of 22:33.6.
Caroline Elmendorf ’17 was the first Cardinal to finish yet again (22nd, 23:28.8), while Molly Schassberger ’17 was 42nd out of 122 in her first race back this season with a time of 24:22.1. The Wesleyan women finished eight points above tenth-place Bowdoin but 59 points behind Hamilton, the team that ended up in eighth place.
“I was pleased with my race on Saturday,” Elmendorf wrote in an email to The Argus. “I was proud of all my teammates, and I think that most of them had good races. The competition was really tough, so although we wanted to get to a better place as a team, almost everyone ran to their potential.”
The scoring five for the women was rounded out by Eliana Zimmerman ’17 (58th, 25:08.1), Christine Hebner ’17 (68th, 25:29.5) and Rachel Unger ’15 (70th, 25:35.6).
“Our coach has not decided yet whether we will go to ECACs or just to the New England regional meet, but I think that with a few more weeks of rest and working on our speed will lead to good races at whatever meets we travel to,” Elmendorf wrote. “Our team clearly has a lot of potential, especially since we have such a young team, so I look forward to taking this momentum through the end of the season and into track.”
Other quality performances for the Cardinals included Morgan Findley ’18 (71st, 25:41.4), Joie Akerson ’17 (101st, 25:52.5), Juli Riggs ’17 (112th, 26:25.7), and Sylwia Lipior ’18 (229th, 26:30.1).Next weekend, the Cardinals will likely travel to Bristol, Rhode Island for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III meet on Nov. 8, and then prepare for the New England regional meet. While there is certainly room for improvement for these young and up-and-coming squads, the team has a positive attitude moving forward in the postseason.