The men’s and women’s cross country teams closed out the fall season on a high note this past weekend at the New England Division III Championships in Williamstown, Mass. on the Mount Greylock course. This performance followed a week of rest for the majority of the squad, while five underclassmen participated in the ECAC Division III Championships two weekends ago at Westfield State University.
In the men’s 8K race at Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass., which consisted of 303 participants, Graham Brown ’18 ran the fastest time for the Cardinals at the meet, finishing in 137th place with a time of 28:27.18, averaging 5:43.5 per mile. John Vansant ’18 arrived at the tape in 140th place, not far behind his teammate. His final time was 28:33.54, splitting 5:44 for each mile.
Williams came away with the title, edging out second place Tufts, 57 to 71. Amherst closed out the top three with 111 points. NESCAC teams took the top-seven spots in the race. Steven Lucey of Amherst won the race in a time of 25:37.40, averaging 5:09.3 per mile. Patrick Hoagland of Trinity took second in 25:40.67 and Todd Ford of Williams placed third in 25:40.67.
Three hundred and thirty-eight runners were entered into the women’s 6K race, where three Cardinals were featured: Juli Riggs ’17, Sylwia Lipior ’18, and Christina Vyzas ’18. Riggs hit the finish line at 77th place with a time of 24:32.5, averaging each mile in 6:34.0, and Lipior took 115th, traversing the course in 25:06.51. Vyzas rounded out the Birds effort in 144th with a time of 25:40.1.
The Ephs swept both races, beating the University of New England by 12 points, 48 to 60. Middlebury was far behind with 85 points, and seven of the top-10 teams were NESCAC squads. Rebecca Delacruz-Gunderson from Williams ran to a victory in 22:15.27, averaging just under six minutes per mile. Second place was just 0.36 from winning, with Tiana Thomas from UNE finishing in 22:15.63. Her teammate Brittney Sorbello came in third with a time of 22:18.28.
The New England Division III Championships saw great success for the Cardinals, with the men finishing 10th overall out of 54 teams and the women taking 16th place out of 57 squads. The men improved from a 13th place finish last year, and the women jumped four spots higher after a 20th place showing one season ago.
Taylor Titcomb ’16 led the way for Wes in the 8K, finishing 35th overall with a time of 26:18 and a mile pace of 5:18, which was good enough to earn him all-New England Division III laurels. Keith Conway ’16 took the next spot for the Birds with a 64th place performance in a time of 26:52.6. Evan Bieder ’15 and Eric Arsenault ’17 came in close together at 79th and 81th overall with times of 27:03.9 and 27:04.4, respectively. Tate Knight ’18, Paul Brauchle ’17, and Will Dudek ’17 rounded out the Cardinals top seven, finishing 95th in 27:23.4, 142nd in 28:01.9 and 172nd in 28:29.6, respectively. The Cardinals scoring five all placed in the top 26 percent of the 373-runner field.
Colby won the event with 63 points, led by sixth place finisher David Chelimo, who finished in a time of 25:33. Amherst took second place with 69 points, with its leading runner, Mohamed Hussein, taking fourth with a time of 25:30.3. MIT took third overall, one point more than the Lord Jeffs, and Spencer Wenck led the way for the Engineers, coming in second overall at 25:15.1. Colin Cotton from Williams won the race in a time of 25:10 and a 5:04 mile pace, while his teammate, Bijan Mazaheri closed out the top three with a time of 25:26.1. Eight of the top-ten spots in the race went to NESCAC squads.
The women’s 6K race showcased Wesleyan’s success with Caroline Elmendorf ’17 finishing in 46th place among 387 competitors with a time of 23:06.7, averaging 6:12 per mile. Molly Schassberger ’17 came to the tape with a time of 23:58.9, which earned her 86th place in the race. Morgan Findley ’18 and Eliana Zimmerman ’17 finished with one second between them in 120th and 121st place, respectively. Joie Akerson ’17 and Christina Hebner ’17 came in fifth and sixth for Wesleyan and 139th and 156th overall with times of 24:50.1 and 25:06.3. Rachel Unger ’15 capped off Wesleyan’s runners in the race, coming in 248th place and a time of 26:35.3.
“It was a very chilly day on Saturday,” Zimmerman wrote in an email to The Argus. “We had raced previously on the Williams course, but for a 5K instead of a 6K, and it was pretty muddy and unkempt last time. Someone from another team ended up breaking their leg. But the temperature made the ground freeze so there was good footing. Parts of the course were a little too narrow for a meet of this size (350 runners per race) but that just made for a more aggressive racing style! Joie Akerson lost one of her shoes in the first half-mile and courageously persevered! Luckily, the cold numbed her foot. They don’t call us endurance athletes for nothing.”
MIT won the event easily, tallying 40 points with the help of first-place finisher Sarah Quinn, who hit the end line at 21:39.9, averaging a mile time of 5:49. They also earned 5th, 6th, 8th, and 20th place in the race. Middlebury finished in second with 65 points and fielded 4th, 12th, and 16th spots in the event. ’CAC champion Alison Maxwell scored a second place result with a time of 21:48.8 and her teammate and NESCAC runner-up Summer Spillane finished fourth in 21:54.2. Tufts runner Audrey Gould came in third at the NESCAC Championships and finished in the same spot at this race with a time of 21:51.8.
“Our women’s team had a very strong showing this past week,” Zimmerman wrote. “Our training really came together. We’ve been doing a lot of workouts in groups, and that worked to our advantage this weekend. Most of the team finished close together. That was really exciting to see. We also had new uniforms just for this meet that our coach chose specifically to make us pop out during the race.”
The Cardinals will look to foster their success from the fall and utilize it in the winter and spring track and field seasons, as well as next year’s cross country schedule.
“Our team has an incredible amount of young talent,” Zimmerman wrote. “I really believe we have the potential to do things that the team hasn’t done in a long time. We are unfortunately losing one of our top runners, our senior Rachel Unger this year, but normally the team graduates multiple members of the varsity team. I think this past race was very motivating for the team—it was one of the first times we had a really good glimpse of how successful this group of athletes can be.