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Cross country defeats top ranked Brandeis

The men's cross country team narrowly defeated long-time rival Brandeis University in the Brandeis Invitational Meet Saturday.

The win marked MIT's first victory over defending New England Division III champion Brandeis since 1966. The Engineers also bettered teams from Bentley and Tufts.

The New England Cross Country Poll now ranks MIT 12th nationally in Division III and 2nd in New England.

Hurricane Gloria strewed debris ranging from acorns to oak trees on the course at Boston's Franklin Park. Members of the four competing teams periodically stopped to clear brush out of the way. The course ended up with a few minor detours and an occasional barrier, but none deterred any of the runners.

The meet appeared to be a race between Brandeis and MIT from the outset. The Brandeis Judges looked strong at both the one and two-mile points of the five-mile race. They held first, fourth, sixth and seventh places after two miles. At that time, MIT's first runner was Sean Kelley '89 in fifth place, and the intermediate score had the Judges ahead of the Engineers by more than ten points.

But "our guys just wanted it more than Brandeis did," said Coach Halston Taylor. Kelley's face clearly expressed this sentiment; by the third mile he moved into second place, passing runners from Bentley and Brandeis.

A pack of determined MIT runners formed behind Kelley. Will Sauer G, Gordy Holterman '87, Bill Mallet '86 and Terry McNatt '87 gradually but decisively left Brandeis and Bentley jerseys in their wake.

At the finish, Kelley was in second place with a new personal record of 26:30. Next came Sauer and Holterman in sixth and seventh place, with times of 26:57 and 27:00 respectively.

Mallet and McNatt finished ninth and tenth in 27:02 and 27:03, beating Brandeis's Chris Cameron by two seconds in the last mile. MIT's sixth and seventh runners, Turan Erdogan '87 and Rod Hinman '88, gave the Engineers the deciding edge by defeating Brandeis' fifth runner.

The final score was MIT 34, Brandeis 36, Bentley 85 and Tufts 140. The margin of only two points meant that every finisher's place was instrumental to the win.

The team will return to Franklin Park in two weeks to compete against Brandeis and other area teams in the Codfish Bowl on Oct. 12. Prospects for the race look good as the list of schools vanquished by the Engineers, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Coast Guard Academy, and now Brandeis, Bentley and Tufts, grows.