MIT Cross Country - A First LookBy Jason Handwerker
Displaying a great deal of depth and team unity, a young but talented cross country team defeated an experienced group of alumni at Franklin Park last Saturday. This annual event was an opportunity for every runner to test his ability in a racing situation and for the team to evaluate its competitiveness for the upcoming season.
As expected, the team's top returning veterans had a good showing. The race began with five veteran runners exploding off the line and taking their place with two alumni in the lead pack, which remained tight for the first mile.
As the race progressed, several runners fell off the pace. Jesse Darley '95 remained strong, however, and continued to battle with former cross country star Terry McNatt '87 until the final sprint, when McNatt pulled ahead.
Finishing second overall, Darley was first across the finish line for the Engineers. He covered the five mile course in 26 minutes, 41 seconds, just three seconds short of first place, with Ethan Crain '95 (27:20), David Moyle '94 (27:22), and Jerry Pratt '94 (27:41) following close behind.
Five freshmen finished in the top thirteen, making it evident that the new class will play a decisive role in the team's future. Leading this emerging pack, Dan Helgesen '97 (28:01) and Jason Handwerker '97 (28:05) filled the next two varsity positions. Since five runners score in cross country, this strong freshman presence will greatly enhance the team's goal of advancing to Nationals.
Other strong performances were turned in by Tarik Saleh '95, Arnold Seto '96, and Josh Feldman '97.