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Harriers Defend Engineer's Cup

By Dave Moyle
team meMBEr

MIT easily defended the Engineers Cup in the annual race against Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that was run Sept. 18 at Franklin Park. Confident of victory, MIT never allowed the other two teams to get back into the race.

By the end, the home team's cardinal uniforms were the common sight crossing the finish line. Only two RPI runners succeeded in breaking into MIT's top five to avoid a clean sweep.

Jesse Darley '95 boldly took the lead from the start of the race and pulled away from the pack at mile one without a fight. Unchallenged, he continued to press for the next four miles. Darley covered the five mile course in an impressive 26 minutes, 28 seconds to capture his first career victory.

Behind Darley, things were a little more interesting as a pack of MIT runners battled with RPI. Dan Helgeson '97 (26:48) pulled away in the latter half of the race to fill the second varsity position. He placed second overall with an improvement of over one minute from his previous race.

Dave Moyle '94 (27:08), Arnold Seto '96 (27:17), Jerry Pratt '94(27:30), Tarik Saleh '95 (27:37), and Raj Suryadevara '94 (27:46). rounded out the top seven varsity positions placing fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth overall.

MIT's first real challenge came last Friday at Bates College in Maine. Bates, Tufts, and Bentley colleges all had aggressive front runners, and Tufts and Bentley each had defeated the Beavers last season.

The course was a cross country runner's dream and nightmare in one. It was set on a golf course with large rolling hills, forcing the runners either up or down for the entire five miles. It was arguably the most difficult course the team will face this season.

Based on the difficulty of the course and strength of the competition, the Engineers took a much more conservative approach to the race. At the start, the entire Bentley team swarmed to the front of the pack, and pressed hard for the first mile. The Engineers, however, were undisturbed by the crowd of yellow uniforms in front of them and patiently held back while remaining within striking distance of the lead. MIT was the epitome of concentration as the team slowly moved up through the pack over the next four miles of the grueling course.

To the casual observer, the race seemed a clean sweep for Bentley after mile one. At the halfway point, the lead had been split between Bentley and Tufts with MIT still moving up. It was not until the four mile mark that it became obvious the Engineers would win.

The entire team executed its strategy brilliantly, and ran a very strong fifth mile to beat any opponents near them. During mile two, Jesse Darley broke away with Bentley's and Bates' top runners who were each favored to win. He pushed the pace for the rest of the race, wearing down his opponents both mentally and physically. When it came to the final sprint, the other runners had dropped off Darley's pace and he glided home to another victory, with a time of 26:35. Moyle (27:16), Helgeson (27:22), Pratt (27:31) and Suryadevara (27:43) followed Darley's lead placing fifth, seventh, 10th, and 14th overall to give MIT the victory. Saleh and Seto also finished with a good showing.

These races, in addition to the victory over the Alumni, gave the Beavers a record of 6-0 for the regular season. Next week MIT will face it's toughest challenge to date as it competes against Williams College in the Lemoyne College Invitational. The Engineers must have a good showing against Williams if they expect to defeat them in the national qualifiers. If MIT attacks this race the same way they approached the Bates meet, it should be very exciting.