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Cross Country Wins Conference Title

By James W. Berry
Team Member

The men's cross country team continued to assert its dominance in the Constitution Athletic Conference, winning its fifth straight CAC championship last Saturday at Clark University in Worcester. This time, however, the team won by a dangerously small margin, nipping Coast Guard by only one point.

The team must now put the near-upset behind them, as they travel to Gorham, Maine next Saturday for the NCAAQualifier meet. A top-three performance there will earn them a spot at the NCAA Division III National Championships, held the following Saturday in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

On Saturday, near-torrential rains made the already-difficult course slick and muddy. Several hills were so steep and slippery that even the best runners found themselves crawling over them. Numerous large puddles, rocks, and wet leaves added additional challenges.

After the first mile of the 4.85-mile course, some racers were already covered with mud after falling. In fact, most of the runners had taken two or three mud-baths by the end of the race.

Ethan A. Crain '96 led the way for the Beavers, winning his second straight championship in a record-setting 26:05. Joshua D. Feldman '97 managed to stay on his feet and stormed to a 26:47 fifth-place finish. Michael A. Parkins '99 ran a sensational 27:06, finishing eighth and earned CAC Rookie of the Year award.

After a blazing 4:47 first mile, Arnold H. Seto '96 held on to finish tenth in 27:16. Omar A. Saleh '97 burst into the team's top five with his fifteenth-place time of 27:49. Other top-25 finishers included freshman star Leif Seed '99 and Sohail N. Husain '98.

Despite many impressive individual performances, the team faced difficult competition from Coast Guard. MIT's top seven found themselves constantly battling with Coast Guard runners.

Additionally, seven MIT runners could not compete because of injury or illness, which took away some of the depth that the team often uses to its advantage. By the end of the race, though, the Engineers had pulled ahead just enough to pull off the victory: MIT had 39 points to Coast Guard's 40.