Men's Cross Country Places 7th at DartmouthBy Thom S. Hunter
The men's cross country team opened its season with a modest seventh place finish in the Dartmouth College Invitational on Saturday.
Division I powers Dartmouth and Boston University finished first and second with 50 and 59 points, respectively, with defending Division III national champion Williams College taking third with 91 points. MIT's score was a disappointing 185.
The Engineers, who had looked very good in the previous weekend's annual Alumni Race, were caught napping in the early going and found themselves having to fight their way through the large field of 130 runners, many of whom were not to be caught.
Mike Parkins '99 led the team with his 22nd place finish, clocking 26:26 over the hilly five-mile course. Parkins, the winner of the Alumni Race, worked his way past at least 40 opponents in the final three miles.
Arnold Seto G followed quickly in his wake, taking 28th place, just 12 seconds behind. Leif Seed '99 (42nd, 27:10), Chris McGuire '00 (44th, 27:12), and team captain Dan Helgesen '97 (58th, 27:38), rounded out the team's scoring five.
Gabe White '00 from San Diego was perhaps the most pleasant surprise, recording a lifetime best of 27:57 for five miles and finishing as the team's seventh man after being 13th just a week before.
Head Coach Halston Taylor expressed disappointment in the team's performance. Having put together the most challenging season schedule in 15 years, Taylor felt that the team has the talent to succeed at this higher level of competition.
"Things should improve dramatically in the next two weeks. If not, it will be a very long season with the schedule that we have," Taylor said. "I know we have a good team, but they have to develop more pride when it comes to letting teams run all over you."
The Engineers will get their chance to rebound this Saturday when they travel to Lewiston, Maine for a tri-meet with Bates College and Tufts University. Tufts, ranked 23rd in the nation in a pre-season Division III poll, won the Amherst Invitational on Saturday, while Bates finished 9th at Dartmouth.