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MIT Runners Upset Two Ranked Teams

By Michael Parkins
Team Captain

High temperatures and high hopes accompanied the MIT cross country team as they hosted Bates College and Tufts University last Saturday at Franklin Park. Coming into the event, Tufts was ranked eighth in the country and Bates 24th. However, the unranked Tech team was able to dominate both opponents.

At the one mile mark of the race the Tech trio of Mike Parkins '99, Mark Strauss '01, and Dan Feldman '02 formed the lead pack with one Tufts and one Bates runner. Similar clusters formed throughout the ranks as the Engineer runners gained position within striking distance of the opponents they knew they would need to beat to put MITon top.

By the three mile mark, however, the situation did not look good for the Engineers. Tufts had seven runners in front of Tech's five man pack, and Bates had their scoring five in the thick as well. The Engineers' huge second pack of Leif Seed '99, Frank Johnston '00, Jeff Billing '01, Ed Keehr '01, and Phil Loiselle '01 was in striking position but still running second behind Tufts.

The last mile proved critical as the Engineers strained to pull away from their opponents. Strauss charged for the win, but had to take second (25:31) as Bates' Michael Danahey took the win in 25:29. Parkins followed closely in third (25:40), and Feldman pounded out a 26:01 sixth place finish. The big story, however, was Keehr, who dropped the hammer and passed a line of four Tufts runners over the last mile to finish ninth in 26:40. Johnston (27:01), Loiselle (27:12), and Billings (27:14) finished strong in 15th through 17th place, rounding out the scorers.

When the dust settled, the final result was MIT 35, Tufts 42, and Bates 48. "Hopefully we proved to ourselves that we are capable of beating any team in New England. We just need to be sure we don't get too cocky now," said Mike Parkins.

The Engineers take their undefeated record back to Franklin Park this Saturday for the Codfish Bowl, an annual meet that attracts many of the top teams in Massachusetts.