Cross Country Takes Victory in NEWMAC
Ranks Fourth in New England, 13th in U.S.By Yuval Mazor
For the fourth year in a row, the MIT Men’s Cross Country team dominated the NEWMAC championship. After a strong regular season, the Engineers entered the championship part of the year ranked 13th in the country and fourth in New England.
In previous years, MIT had never been challenged at the NEWMAC championship, and this year’s team wanted to keep that streak alive.
The lead pack went out fast with Daniel R. Feldman ’02 right in the thick of it. As Feldman led the leaders to a 4:46 first mile, the rest of the team ran a more conservative start. Nonetheless, by the second mile, it was clear that MIT was running well, as Sean Nolan ’03 had joined Feldman in the lead, and Sean J. Montgomery G had moved into 6th place. More importantly, MIT had their remaining four varsity runners in the top 20, and were clearly in the lead.
MIT continued to assert itself over the remaining three miles, as Feldman and Nolan opened up a 30-second lead on Montgomery, who was comfortably in third place by the fourth mile.
Meanwhile, MIT had three more runners closing on the top ten, with Albert S. Liu ’03 leading the way in eighth. Very little changed in the last mile, as MIT finished 1-2-3, Liu in 8th, and Mark L. Strauss ’01, who was racing for just the second time since undergoing surgery, rounded out the scoring in ninth. Benjamin A. Schmeckpeper ’05 and Brian C. Anderson ’04 finished 11th and 21st, respectively, as MIT had seven runners finish before any other team’s five.
MIT’s sub-varsity had an equally commanding day. Knowing that this was the last race of their careers, the graduating class ran aggressive races, hoping to leave on a good note. Alan R. Raphael ’02 and Jeffrey J. Billing G ran together for the last four miles, with Raphael edging Billing at the line and both finished in 27:26. For Raphael, it was the first time under 28 minutes, while Billing had his fastest time in three years.
Yuval Mazor ’02 just missed the barrier, running a 28:00 and finishing in 44th.
In all, MIT had 13 runners in before any other teams’ seven, and all 17 runners had season bests. By the time the results were announced, it was clear that MIT had met its high expectations. With a low score of 23, MIT easily defended their title, holding off Coast Guard (68) and Springfield (92).
MIT’s top six finishers were named to the All-Conference Team.
Individually, Feldman was named NEWMAC Runner of the Year for the third consecutive year, and Schmeckpeper was named NEWMAC Freshmen of the Year. With the New England Division-III Meet only two weeks away, MIT is finally beginning to reach its potential, and should be in contention for a trip to Nationals.