Men’s X-C Previews Nat’l RaceBy Steve Maltas
MIT’s Men’s Cross Country team finished in third place Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Mn.
The Engineers were hoping to gain some valuable experience and motivation to return to St. Olaf for the NCAA Championship. MIT was up against some stiff competition and hoped to gain some national recognition by defeating some nationally ranked teams.
When the dust had settled MIT found themselves in third place behind 3rd ranked North Central and 20th ranked U.W.-Steven’s Point. MIT, however, defeated 17th ranked Washington University out of St. Louis and 18th ranked U.W.-Platteville.
MIT takes early lead
When the gun sounded the Engineers were out ahead of most of the field and ahead of where they wanted to be. The narrow course led the Engineers to get out faster than desired and they paid for it in the later miles.
Eventual winner North Central ran a more controlled race and took control of the race after two miles. MIT was ahead of Steven’s Point through three runner’s, however, the Engineers’ fourth and fifth runners were too far back.
Benjamin A. Schmeckpeper ’05 and Sean P. Nolan ’03 led the Engineers through the mile mark with a time of 4:56, followed closely by Steve K. Maltas ’06 and Brian C. Anderson ’04 in 5:03. The quick pace early on hurt the MIT runners later in the race; however, spurred on by the local fans and friends, Schmeckpeper, from Wisconsin, and Maltas, from Illinois, managed to finish with personal bests. Nolan dropped off Schmeckpeper’s pace after the third mile, feeling the effects of pulling an academic all-nighter Thursday night.
Schmeckpeper leads team
Schmeckpeper finished in 5th place, ahead of Nolan for the first time. Nolan finished in 11th place and Maltas in 14th to wrap up a strong 1-2-3 punch. Nearly a minute elapsed before Anderson finished as MIT’s fourth runner in 35th place, followed closely by Carlos A. Renjifo ’04, 36th; Albert S. Liu ’03, 39th; and Craig B. Wildman ’03, 46th. Freshmen Eric A. Khatchadourian and David S. Gray ran well but were in the back of the top third of the field.
Next week, MIT gets a chance to improve against some of the best teams in the New England Region at the Codfish Bowl at Franklin Park. After winning the Codfish Bowl in 1998 and 1999, the Engineers have finished 2nd the past two years.