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Cross Country Places Third At UMass-Dartmouth Meet

By Imran Hendley

TEAM MEMBER

MIT men’s cross country went up against some of the big names in New England Division III on Saturday for the first time this season. Among the 26 teams at the meet were number two-ranked Tufts University (running without first man Nate Brigham), number four-ranked Amherst College, and number six-ranked Trinity College. Ranked fifth in New England, MIT finished in third place, as predicted, but they learned much about their own and the other teams’ weaknesses.

Coming off a successful performance where he went out hard the week before, Ben A. Schmeckpeper ’05 held back little in the first mile, coming through with the leaders in 4:54.

Schmeckpeper pushed the pace through the second and into the third mile, opening up a five-second gap on second place going up the only hill on the Dartmouth course. But it was too much too soon, as UMass-Dartmouth’s first man used the downhill to take over the lead. Schmeckpeper held on for second, finishing in 25:39.

Led by Brian C. Anderson ’04, MIT’s next four went out hard for the first mile. They couldn’t stay together, however, as Anderson pulled ahead of Eric A. Khatchadourian ’06, John A. Brewer ’05, and Kevin C. Brulois ’07. Anderson looked remarkably strong through two miles, so much so that another team’s coach commented, “He looks like he’s out for a jog.”

But by the fourth mile, everyone was suffering, and MIT began to lose places to those who started the race more conservatively. Anderson took ninth place (26:00); Khatchadourian finished twentieth (26:31); Brewer finished twenty-fifth (26:48); and Brulois finished thirty-ninth (27:16).

In the junior varsity race, Ian H. Driver ’05 led MIT’s next six men to a conservative first mile. Driver took over the lead of the race in the second mile, but the Tufts pack took it back going into the third. Robbie A. Bryant ’07 stayed with the Tufts runners, taking the lead back for MIT until the end of the fourth mile, but Tufts showed its depth, moving its first five ahead in the final mile to sweep the race. MIT was right behind, though, to take second place overall with Bryant in sixth (27:26), Chris J. Fidkowski G in seventh (27:33), Driver in eighth (27:35), Spencer C. Dudley ’07 in tenth (27:43), Kevin J. DiGenova ’07 in eleventh (27:48), and Sam J. Berberian ’07 in fourteenth (28:21). Still finishing in the top half of the race was JesÚs R. Alvarez ’07 (30:06), and Eric T. Nelson ’07 improved from last week with a time of 30:32.

MIT ran perhaps too aggressively this time, not saving enough to make use of the downhill fourth mile and finishing third overall with 87 points to Amherst’s 64 and Tufts’s 65. But Coach Halston Taylor plans to have the team run more conservatively next week at the Southern Maine Invitational where MIT will meet Amherst and Williams College.