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Schmeckpeper Heads to NCAA DIII National Meet in Indiana

By Imran Hendley

TEAM MEMBER

Ben A. Schmeckpeper ’05 became the first individual winner from MIT at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships in twenty-two years. He crossed the finish of the Twin Brook course in Cumberland, Maine on Saturday in twenty-five minutes and forty-five seconds.

Tufts University’s Nate Brigham and Keene State College’s Dave Bridgewater took an early lead in the race, but Schmeckpeper ran conservatively as planned in the first mile. By advancing slowly, he put himself twenty meters off the front and in fifth place by the second mile mark. In the third mile he closed still further, and by the start of the fourth mile he looked ready to take over. Receiving some help from the lead cart, which went the wrong way and took the top two runners down the wrong path, Schmeckpeper moved into first before three and a half miles, and began to pull away. Even if Brigham had made up his lost ground, he still would not have caught Schmeckpeper who stretched his lead to sixty meters by the middle of the final mile before holding on for the win.

Men’s team places fifth overall

MIT men’s cross country finished just three points shy of Amherst College’s fourth and final national qualifying place on the day. But even by Coach Halston Taylor’s standards, the team ran a great race and perhaps to the best of their potential. Brian C. Anderson ’04 saved the best race of his cross country career for last, finishing twenty-eighth in 26:52.

Kevin F. Brulois ’07 got off to a slow start, but surged in the final mile to place thirty-eighth in 27:14, just ahead of John A. Brewer ’05, who was thirty-ninth. Chris J. Fidkowski G was one second behind Brewer, but two strong Amherst runners split the MIT trio, putting Fidkowski in forty-second. Fidkowski ran an impressive race, improving fifty seconds on his best time for the Twin Brook course.

Eric A. Khatchadourian ’07, who performs best with a conservative start, had trouble moving up in the large field, but still came in fifty-third place for a strong end to his impressive sophomore season. Ian H. Driver ’05 also had a tough day, but his one hundredth place was strong nonetheless in the field of two hundred and sixty-seven runners. Driver has shown steady improvement in three years of cross country, and will again be valuable on next year’s team.

Tufts University, Keene State College, Williams College, and Amherst College will take their teams to Nationals at Hanover College in Indiana next weekend. Schmeckpeper will also be going as the first of nine individual qualifiers whose teams did not make it. Last year he came off a tenth place finish at Regionals to place thirty-second at Nationals, earning him All-American honors.