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Both Cross Country Teams Dominate Quad Meet

By Adrienne Bolger
and Chris Bruce
TEAM MEMBERS

Patience and careful execution of their respective team plans brought both the men’s and women’s cross country teams to victory against Bates, Keene State and the University of Southern Maine last Saturday.

The race took place at a true cross country course at Twin Brook Park, ME that features hills, wooded areas, and even snakes. The course kept times slow but provided a great opportunity for strategic racing.

The MIT men raced first, executing a smart race on the tough course. By going out slow behind the other teams’ runners in the early miles, they were able to pass opponents late in the race when they were hurting most. Tallying only 32 points, they ran away with the win, while the other three teams had a close battle for second with USM winning out at 65 points.

Jake J. Ruzevick ’09 led the MIT harriers with his second win in eight days, covering the eight kilometer course in 26:57, the 3rd fastest time by an MIT runner on the course. Kevin F. Brulois ’07 led the rest of the team, finishing fifth in 27:27. Freshman Johannes A. Schneider exhibited a great finishing kick to finish two places and seven seconds behind Brulois, and sophomore Trevor B. Rundell ’09 followed right behind, crossing the line at 27:45. Another freshman, Brandon J. Pung ’10 grabbed the final scoring place for MIT, finishing 11th at 27:49.

“The fear of the hills incredulously made me go faster,” said Schneider, a student from Germany who is learning to adapt not only to the collegiate racing system but also the American courses and race formats.

The women raced second using the same strategy of a conservative opening mile and dominated Keene State College and Bates College (USM did not race a women’s team), scoring 25 points to Bates’ 49 and Keene State’s 61. After allowing the majority of the Keene State runners to take the early lead, the MIT women began moving up in the middle mile and used the course’s many twists, turns, and large hills to wear out the competition until the finish of the 5,000 meter race.

“The hills were tough, but our intent was to pick up a lot of ground by running them intelligently,” Rachel M. Niehuus ’07 said. MIT’s freshman duo of Maria J. Monks and Jacqui M. Wentz came in second (19:30) and fourth (19:57) places to lead the Engineers for the second consecutive week. “Maria and I ran together for the first mile and a half according to plan,” Wentz said.

Also scoring for the Engineers were Jennifer A. Doyle ’09 (20:01), Elizabeth M. Finn ’09 (20:06), and Hana L. Adaniya ’07 (20:16), in fifth, sixth, and eighth place respectively.

“Our performance this weekend bodes well for the season. We’re learning to run in our groups,” Niehuus said.

Saturday’s success showed once again that the young teams possess a great deal of potential, with many freshmen and sophomores running strong races, and with the team handily beating some of its regional competition. However, to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships at the end of the season, both the men and women are seeking team-wide improvement, and need to bring as many runners as possible within 45 seconds of their frontrunner so that they can compete with the top teams in the nation.

On Friday, both teams will get a chance to more definitively assess their abilities at the National Preview Meet at Wilmington College in Ohio. The meet will feature many of the strongest teams from across the nation and also give the Engineers the opportunity to strengthen their case for an At-Large Bid to the NCAA Championships in November.