Most Recent Meet
Purple Valley Classic -
Performer of the Meet - Scott Nelson
For the 2nd race of the season, the boys headed north to the land of the Ephs to compete at the Purple Valley Classic held at Mt Greylock High school and hosted by Williams. A good, challenging course with a little bit of everything to make it a true XC course combined with a loaded field and a perfect day made for great racing. With 7-8 teams ranked in the most recent NCAA rankings, including 4 in the Top 10, the field would provide a great test of fitness and good idea of where we are at for this point of the season. The race started out at a moderate pace but nothing that was breaking open a very large pack near the front consisting of nearly 50 guys through the opening mile or two, and after the first time through the back loop and big hills things started to shake up a bit and a smaller pack was taking charge with Mohammed - getting his season started - right on the shoulders of the leaders. The next chase pack saw Cosmo Brossy and Steve Lucey working well together, and then another pack a bit off of them had the Meijer brothers working in tandem. Perhaps the biggest takeaway on the day was the team's ability to find and work with other teammates, as rarely were there times when we did not have at least a pair of guys working together throughout the race's entirety. A couple of guys were returning from injury and used the race as a dust buster as they ran a bit conservative in the early going and then picked things up in the final mile or so of the race as the Nelson twins and Jack Wesley had strong second half races and should capitalize on the momentum and confidence from the first race effort. The last mile of the race, things started to shake out at the front as Mo would get into a pack of 4 others before finishing in 2nd place in a 25:26 to lead the team, while about 30 seconds back, Cosmo and Steve finished 13th and 16th and Ray and Tucker would round out the scoring in 37th and 43rd. Craig picked things up nicely in the end to grab a 50th spot, well under 27 minutes while the final scoring runner, Kristian Sogaard had a very strong race to finish 7th for the team. Scott Nelson - racing for the first time since last fall, had a strong finish, almost dipping under 27 minutes in his first time out and following him to the finish was Jake Silverman with another big performance, showing some huge gains from last fall. Jack Wesley raced under 27:30 and then we had a pack of guys come in shortly after led by a great race from Aaron Zambrano who ran over a minute faster than last year, and then Peter Horton and Kevin Dooley - each under 28 minutes. A small gap back from them, came another trio of runners who came into the weekend battling some various nagging injuries and despite them, they competed well as Jesse, Justin and Ben all finished within 12 seconds of one another, and then Jack Malague dropped over 40 seconds from last years time to round out the day with his 28:30. A very strong performance by Geneseo led them to the team title, and on the day the men would finish 4th behind Geneseo, Williams and MIT with scores of 48, 64, 89 and 107. While not the victory from a year ago, we are really optimistic about the coming weeks as we continue to get some key guys healthy and will look to bridge the gaps with scoring runners and be able to challenge all of these teams when it really counts. Prior to the start of the 8k, we had a group of guys - either freshmen or more middle-distance oriented guys - running the 5k, and despite running a bit to conservative for the opening half of the race, the guys picked things up over the last mile to move themselves up with Chris Butko leading the way in 12th, with Ralph Skinner having a solid race just behind him in 14th, then followed by Ermias Kebede and Spencer Dryden in 20th an d21st, and then Christ Stone and Vernon Espinoza coming in back to back with each cracking the top 30.