HADLEY, Mass. – Bates will host the 2017 NESCAC Cross Country Championship on Saturday, October 28 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine. The 35th edition of the annual meet begins with the men’s 8-kilometer race at Noon, followed by the women’s 6-kilometer race at 1 p.m.
PURCHASE NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP GEAR
NOTE: Pineland Farms does not allow dogs on the premises in an effort to ensure safety of Pineland Farms' animals and all visitors to the farm.
Last season, the Williams men tallied 83 points, finishing 17 points ahead of runner-up Amherst. All four Ephs who finished in the top-20 last season return in 2017, led by senior Ben Decker (Yarmouth, Maine) who placed seventh last year to earn All-NESCAC First Team honors. This fall, he was the top Eph at their own Purple Valley Invitational. Classmate Liam Simpson (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), an All-NESCAC Second Team selection in 2016, has been the top runner for Williams twice this season, leading the Ephs to victory at the McGill Invitational with a fourth-place finish and placing third at the Little Three Championships.
Amherst, Middlebury, Connecticut College and host Bates will challenge the Ephs for the team title. The duo of sophomore Clark Ricciardelli (Hingham, Mass.) and senior Mohamed Hussein (Hargeisa, Somaliland) have paced the Mammoths this season as Amherst is seeking its first NESCAC title in program history. Ricciardelli has been the top Amherst runner in three of the four races. He finished first to lead Amherst to a win at the Smith Invitational, added a fourth-place finish at the Purple Valley Invitational, and was second at the Little Three Championship. Hussein, the 2015 NESCAC Most Outstanding Performer and an NESCAC First Team performer last year, was sixth at the Purple Valley Invitational and was the top Mammoth runner in the Gold Division race at the Paul Short Invitational.
Middlebury looks to win its first title since 2010. The Panthers have finished first or second in four of their six races this season. They opened the year with back-to-back wins at the Vermont Tech Invitational and their own Aldrich Invitational. Middlebury also hosted the Vermont State Meet and took first place. The Panthers head into the NESCAC Championship coming off a second-place finish at the Connecticut College Invitational. Junior Miles Meijer (Mountain View, Calif.) has been a top contributor for the Panthers. He was the runner-up at the Vermont Tech Invitational and was the first Middlebury runner across the finish line at the Purple Valley Invitational. Senior Ascencion Aispuro (Maywood, Calif.) led the Panthers at the Connecticut College Invitational and was a top three performer in the Gold Division race at the Paul Short Invitational.
Bates has finished seventh three consecutive years and looks to move up in the standings. The Bobcats are fresh off a win at the Maine State Championship and have won three of their four races. Senior Zach Magin (West Hartford, Conn.) won the Bates/Colby Junior/Senior Class Race to open the year. He finished second at the Saratoga Invitational and placed third at the Maine State Championship. Sophomore Justin Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), the winner of the First Year/Sophomore Class Race, was runner-up at the Bates Invitational.
Sophomore Danny Aschale (Cambridge, Mass.) and junior Scott Mason (Wyndmoor, Pa.) have been the top two runners for Connecticut College. Mason finished fourth and Aschale, an All-NESCAC Second Team selection last season, followed in fifth at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational, leading the Camels to fourth in the team standings. At the Camels’ own invitational, Mason was second overall and Aschale placed fifth to lead the team to third place.
The top individual honor in the men’s race has gone to runners from seven different schools over the last seven years. Potential contenders for medalist honors include senior Ben Torda (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.) of Bowdoin, who has two wins this season, including the Maine State Championship just two weeks ago. Colby seniors Noel Feeney (Braintree, Mass.) and Benard Kibet (Rift Valley, Kenya) have paced the Mules this fall and look to make an impact. They finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at the Keene State Invitational. Sophomore Bryce Murdick (Sandwich, N.H.) and first-year Lucas Wright (Severna Park, Md.) have been impressive for Hamilton this season. Murdick led the team at its own Hamilton Short Course Invitational, finishing fifth, and Wright led the Continentals to a victory at the Hamilton Invitational where he was the runner-up. Junior Joe Ruggiero (Manchester, Conn.) and sophomore Ace McAlister (Great Barrington, Mass.) have led Trinity. Ruggiero led the Bantams during the first two races of the season, including as runner-up at Trinity’s own invitational. McAlister recovered from an injury to lead the Bantams over the last three races, and was runner-up at the James Earley Invitational. Junior Dylan Jones (Natick, Mass.) has been the top contributor for Tufts. He led the Jumbos at the Bates Invitational with an 11th-place finish. Senior Tate Knight (Bloomfield, Conn.) has been the leader for Wesleyan in all three races. He was the individual champion at the Wesleyan Invitational to open the season and placed seventh at the Little Three Championship.
The Williams women claimed their 15th title in program history after winning the NESCAC title for the second straight year in 2016. The Ephs return All-NESCAC performers and seniors Anna Harleen (Ross, Calif.) and Victoria Kingham (New York, N.Y.). Kingham, a 13th-place finisher at last year’s NESCAC Championships, was the top harrier for Williams in three races this season. She placed fifth at the Purple Valley Invitational, led the Ephs in the Gold Division race at the Paul Short Invitational, and was runner-up at the Little Three Championship. Harleen, who finished fifth at the 2016 NESCAC Championship, finished as runner-up at the McGill Invitational to pace the Ephs.
The Ephs will need to get past Bates, Middlebury and Tufts if they want to win their third straight NESCAC Championship. Bates looks to build on its third-place finish at the 2016 NESCAC Championship, the best showing for the Bobcats since 1987. Senior Katherine Cook (South Burlington, Vt.), an All-NESCAC Second Team honoree last year, and sophomore Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) have been the top Bobcats in every race this fall. Cook won the Bates/Colby Sophomore/Senior Class Race and took first place at the Bates and Saratoga Invitationals, as well as the Maine State Championship. LaMarche has been the right on Cook’s heels all season with runner-up finishes.
Junior Abigail Nadler (Chicago, Ill.), last year’s winner, returns to the lineup for Middlebury as the Panthers seek their first title since 2014. She has helped the Panthers win four races this fall. She won the Aldrich Invitational and was fourth at the Connecticut College Invitational. Junior Katherine MacCary (Los Angeles, Calif.) has also been among the top runners for Middlebury, as she paced the Panthers at the Purple Valley Invitational and in the Gold Division race at the Paul Short Invitational.
Senior Brittany Bowman (Camden, Maine) and junior Natalie Bettez (Bolton, Mass.), both All-NESCAC First Team selections last year, have finished 1-2 for Tufts this season. The Jumbos opened the year with a victory at the Bates Invitational and were runners-up at the Connecticut College Invitational. Bowman, who finished seventh at last year’s NESCAC Championships, was the runner-up at Bates and Bettez, last year’s NESCAC runner-up, followed in third place. The duo put together a repeat performance at Connecticut College with Bowman finishing second and Bettez placing third.
The individual medalist in the women’s race has been a runner from either Amherst, Middlebury or Williams over the last six years. Sophomore Kristen Ratliff (Cooperstown, N.Y.) and senior Nicky Roberts (North Reading, Mass.) of Amherst are two runners vying for individual honors. Ratliff was runner-up at the Smith Invitational to lead the Mammoths to a victory, while Roberts won the Brown Division race at the Paul Short Invitational and captured the Little Three title. Other individuals contending for title include senior and All-NESCAC First Team honoree Sarah Kelley (Winnetka, Ill.) of Bowdoin and Colby senior Caitlin Lawlor (Concord, Mass.). Kelley led the Polar Bears to consecutive wins at their own invitationals to start the year and finished third at the Maine State Championship. Lawlor, an All-NESCAC Second Team selection in 2016, paced Colby to a second-place finish at the Keene State Invitational. First-year Meredith Cronin (Foxboro, Mass.) has led Connecticut College in the final three races leading up to the NESCAC Championships. Hamilton senior Hanna Jerome (Englewood, N.J.) captured first place at the Hamilton Invitational to lead the Continentals to victory. Trinity senior Briana Daley (Oak Park, Ill.) has been the leader for the Bantams in four of their five races. She was third at the Trinity Invitational and finished fifth at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational and the James Earley Invitational. First-year Becky Lopez-Anido (Orono, Maine) and junior Julia Mitchell (Bellevue, Wash.) have paced Wesleyan, as both have finished first or second for the Cardinals in every race this fall. In the season-opening Wesleyan Invitational Mitchell won the event, while Lopez-Anido was fifth in the White Division race at the Paul Short Invitational and led the Cardinals at the Little Three Championship.
Results will be available at NESCAC.com on Saturday evening.