HADLEY, Mass. – Bowdoin will host the 2012 NESCAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Brunswick, Maine. The 30th annual meet will kick off with the men's 8-kilometer race at 11:00 a.m. and conclude with the women's 6-kilometer competition at 12:00 p.m.
On the men's side, Williams will be looking to pick up its 14th overall title, second consecutive and third in four years. The Ephs will be without a trio of All-Conference selections from a year ago but return two Second Teamers in senior Wade Davis (Hallowell, Maine) and junior Chris Lee (Longmeadow, Mass.). Lee's first place showing at the Little Three Championship helped his squad secure top honors for the 25th straight time. As a team, Williams has come out on top four times this fall.
Bates will be looking for its sixth NESCAC title and first since 1989 after a breakthrough fall in which it has won all five of its meets. Junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) earned All-NESCAC First Team honors a year ago and has been leading the Bobcats again this year. Hannan, junior Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) and senior Ken Whitney all have a first place finishes to their credit, while senior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) has placed in the top 10 four times. Wortham earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors in 2011.
Host Bowdoin will look to contend for its fourth NESCAC men's title since finishing at the top of the conference in both 2001 and 2002. Junior Sam Seekins (South China, Maine) has two first place finishes this fall, while classmate Coby Horowitz (Stow, Mass.) crossed the line sixth at the New England Championships. Horowitz was runner up at the 2011 NESCAC Championship, and his finish at the New England Championships was the best for a Polar Bear since 1981.
Tufts is also in search of its fourth NESCAC victory and first since three consecutive titles from 2003-05. Senior Matt Rand (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), who was third at last year's NESCAC Championship, has been pacing the Jumbos all fall. Other strong contributions have come from classmates Kyle Marks (Carmel, Ind.) and Tyler Andrews (Concord, Mass.), as well as juniors Jake McCauley (Darien, Conn.) and Ben Wallis (Dover, N.H.). Wallis clocked the fastest time at the Purple Valley Classic.
Middlebury will look to be back on top after winning its first title in 2010. After earning Second Team All-NESCAC in 2011, senior Jack Davies (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) has won three races for the Panthers this fall. In the process, he helped his team to first place honors at all three competitions. Junior Nate Sans (Princeton, Mass.) earned a first place finish at the State Meet, and senior Patrick Hebble (Sudbury, Mass.) clocked the team's fastest time at the Purple Valley Classic.
The individual title could be tightly contested, with Connecticut College junior Michael Leduc (Canton, Conn.) and Wesleyan seniors Skyler Cummins (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Bryan Marsh (West Hartford, Conn.) all running well. Cummins earned All-NESCAC honors in 2011, and Marsh was a 2011 All-American. He earned a second place finish at the Little Three Championship just over a week ago.
Williams will also be looking to defend its women's title after winning outright for the first time since 2005 last fall. The Ephs will have aspirations of claiming their 13th NESCAC championship due in large part to the return of three All-Conference performers in senior Celeste Berg (Sebastopol, Calif.), junior Shayna Barbash (Bethesda, Md.) and sophomore Anna Spiers (Chester, Va.). Spiers earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors a year ago. Junior Brianne Mirecki (East Lyme, Conn.) and sophomore Adrienne Strait (Oakland, Calif.) had identical times of 22:54 to lead the Ephs to the title in front of their home crowd at the Purple Valley Invitational. Meanwhile, sophomore Alison Smith (Chapel Hill, N.C.) finished second overall to propel the team to their fifth Little Three title in a row.
While Williams will be looking to defend, Amherst will be looking for its first women's crown since earning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. Senior Keri Lambert (Amherst, Mass.) has paced the Jeffs all season, including consecutive titles at Westfield State's James Earley Invitational (21:30) and the Little Three Championship (18:21). Lambert finished second at last year's Championship. Sophomore Lizzy Briskin (Sherborn, Mass.) has two top 10 finishes in 2012.
Senior Addie Tousley (Kensington, Md.) and Middlebury will look to earn their 10th conference crown in the last 15 years after finishing 2010 with the lowest point total (26) for any squad at the annual event since official team scoring began in 1983. Tousley finished last year's race third and earned first place finishes at the Aldrich Invitational (18:13) and the Purple Valley Classic (21:50) this fall. Without three All-Conference selections from a year ago, Tousley will be joined by junior Emily Attwood (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), who earned a spot on the Second Team last fall. Eleven other runners have at least one top-10 finish in Middlebury's six races this fall.
Colby senior Berol Dewdney (Chester, Vt.) earned First Team honors in 2011 and has been running well this season, while Wesleyan senior Julia Mark (Bloomsbury, N.J.) has led her team all fall. Junior Gabrielle Naranja (Fort Kent, Maine) boosted Bates to it first Maine State title since 1990 and will look to challenge the top runners in the field.
A pair of Bowdoin runners have enjoyed excellent fall seasons and will look to compete for a spot among the leaders of Saturday's women's race. Madelena Rizzo (Ardmore, Pa.) finished in fourth place at the Maine State Meet in Bowdoin's last outing while Olivia MacKenzie (Buxton, Maine) was right behind in fifth place. The duo have been Bowdoin's top two finishers in each of their three meets this season, including a similar 2-3 finish as the Polar Bears took a runner-up showing at the Wesleyan Invitational on September 22.
Results from the NESCAC Cross Country Championships will be available on Saturday afternoon on the Bowdoin website and at www.nescac.com.