Around the Horn: Cross-Country and Football rundown

This past Saturday, the Colby men and women’s cross-country team finished their seasons strong at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Cross Country Championships at the University of Southern Maine. It was also a big week for Colby football, as they pulled out a win against NESCAC rival Bowdoin on Saturday.

At the Division III New England Region Cross Country Championships, Colby had two runners place in the top 100 in a field of 370 runners on the men’s side. Bernard Kibet ’18 took 63rd with a time of 26 minutes, 31.8 seconds on the 8 km (4.97 miles) course. Fellow Mule Emmanuel Cheruiyot ’21 was close behind in 69th place with a time of 26 minutes 41.1 seconds. Cheruiyot was sixth overall among all first-year runners. Noel Feeney ’18 was the third Colby runner to finish in coming 73rd in 26:45.8. Liam McDonough ’20 was 124th in 27:37 and Josiah Johnson ’19 took 132nd in 27:43.4.

The Colby women’s cross-country team had an impressive outing at the same meet, placing seventh overall out of 56 total teams. Caitlin Lawlor ’18 earned All-New England honors by placing 12th overall out of 393 runners after taking 17th place as a junior. All-NESCAC first team Lawlor clocked in a time of 21 minutes, 29.6 seconds on the 6 km (3.73 mile) course. Hannah Springhorn ’19 and Sophia Gorman ’21 both had top-50 finishes for the Mules with times of 22:23.9 and 22:26.9, earning 42nd and 47th places, respectively. Gorman was ninth overall among first-year runners. Two more Colby athletes had top 100 finishes. Helen Chavey ’19 finished in 70th place in 22:53.9 with Whitney White ’21 close behind in 74th with a time of 23:01.9. Taylor Kennedy ’18 placed 125th in 23:42.6 and Hannah Southwick ’21 took 147th in 23:55.2 for the Mules.

On Sunday, the NCAA announced the 2017 Division Nationals III Men and Women’s Cross-Country Championships qualifiers. In addition to the 32 teams selected based on performances in their respective regional meets, 56 individuals from each region who were not members of automatically qualified teams were selected to participate in the championship. Lawlor was the lone Colby athlete chosen for the meet, which will be held at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois on Nov 18.

The Colby football team finished their season schedule with a huge win against Bowdoin College while on the road in Brunswick, Maine. Heading into the match up, both teams were 0-8 in NESCAC conference play. This was the 129th time the two teams had met, the third longest rivalry in Division III football history. Running back Jake Schwern ’19 had a stellar performance breaking or tying three school records in the game after running for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the 31-20 win. The record was previously held by Brian Cooley ’90, who had 247 yards rushed in the 1989 season against Bowdoin.

The Polar Bears jumped to an early 7-0 lead in the first half with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Bowdoin’s Noah Nelson to Nick Vailas. Colby made it 7-3 when John Baron ’18 made a 38-yard field goal with 4:23 left in the first quarter. Baron ’18 tied the school record of 20 career made field goals with the kick. After a Bowdoin 20 yard field goal in the second quarter, Colby special teams made several huge plays. Jibri Woods ’20 had a 44-yard kick off return to the Bowdoin 46-yard line. After a 13-yard completion from quarterback Jack O’Brien ’20 to Christian Sparacio ’18, Schwern had the first Colby touchdown on a 33-yard run to tie the game at 10-10. With 57 seconds left in the second quarter, Bowdoin scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Bryan Porter.

At the start of the second half, Bowdoin converted on a 23-yard field goal to extend their lead to 20-10, but the Colby defense held the Polar Bears to just three points in the second half with two interceptions from defensive back Will Caffey ’19, three sacks from defensive end Craig Strand ’18, and one fumble recovery from Harrison Vedrani ’21. The Mules scored 21 unanswered points, starting with a 34-yard scoring run from Schwern with 5:48 left in the third quarter. At the start of the final quarter, Schwern had another big play, rushing for 58 yards and scoring his third touchdown of the game. In the final scoring play of the game, Schwern made a one yard rush for a touchdown on a third down, giving Colby a 31-20 lead with 10:23 to go. Baron converted on all extra points for the Mules.

This  week’s game was the 50th Colby win against Bowdoin in the two teams’ long standing history.