Cross Country top ten at ECACs

The winding five-mile course through scenic Stanley Park in Westfield, Massachusetts proved to be no challenge for both the men’s and women’s cross country squads as both placed within the top ten at the ECAC Championships last Saturday.  The men, ranked sixth in the nation, captured fourth place in a field of 52 teams and were bumped from the podium by just six points. The women, ranked 28th in the nation, earned tenth place in a field of 57 teams.

The Colby men’s cross country team had all seven runners in the top 100, five of whom were in the top 50, two of those in the top 15. The Mules had breakthrough performances from their second seven including impressive finishes by Nathan Madeira ’17 and Noel Feeney ’18. Colby, like a number of teams in the field, was resting its top seven runners for next Saturday’s New England Division III Championships, the NCAA Qualifier, at Williams. Madeira crossed the finish line with a time of 26 minutes and five seconds to capture tenth place, while Feeney finished seven seconds behind with a time of 26 minutes and 12 seconds for 15th place. Both Madeira and Feeney were named to the All-ECAC team for their performances. Feeney was the third freshman to cross the finish line, an impressive feat in a field of over 300 runners from all years.

Down the home stretch, Feeney was able to use a quick burst of speed to outpace a pack of nine other runners, all of whom finished within three seconds of the first year. Feeney edged out a runner from Bates by .6 seconds and granted Colby fourth place, a position they would have lost to Bates if not for Feeney’s clutch performance. Bates ultimately ended in fifth place just six points behind the Mules.

Chase Brown ’16 took 22nd place for the Mules with a time of 26 minutes and 20 seconds, while Tom Barry ’17 captured 32nd with a 26 minute and 41 second run.

The women’s team had two runners in the top 50 in their competition. Also resting their top seven runners in preparation for the NCAA qualifier, the Mules had big performances by veteran runners Emily Harper ’15 and Shannon Oleynik ’16 who finished only five seconds apart. Harper impressively broke the 24-minute mark on the six-kilometer (3.75 miles) course, crossing the line in 23 minutes and 59 seconds to capture 46th place. Oleynik finished in 49th with a time of 24 minutes and four seconds.

Colby was one of only seven NESCAC teams to have top ten finishes by both their men and women’s squads. Colby will travel to Williamstown next Saturday to the course that rocketed them into the national spotlight. Earlier this season, the men’s side finished first and the women’s sixth at the Purple Valley Invitational, traditionally one of the most competitive meets in the country at the DIII level. Standouts David Chelimo ’17 and Alana McDonough ’16 will look to have top finishes for the Mules, as both teams look to return to the NCAA Division III Championships.