September 15, 2001

MIT went into the UMass/Dartmouth Invitational suspecting the poll ranking them 12th in the nation among Division III schools was a bit inflated. Not having proved that they have sufficient depth beyond the first five runners, nor that they had a delta low enough to beat the good teams, the Engineers wanted to see how good they really were.

They found out they were pretty good, displaying good team running as they finished with 60 points to Tufts 62 and 73 for Trinity College. Conn. College was 4th with 117 points.

The Jumbos from Tufts University, ranked 6th in the country were the pre-race favorites. Connecticut College, returning their complete top seven from last year, including two national qualifiers, went out as a pack in the first mile. Running a more conservative race, with the exception of Dan Feldman, who was with the leaders with a 4:53 first mile, was MIT. Sean Montgomery and Sean Nolan, coming through the mile in 5:03, were in about 40th position and were followed by Ben Schmeckpeper, Albert Liu and Craig Wildman in 5:07, moving up from their 60th position.

By mile two, Tech had moved up considerably, with Feldman having opened up a 50 meter lead. Nolan and Montgomery were now in the top 10 and the second group of MIT runners were in about 45th position. Brian Anderson had moved up in the top 80 and looked good.

Throughout the next two miles, MIT continued to establish their position. Feldman was now joined by Nolan for a 1-2 lead with Montgomery holding on at 6th position. Nolan had run a 4:44 4th mile and Feldman a 4:46. Schmeckpeper and Liu had reached the top 30 but seemed unable to move up any further. Wildman began to fade a little, but Anderson was still moving.

The last mile showed little change among the top runners. Feldman won with a 24:43 and Nolan finished 2nd with a 24:58. Montgomery closed well and finished with a 6th place finish in 25:15. Schmeckpeper and Liu dueled in the final straight with Schmeckpeper prevailing. Both had the time of 26:04 as they finished 25th and 26th respectively. Anderson ran a 4:57 final mile to pass many opposing runners and finish in 28th with a 26:08.

Both Tufts and Trinity College packed in runners between Montgomery and Schmeckpeper, making the final score too close for comfort. MIT had a 1:21 delta between runners 1-5 and 1:32 between 1-7, a significant improvement over the race two weeks ago.

In the second men's race, Bates College, thinking the varsity race was the second one on the schedule, had run their second team in the varsity race. Now, in the second race, their varsity was in an overwhelming lead. Justin Easter, who would have given Feldman a good race, won by over a minute. Running a superb race for MIT was freshman Greg Fonder who ran a 26:30 while placing 5th. With the exception of Bates' 1st team, MIT dominated the second race with 50 points.

MIT had 14 of their 16 runners produce all-time personal bests. The Engineers may not be good enough yet to be ranked 12th in the country, but they are close and getting closer.

Next week, MIT heads back to Franklin Park to race in the Codfish Bowl.