September 4, 2004

The 2004 cross country season opened Saturday with the annual alumni meet at Franklin Park. Despite a large turnout from the "Has Beens" and the benefit of age graded scoring, the varsity proved superior on this particular day, winning the meet with a 22-40 score. Sean Nolan, '02, led the way with an individual victory and a time of 25:47 on a windy but cool 70 degree day.

The race time temperature dropped over 10 degrees in the hour before the start, making for near ideal early season conditions. The Varsity followed the race plan for a well paced but conservative start and the Alumni followed, patient to let the youngsters do the work. The Varsity proved to be too strong as they pulled away and opened a large gap after two miles. Terry McNatt '87 and Craig Wildman '02 kept pace at the rear of the second pack but were not threatening the top five. Up front, Erik Khatchadourian and Nolan were doing battle with Khatchadourian opening up a small lead in the second mile.

At the end of the third mile, Nolan took the lead for good and began accelerating for the final two miles. McNatt and Wildman trailed the varsity's seventh man. Bob Collins, '82, trailed Varsity's tenth man but would gain significant time with the age grading system. Ethan Crain '95, Brian Anderson '04, Bob Zak '84, Sumner Brown '66, Liyan Guo '01, John Biesiadecki '02 and Jeff Lucas '82, running near the rear of the race, were game competitors but were fighting age and the ability to train successfully years after college.

Things changed very little in the final two miles. Nolan won by :19 over Khatchadourian and the varsity put in seven runners in :43. Sumner Brown, 60 years young, benefitted nearly six minutes from the age graded scoring, placing fifth overall. Bob Collins placed ninth overall, gaining almost a minute on his original time of 27:45. McNatt finished 11th overall just ahead of teammate Wildman to round out the Alumni scoring. Even though the scoring seemed lopsided, the fact that the Alumni placed five runners among the top twelve overall shows how hard these guys continue to train.

Next week, MIT travels to Troy, NY to RPI, the host of the annual Engineer's Cup.