October 28, 2006

The rain came down relentlessly, the wind blew constantly with gusts up to 30 mph and the course was mostly underwater, and where it wasn't it was deep with mud.  Other than slower times, there was no indication that any of this affected the MIT men's cross country team. Executing their plan to perfection, the harriers claimed six of the top ten spots in winning their ninth consecutive NEWMAC Championship at Mt. Holyoke College's home course with 26 points to runner-up Coast Guard's 63 points.

Jake Ruzevick led the Engineers with his second place performance in 27:02.  Joe Roy-Mayhew and Johannes Schneider finished fourth and fifth respectively with times of 27:19 and 27:22.  Schneider also claimed Rookie of the Year honors for finishing as the top freshman.  Rounding out the scoring for Tech were Kevin Brulois (27:26) and Jack Bourbonnais (27:41) finishing seventh and eighth respectively.  Also earning All NEWMAC honors were Trevor Rundell in 10th, Chris Bruce in 12th and Chris Wong finishing 14th.  MIT's top five delta of :39 in such poor conditions was a superb effort and showed they are ready for the NCAA regional qualifiers being held at Springfield College in two weeks.

Ruzevick is seeking to qualify individually for the NCAA Championship and the team is looking to claim one of the two automatic positions to come out of the New England region.

The women were favored to win, but running without injured number two runner, Jacqui Wentz and number five runner, Rachel Niehuus combined with competing but ailing runners, Jennifer Doyle (number three) and Elizabeth Finn (number four), lessened the favorites role considerably.  Nevertheless, a normal racing performance would have provided a much closer race than what transpired as MIT runners got off the line in poor position, did not move up much in the first mile and only three runners passed more than three people from mile one to the finish of the 5K race.

The engineers finished in fourth place with 82 points to the victorious Coast Guard team with 54 points, runner-up Wellesley with 66 points and third place Smith College with 77 points.

Led by freshman sensation, Maria Monks, who took the lead at a mile and a half, expanded that lead to five seconds over the next mile and then fell down the final muddy hill when she ran too conservatively on the slippery surface, settling for fifth place in 20:08.  Hana Adaniya ran a solid race, passing seven runners in the final two miles to finish eighth in 20:22.  Finn and Doyle lost a little ground in the final two miles finishing 20th and 24th respectively.  Closing out the scoring was Erika Erickson in 25th, passing 12 runners in the final two miles for her best paced race of the season.

When Monks fell on the final hill she injured her back.  Nevertheless the talented freshman hopes to qualify individually for the NCAA Championship.  The team has an outside chance at one of the possible five automatic and at-large berths awarded to the region but they will need to be better prepared in their own minds as well as by their coach, Halston Taylor.