BRUNSWICK, MAINE -- In what has been a generally successful season, the MIT Engineers Men's Cross-Country team produced their first poor outing in a loss to both Bowdoin and Bates in the 1st Bowdoin Invitational last Saturday. The host school used excellent grouping to capture the win with 34 points. Their fifth man was a mere 32 seconds behind their first. Bates captured second, behind the first-place finish of rebounding sophomore Matt Twiest. Their 48 point just edged out MIT's total of 50.

The setback should have dire effects on MIT's local and national rankings, potentially dropping the Beavers from their #6 spot in New England, and possibly sliding them off the list from their #23 national ranking.

"We worked hard through this week," offered interim head coach Dick MacKenzie, " and I knew that would take some of the snap out of their legs. I didn't think it would take quite this much, though. There are some meets you train through, and some you focus on: this one we trained through. And with two solid opponents like this, we ended up taking some lumps."

Junior co-captain Mike Parkins produced one of the best efforts of the day, barely losing to Twiest by four seconds (15:32). Parkins, with sophomore teammate Chris McGuire on his shoulder, set an aggressive pace with a 4:54 opening mile on the rain-softened turf. Twiest made a big move and took the lead just before the 2-mile post, which they reached in 10:01. Parkins stayed on the Bates' runner's back into the final 600-yard straightaway, but was unable to find the extra gear to overhaul him.

McGuire followed in third for most of the race, but was reeled in shortly before the line by Bowdoin's Mike Peyton, and had to settle for fourth (15:36).

Senior Sohail Husain also produced a strong race, claiming the #3-Man slot for the first time this year, and finishing 12th in 16:11. Senior co-captain Rich Rosalez was close behind in 15th in 16:15, and freshman Mark Strauss closed out the scoring in 17th with a 16:18 clocking.

Sophomore Frank Johnston fortified his hold on the #6-Man spot by running a smart and patient race, moving up through the field to finish 19th in 16:28. Freshmen Liyan Guo (16:32) and Phil Loiselle (16:35) followed close behind in 21st and 22nd. Also in the hunt for the top seven were sophomore Ray Molnar (26th, 16:43), and ever-improving freshman Ken Walker (27th, 16:48).

For the season thus far, the Engineers have run up an overall record of 49-22, including all opponents in all races.

Daylight Savings Time is over, and that means that Championship Season is upon us. The Beavers return to Worcester Polytechnic Institute -- the scene of their Engineers' Cup triumph six weeks ago -- this Saturday to compete in the Constitution Athletic Conference Championship Meet. Prime opposition is expected to come from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, whose team has looked solid each week.

Also in the Conference are: Babson, Clark, Norwich, Springfield, Western New England, and the host school WPI.

MIT won this meet last year with 30 points, outscoring both Coast Guard and Springfield, who tied for second with 55. Arnold Seto won the race to earn Runner of the Year honors, with Chris McGuire garnering Rookie of the Year laurels.

In 1995, the meet was a barn-burner, with MIT prevailing over Coast Guard by a solitary point, 39-40. Ethan Crain's took the individual win in the slick mud, but it was then-freshman Mike Parkins' 1-second edge of Coast Guard's 3rd man, that was the difference.

Since CAC was formed in 1990, MIT has claimed the Team Title all but once (3rd, in 1990), and Coast Guard has been second all but once (1st, in 1990).

The race is at Institute Park, adjacent to the WPI campus, and the gun fires at 11:00.