Oct. 28, 2005
Bronx, NY - The men's cross country team took third place this weekend at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. While the men had hoped to vie for a piece of the title, an outstanding Dartmouth squad outpaced Brown, taking 30 points to the Bears' 90. Princeton also had a top showing, placing second with 47.
"I could not be more pleased," said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Craig Lake. "We were beaten by two very good teams that will be competitive at Nationals. And despite graduating our top two men (from last season), we still improved."
Though the Bears knew the team race would be a hard-fought battle, the men also stood on the line with the hopes of bringing individual All-Ivy honors home to Providence.
Captain Owen Washburn '06 did not disappoint, finishing second overall, and his time of 24:38 ranks him second all-time on the Van Cortlandt course for Brown. Also finishing with All-Ivy honors was Chris Burke '07, who made the second team with his eighth-place 24:54 effort.
"Owen and Chris were consistent as always," Lake said. "They came through for their team in a clutch situation."
Washburn and Burke planned from the gun to keep the top men of the Ancient Eight within striking distance. However, they could not have anticipated that when they approached the mile mark that the entire race would still be grouped together. It was not until the men went into the hilly portion of the course that the mass of runners began to string out.
"While I was surprised Dartmouth didn't go out harder, it didn't change the game plan," Washburn said. "We were going to run our own race no matter what."
The lead pack was dominated with runners from Dartmouth, as the Big Green put five men at the front of the race. Washburn, Burke and the leaders from other schools moved with the green jerseys and before the three-mile mark had established themselves ahead of the rest of the race.
Coming back onto the field and back into the sight of spectators, Washburn, Ben True of Dartmouth and Frank Macreery of Princeton battled down the final straightaway. Though Washburn led most of the stretch, True broke away in the final seconds to take the win. Washburn's finish was a personal best by 36 seconds, and an improvement from last year's Heps by 22 places.
Burke never lost sight of the leaders, crossing the line with a 36-second improvement in his personal-best time to better his finish from last year by 14 spots.
"By the mile we had the confidence that we were exactly where we needed to be," Burke said. "I knew I was working hard in the middle."
Not far behind Burke was Neil Hamel '07, who continued his impressive season of breakthrough races. Hamel raced to a time of 25:22, good for 19th overall, and his highest finish for the Bears this season.
"Neil really gave it his all," Lake said. "He left nothing in the tank."
Hamel went into the woods relaxed and amid the Brown pack, but when he was two miles into the race, he realized he was the Bears' third man and began to hunt other harriers.
"I just kept repeating 'relax and go' to myself," Hamel said. "I dug down as deep as I could and it was the most beautifully painful experience of my entire life."
Also pulling through with a surprise performance was Ari Zamir '08, who finished fourth for Brown. He crossed the line at 25:30, good for 26th overall.
"I knew I just had to try and stick with Hamel," Zamir said. "We had to go after one guy at a time. It was hard to be nervous with the confidence of your teammates all around you."
Jordan Kinley '06 finished his Heptagonal career in scoring position, serving as Brown's fifth man, taking 39th in 25:46. While Kinley completed his last cross Heps, others were enjoying the success of their first. Stephen Chaloner '09, finishing his first Heps, was not far behind, finishing seventh for Brown and 46th overall in 25:57.
"There's just so much spirit behind the Heps," Chaloner said. "The Ivy League is so competitive within itself."
While the men closed the book on this season's Heptagonals, the Bears will still face stiff Ivy competition at the NCAA Northeast Regionals in two weeks. On Nov. 12, the men travel to Boston to take on the best of the East and will look to extend their season to the NCAA Championships.
--Jilane Rodgers of the Brown Daily Herald
2005 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships-Men's Team Results
2. Owen Washburn 24:38
8. Chris Burke 24:54
19. Neil Hamel 25:22
26. Ari Zamir 25:30
39. Jordan Kinley 25:46
41. Eamon Quick 25:51
46. Stephen Chaloner 25:57
52. Ozzie Myers 26:02
54. Nick Neely 26:06
63. Ryan Graddy 26:19
67. Brian Schmidt 26:25
79. Tushar Gurjal 26:55