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Men’s cross country finishes seventh at Nationals

Jumbos post third best finish on record as Gould places 68th for women

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:11

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Daily File Photo

Senior co-captain Matt Rand struggled at the NCAA Championships after battling an illness, but still managed to finish in 48th place.

The men’s cross country team traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. this weekend for the National Championship, arriving with high expectations after what has been one of their most successful seasons on record.

The team finished in seventh place with 265 points — the third highest finish ever for Tufts, but a bit of a let down after being seeded fifth in the country back in October.

“I thought the team did really well,” coach Ethan Barron said. “Our goal and our hope was the podium, but there are 10 to 15 teams every year that can finish in the top four. If you have the third−best finish in school history, you’re hard−pressed to be overly disappointed.”

Tufts finished five points behind Bates, who posted 259 points, and well behind first−place finisher North Central, who ended up with 167. The Jumbos edged out New England Regional champion Middlebury by 21 points on the strength of the back of their pack.

And with many runners battling sickness in the week leading up to the Championships, senior Kyle Marks estimates that only a few runners performed to their potential.

Marks was one of the few Tufts runners who was able to stick to his race plan. Starting off steadily in 50th place for the first mile, he quickly moved up through the pack with junior Ben Wallis. Marks was the first runner to finish for Tufts with a time of 25:06.8, earning him 37th place individually and 26 points in the team competition.

Marks narrowly missed qualifying for All−American honors, which are awarded to runners who finish in the top 35 spots.

Senior co−captain Matt Rand, also a contributing writer for the Daily, was disappointed with his performance, which he felt was affected by sickness in the week leading up to the race.

He was seeded first for Tufts going into the race and was working to best last year’s 19th−place finish.

Rand executed his game plan for the first mile, but began feeling sick shortly afterwards.He hung tough for the rest of the race and finished in 48th place, earning 34 points for the team.

“I could tell early on that my body wasn’t there, so I just tried to hang on as best I could,” he said. “I shifted into survival mode.”

Rand was the second finisher for the Tufts team and was followed by junior Andrew Shapero with 63 points, Wallis two seconds behind with 68 points and senior Tyler Andrews capping it off with 74 points.

Juniors Brian McLaughlin and Jack McCauley also competed, but only the top five finishers are tallied into the group score.

Shapero ran a strong race and moved up 31 places from his performance last year at Nationals, and Wallis moved up 67 places. Even for those runners who did not perform at the same level as they had previously in the season, Barron stressed that everyone gave it their all.

“Everybody raced hard,” he said. “At no point in the race was I disappointed in where the guys took themselves.”

Marks believes that this has been a successful season for the cross country team and that the team has risen to a new level.

“The consistent dedication from the beginning of the summer onward on the part of every member made it so that the top seven were probably the best that Tufts has ever had,” he said.

In addition to the seven runners from the men side, freshman Audrey Gould also travelled to Indiana after qualifying individually.

Gould came in 68th place in a field of almost 300 runners, just short of her tentative goal of placing in the top 60.

The women’s team was just shy of making into the Championship, but Gould hopes to return next year with the whole squad and improve on her individual performance.

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