Going into the 2017 cross country season, the Williams men’s cross country team had held a 29-year winning streak at the Little Three Championships meet. However, the 2017 iteration of the Mammoths was the best in school history, and they defeated the Ephs at Little Threes, won its first NESCAC Championship and placed fourth at the Division III National Cross Country Championships.
The Mammoths look poised for a great season after this weekend’s win over the Ephs at the 2018 edition of the Little Three Championships, defeating Williams 32-27 at home in the Pioneer Valley.
The 6k course took harriers across Amherst’s baseball and soccer fields, then out on the cinder road leading to the Book & Plow farm and later to the rolling hills of the Bird Sanctuary.
While Aidan Ryan of Williams opened up a large lead at the start of the race, the Mammoths trio of Cosmo Brossy ’19, Clark Ricciardelli ’20E and Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 worked together to close the gap.
Behind these three, a larger pack of Mammoths gritted their teeth to pass a deep pack of Ephs to win the meet.
Unfortunately, Ryan’s lead proved to be too much, as Ricciardelli was unable to catch him, crossing the line in second place, just two seconds behind Ryan.
However, the Mammoths front running was critical, as Brossy, last year’s Little Three individual champion, was only two seconds behind Ricciardelli in third, and Ferguson-Dryden followed in fourth.
“I think everyone showed their strength after a summer of hard work and the past couple weeks of training on campus,” said Ferguson-Dryden.
Tucker Meijer ’19 crossed the line for the Mammoths in fifth, ahead of a strong pack of Williams runners. Needing a fifth runner to seal victory, Matthew Bradley ’22 stepped up in his first race as a Mammoth and crossed the line in 12th place to clinch Amherst’s second straight title.
Just 10 seconds behind Bradley in 16th place was transfer Ajay Sarathy ’21, who arrived to Amherst from the University of Pennsylvania. Sarathy was the team’s sixth runner across the line, and Kristian Sogaard ’19, a middle-distance track specialist, was the team’s seventh runner, finishing in 18th place.
“Lining up for the team as a Mammoth was definitely a great experience,” Sarathy said. “When it got really rough, it helped having Kristian and Matthew with me to help keep moving.”
Beyond the team’s top seven runners, sophomores Braxton Schuldt and Jamie Mazzola worked together throughout the race to finish 22nd and 23rd, respectively, while Jack Malague ’19 was right behind the sophomore duo in 24th.
Majd Rouhana ’22 ran a well-executed race, as he slowly picked off runners to finish 38th. Also making his Amherst debut was first-year Lev Robertson, who placed 58th.
The team will take the upcoming weekend off from racing to train in preparation for two big races in the following weeks, the Williams Purple Valley Invitational and the Paul Short Run. In both races, the Mammoths will face top Division III teams and will look to defend and potentially improve upon their national ranking of No. 2 among Division III schools.