Men fifth, women seventh at Williamstown

24 schools journeyed to Williamstown, Massachusetts on Saturday for the annual Division III Purple Valley Classic hosted by Williams College. The men’s nationally ranked No. 19 team and the women’s nationally ranked No. 11 team attended, placing fifth with 112 points and seventh overall, respectively. Runners from the men’s and women’s teams at the State University of New York Geneseo both helped their teams to first place overall with 48 points and 65 points respectively.

Third place senior Ben Fazio led Rensselaer in the 8000 meter race, crossing in 25:28.9 with an average mile pace of 5:08. Three spots behind him in sixth was sophomore Grant O’Connor, who finished in a time of 25:36.0. Isaac Garcia-Cassani of SUNY Geneseo won the event in 25:24.9.

Last fall, the Engineers earned a bid to nationals after their performance at the Liberty League Championship Meet, and Fazio hopes to compete again at nationals this year.

“Winning a Liberty League title and securing a chance to compete on the national stage would be the ultimate measure of success for this season, and would mean the realization of a goal that’s been four years in the making for many of us,” said Fazio. “We’re a very good team already, but we have a lot of work to do in the next two months to reach those goals.”

Sophomore Sean O’Connor finished in 26th in 26:12.3. Senior Garrett Davis was next in 33rd in 26:26.5, then senior Brian Crowley in 49th in 26:46.3.

With an average mile time of 6:03, junior Jaime Lord crossed the line in 22:33.3 in 10th place. Sophomore Karina Bolton charged ahead to finish in 23rd with a time of 22:59.2. Next for RPI was senior Maddie Dery in 40th in 23:19.7. MIT athlete Megan McCandless finished in first place with a time of 21:58.2.

Hosting the Saratoga Invitational this Saturday, the Engineers will begin racing at 11 am at Saratoga State Park. The Liberty League Championship is one month away.