SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

September 20, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Hale making immediate impact running at Williams

Peter Hale wasted no time making an impact at Williams College.

In the first cross country meet of the season, the Ephs traveled to Canada to compete against both college and club teams in the McGill Invitational. Hale, a freshman from Swampscott, finished with the same time (19:12) as his All-American teammate, last Saturday as the duo placed sixth and seventh, respectively, on the hilly 6K course through Mount Royal Park in Montreal.

Williams had 13 runners in the top 37 finishers and bested 22 other teams. Williams and Laval University from Quebec City each had 43 points, but the Ephs were declared the winner because they were the first team to have six runners cross the finish line. (In Canada that’s how a winner is determined).

“I was definitely excited to start my college career and felt the race went extremely well,” said Hale, who starred at Swampscott High. “The six kilometer course was nestled in the heart of Montreal, which reminded me of racing at Franklin Park in high school.

“Coming into the race coach (Pete) Farwell told us to pack up and run conservatively until the third and final loop of the course, which played to my usual ‘sit and kick’ strategy. Despite never running anything longer than a 5K, I felt strong over the extra 1,000 meters and kicked into high gear to meet our captain (Lee) with half-a-minute to go. Our front four runners held tight with a seven-second separation.”

Hale and the Ephs will now get ready for the 17-team Purple Valley Classic at Mount Greylock next Saturday. Williams has high hopes this season after being fourth at the NCAA Regional and 12th at nationals a year ago.

“The results from the McGill look promising and I am excited about the team’s potential this season, both within the NESCAC and on a national level,” said Hale. “I’m slowing learning to work as part of a pack and becoming comfortable with the fact that need to prove myself as a runner all over again. It’s actually quite relieving to come into races without a target on my back.”

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