When asked to evaluate the start of his collegiate cross-country career, Coby Horowitz '14 answered sheepishly.

"I think I've done pretty well. The truth is, I've only run the 8K [the standard distance for cross-country races] in competition twice," he said.

The two occasions he was referring to were Bowdoin's season opening race at Pineland Farms in Maine, in which Horowitz placed fourth, and last weekend's Wesleyan Invitation, which Horowitz won. It was quite a start to a college career.

Horowitz won the Wesleyan Invitational with a time of 27:22.31, a full two seconds ahead of second place finisher and teammate Stan Berkow '11. The first year caught and passed Berkow on a challenging hill in the last mile of the race. Horowitz finished a full minute slower than his personal record in the 8k. Though excited about his own victory, Horowitz was more energized about the team's performance.

"Unlike track, which is a very individual sport, cross country is more about the team," he said. "In order for our team to win, everybody had to do well."

Hailing from Stow, Mass., Horowitz starred in the 5K for Nashoba Regional High School, winning the Massachusetts title twice and finishing second nationally as a senior.

"In high school I could jog a race and win," Horowitz said, "but now there's definitely a lot more competition."

In order to prepare for the more challenging college season, Horowitz trained in the summer for the first time. He pointed to his summer training sessions, as well as long-distance training at Bowdoin, as keys to his early success.

Coach Peter Slovenski commented on the talented first year.

Slovenski said Horowitz's transition from high school to college cross-country has been easy because Horowitz "has the best intuition and intelligence for racing."

Part of that intelligence, Slovenski added, comes from training; according to the coach, Horowitz knows just how hard to push himself in training so that he is prepared, but not exhausted.

Horowitz's biggest asset, though, may be his personality.

"Distance running requires a lot of physical talent, but it really pays off on character," Slovenski said. "Coby is an all-star when it comes to generosity, sacrifice and humility."

Both Slovenski and Horowitz anticipate an exciting and fast future. As good as Coby's been, Slovenski believes his first year will only improve with better training. Horowitz is confident in his ability as well.

"I've always finished the season strong, so I'm looking forward to the bigger meets at the end of the season," he said. "Hopefully I'll peak towards the end when I'm competing with the best."