Most Recent Meet
NCAA National Championships - November 20th
The team headed out to Waverly, Iowa to run at the National Championships on Wartburg College's course. The women's team qualified for the meet while Will Yochum qualified as an individual, and all got a good look at the course during their runs on Thursday - a very flat grass course that combined a major loop on the perimeter that the women did once while Will would do twice, and an inner loop that was done by both two times. There are not a lot of courses in New England that have nothing in the way of hills and run as quick as this one would, and the prospect of fast times were definitely real. At race time, the temperatures hovered around the freezing mark with a chilly wind that would lower those even further but the thousands of crazy fans lining the course would help to provide a buffer form the wind. The men's race got the day started, and Will went through the first mile just under 5 minutes and found himself in around 45th place and than moved up to about 30th by the 2nd mile, maintaining the pace. At the three mile mark, there was still a big pack and Will was about 30th, going through 3m in 15:00 - about 10 seconds off the front group. The race started to pick up a lot shortly after that and things got strung out, and after falling back to about 45th shortly after the 4m mark, Will struggled in the final mile but was still able to finish in 25:20 and finishes as the only male runner in Amherst history to run at NCAA's all four of his years.
The women got started at 12:00, and after an initial recall due to a group of fallen runners, the race went off again - unfortunately when Angie went down in a pile of runners, the race continued. Ali got out like a shot, and was in the main group at the front while Melissa was a few seconds off that main pack but out quickly. Eliza, Tori, Christina and Hallie were strung out about equidistance from each other while Angie was valiantly trying to move up through the ranks despite a badly banged up knee from her fall. The mile was hit in roughly 5:35 at the front for Ali and a about 5 seconds back to Melissa while the rest went through closer to 6:00 minutes. The race broke up shortly after as a group of four runners opened up, while Ali was in the chase pack with Sully running around 35 or so. After they did the outer perimeter and came back into the inner loop for the 2nd time, Ali was battling a group of runners who were in the mid-teens placing wise, while Sully was right on the fringes of All-American placing (Top 35). Tori and Liza were working well together and had opened up a gap on Hallie and Christina as all were racing very well with less then a mile to go. At approximately 400m to go, after they had crossed back from the main part of the course and were now headed into the final stretch, Ali was in 17th with a small gap to the closest two runners and a bigger gap to those in the Top 15 but threw down a huge kick that carried her all the way to a 12th place finish in 21:28 and earned the sophomore her first (of many to come) All-American honor. Sully came up just shy of All-American as she placed 38th, but had a super race and would be 22nd in the scoring race (individuals not on teams are removed from the scoring), and the great 1-2 finish would help the team in the standing. Tori, competing in her first National Championship had another great race as she placed 3rd for the team, running 22:28 - just missing breaking the century mark as she placed 105, while Liza would come in 9 seconds behind her, placing 128th. Hallie would close up the scoring for the team as she cam across the line in 22:49 to finish 155th overall, and 108th with the scoring, while fellow senior captain Christina would run 23:01 and Angie - despite the fall and nagging knee pain, would come across in 23:12. The team had come in ranked 10th nationally - moving up from the high teens where they had been for the majority of the season - and when the scores were posted, they moved up to 8th in the standings (their best finish since winning the Title in 2007). With the top four runners all returning for next year, along with Angie - combined with a couple of other runners who have some National experience, and looking to build on this success throughout the year, the team will be looking to come back even stronger next year at the NCAA's and shoot for a podium finish. For now, a small break from training before a return to focusing on the indoor season.