2003 Season's Weekly Race Notes

 Season Depth Chart

Most recent meets first
Click on (Student Article) for school paper article
Amherst College Sports Information Re-caps

SID Season Preview , Student Season Preview and Carter Hamill Article

NCAA National Championships - Nov 22nd
For the first time in school history, both the men and the women traveled to the National Championships - or the men it was their first ever berth in the meet, while the women returned after a year's hiatus. Both teams qualified based on their 4th place showings at the District meet the weekend before, and entered the meet as the 6th (women) and 21st (men) ranked teams in the country. The temperatures were unseasonably warm, as it hit 70 degrees by race time, but the course was in great shape as the warmer weather had dried it up nicely. The women went off at 11:00, and things looked great through the first mile of the 6000m course as Carter and Shauneen immediately established themselves in amongst the Top Ten runners, with Aly Venti going out in around 25th, and then Erinn and Jenny running strongly in about 70th with Ginger and Helen looking strong behind them. Carter kept the pressure on through the entire race as she raced in 4th (the top New England finisher) place through the course and then used a strong kick down the straight-away to shake a Carroll College pursuer to hold onto 4th and her 9th All-American honor - her best finish yet at XC Nationals and tying the best ever finish for an Amherst runner - Rob Mitchell'99 finished 4th at Dickinson College in 1998. Shauneen ran between 10th and 18th through the middle miles but started moving up strongly within the last 400m and used a devastating kick to move from 15th into the 10th spot, an All-American finish which tied her (with Carter) for the 2nd best finish ever.  The front two certainly had their best races of the year, but it would not be enough to crack the Top Four. Aly Venti had a tough race as she would finish 70th overall, and finish 42nd in terms of scoring, in her first ever National Championship race. Erinn White, who made the trip as an alternate in 2001, got the chance to race this year and finished 4th for the team nearly cracking the top 100. Helen Dole had a big race for the team as she was able to finish 5th for us and close out the scoring. Two weeks ago she was slated to be the alternate but when one of the girls went down for the year, she stepped in and rose to the occasion. Jenny Horowitz and Ginger Polich rounded out the running with their first ever National races. Despite an overall "off day" from a team perspective, we were still able to grab 5th place with 225 points and improve upon our ranking coming in. The NESCAC was a force as Middlebury destroyed everyone with 135 points, Trinity finished 2nd with 174 points, Wisconsin Stevens Point was 3rd with 193 and Williams was 4th  - a meager 19 points away. While we will lose 3 of the girls to graduation next year, we have a good group returning and will look to build upon our experience to try and improve upon our finish next year.

The men went off at 12:00, and perhaps the desire and effort to make the trip to Nationals overshadowed the importance of doing well once there? It was a tough day for the men, though their 24th place  - unfortunately the dubious honor being the final scoring team - finish will not take anything away from their incredible season. Unlike the women, they were not assured one of the qualifying spots and had to focus on trying to get that last qualifying spot the weekend before, and that seemed to take a lot more out of them then we would have hoped. After a particularly tough race, it is often difficult to put into words what happened or try and explain what might have happened when you are not sure yourself. The guys are a very driven group, who fortunately also have a great sense of humor, so after digesting what happened and dealing with it as best as possible, we were all able to make light of the performance with some humor. "It is tough to finish first, but also it is tough to finish last, and we were able to do that" and "35 guys can get All-American honors but how many of them can be the last one across the line (excluding of course those who failed to finish)". The guys raced great all season long and were tough as nails the weekend before to get to the meet, and we are confident that they will build on this experience and be an even stronger team next season and will look to try and return and write a different ending. Matt Katz was the top finisher for the team, as he just missed cracking the top 100. Jack Morgan and Dave Molina raced with each other through the entire race, as they have done throughout the season. John Stanton-geddes, Brandt Tullis and Mike Page - with the gator nipping at his heels (again, laughter is sometimes the best medicine) rounded out the seven shaved headed Amherst runners who did what no other group of men at Amherst have been able to do - get the chance to race at the Nationals as a team. The last race for us this year may not have been the best, nor indicative of their full potential but it will certainly not take away from all of their accomplishments throughout the season.

NCAA Districts - Nov 15th
(Student Article , Player of the Week)
With a berth to the National Championships at stake, the teams knew the importance of the meet. The women needed to finish within the Top 5 teams, while the men had a smaller margin as they would need to finish in the Top 4. The women entered the meet ranked 2nd Nationally and, despite the loss of one of our scoring runners for the season, earning the trip to the big dance would be a comfortable one. The men on the other hand knew that they needed to have a great day as they would be in a battle for the final qualifying spot with Tufts, Keene St, Williams, MIT, Bates and Colby. With the wind-chill bringing the temps down into the 20's, and the footing a little wet in places, something was needed to warm things up a bit. The women got the day started, and a tight pack went to the lead in a comfortable pace with the Amherst Trio of Carter, Shauneen and Aly right in the mix. Sticking to the game plan on racing a little more relaxed then normal to conserve some energy for the NCAA, they were still able to finish very strong as Carter closed a huge gap in the last 1000m to grab the runner-up spot, while Shauneen and Aly finished 6-7th. Erinn White looked real strong in the first half of the race, as she was around 20th place, but faded in the middle of the race before rallying in the homestretch to grab 44th. Jenny Horowitz had a huge race, as she is quickly boosting her iron levels up after realizing that they ere well below what she needed, and she went out hard and finished great and could be a huge boost for our success at the NCAA's. Helen Dole and Ginger Polich raced well, and finished within seconds of each other. Taking a gamble on their making the big meet, and having it pay off, the team will now get into their full taper mode for this weekend's National Championship and try to challenge for the title.

The men have been close to making the trip to Nationals on a few occasions but have always come up short. This year's squad was determined to make the trip - the new black uniforms that they broke out for the meet, combined with the smoothly shaven heads, showed everyone that the meant business. The guys established themselves right from the gun and it was clearly going to be a tight team battle, especially for that sought after 4th spot. Looking at MIT and Bates as the primary competition for that spot, we tried to cover any of their moves. An MIT runner won the race though there was an official's error that took the lead runners off the course that allowed the MIT harrier to surge into a big lead which he would carry through the finish. Mike Page moved up through the race and cracked the Top 10 midway through the race and made sure that he was not going to lose that position. Matt Katz was determined to improve upon his 36th place finish from each of the last 2 years, had a bit of a bad race - according to him - but still finished strong in 22nd, earning All-New ENgland honors. Jack Morgan would finish 3rd for the team again, and finished in 34th (All-New England is Top 35) and had another very strong middle of the race to close down on two Bates runners and an MIT guy in the waning stages of the race. John Stanton-Geddes went out strong and then started to fade in the middle of the race but fortunately rallied strong when Dave Molina came up on him and together they worked the last mile hard and would prove to be essential. In the last 200m, the MIT 4 and 5 runners were ahead of Dave and Stang, but a strong move from Molina and Stang caught them both and pulled ahead, and then right at the line the 4th runner from MIT pulled back in front of both. Dave Schreiner battled with the Bates 5th runner, and Brandt Tullis rounded out the scoring for us. The waiting for the results was excruciating, as we knew that it was extremely tight with Halston Taylor's MIT team. The unofficial results came back, and by one point - a matter of kicking down or being out kicked - it was Amherst in the 4th spot, and the last ticket to the NCAA Championships. This will be the first ever for the men, and with both teams making the trip, there is a great deal of excitement for Saturday's race in Hanover, Indiana. With the knowledge that there is some room to improve upon, we are looking to trying to crack the Top 10 and hopefully bring another spot back to the region for next year.

ECAC's - Nov 8th
(Student Article)
Those who would be racing at the District Qualifying meet next week took this weekend off from racing to prepare for next week, and it gave others on the team one last chance to race to a fast time. For the first time this season for the majority of those competing, each runner directly factored into the scoring. Despite very chilly temperatures and blustery winds that made it feel even colder, the runners took advantage of good competition and tapering of their training to post their best times of the year on a very challenging Tufts course. The women, competing in their second 6000m course of the year, got things started and Helen Dole moved up quickly through the race and continued to pick off runner after runner. As she moved into the last 1/2 mile of the race, she moved into the Top 15 (All-ECAC territory) and would continue to mow down people as she cruised to a 12th place finish. Alison Rodriguez, still battling a nagging back injury, finished strong and ran just under her 6k time from earlier in the year. Annie McNamara, Katina Hubbard and Aparna Nancherla had outstanding races and improved upon their times from a few weeks ago by a huge margin to finish their seasons on a great note. As a team, we finished 9th with 294 points.

The men, like the women, took full advantage of the tapering and lighter workload and the results more then showed this. Cooper Knowlton led the men, as he had another solid outing as he ran to a time of 28:07 and cracked the races Top 30. Evan Guiney and Robert Boley finished a mere 3 seconds of each other, as both had clearly their best races of the season - both in time and effort. Rich Wilson was the next in line, finishing just under the 29 minute mark for the hilly 5 mile course and just off of his seasonal best set at the racetrack of Umass Dartmouth. Adam David, with the mustache blowing in the wind, kept hammering that pace and his efforts paid off as he raced to his fastest time of the year  - well under the 30 minute mark. Billy McNitt, clearly the most improved runner this fall, was looking for the last chance to break 30 minutes and he went after it with everything that he had, missing it by a mere 3 seconds. A little less wind, and who knows, but his efforts - both in practice and on meet day, have inspired everyone. John Babbott finished just off of Billy, and despite the leg and ankle fracture suffered late this summer, he was still able to recover well enough to get in some races at the end of the year and gain experience for next season.

NESCAC's - Nov 1st
(Student Article)
The teams headed north to Middlebury to compete in the NESCAC Championships, and to compare it to a mini Nationals or a preview of  the district qualifying meet in 2 weeks certainly would not have been an exaggeration. In the women's race, four of the Top 7 ranked teams in the country (Middlebury #1, Trinity #2, Williams #5 and Amherst #7) would battle for conference supremacy. As the runners came out of the woods, after about 1000m, Amherst showed everyone that they meant business as a the front running trio of Carter Hamill, Aly Venti and Shauneen Garrahan  pushed the pace and opened a gap on the entire field with only 2 other runners in tow. They kept the pressure on through the entire race, and by the time they entered the final stretch it was Carter and Shauneen battling Courtney Quirin of Wesleyan all the way to the line, with Shauneen becoming only the 2nd Amherst woman to win NESCAC, and Carter a few steps behind in 3rd, and they were joined by Aly soon after in 5th place. While the front three raced impressively, the true racing for the title was getting good as it was going to be resting on the shoulders of the rest of the team to close the gap. Erinn White came in 4th for the team, and 22nd overall, and then Margaret Davis came in a few seconds after in 33rd. Ginger Polich has a another great race to come in just behind Margaret, and Jenny Horowitz came through as the 7th runner. Helen Dole had another strong finish, and raced to her best Middlebury course time, and Alison Rodriguez, despite being plagued by a nagging back and hamstring injury, came in shortly after her with a solid effort. Annie McNamara and Aparna Nancherla each race strong over the challenging course to finish within seconds of one another. The women grabbed the runner-up spot, a mere 9 points behind host Middlebury, and 13 and 15 points in front of Williams and Trinity to capture their best placing ever. The top 7 will sit out this weekend's ECAC, and train hard in preparation for Districts, and then hopefully a strong finish at Nationals.

The men, looking for solid results and a Top 3 finish, certainly got pumped up watching the women's race and they took the momentum with them into their race. The pace started out slow through the first mile before things started to heat up. A Williams and Conn College runner broke away from the pack, but several Amherst runners were in the and around the next chase pack. Matt Katz established his Top 10 position early on and  started to move strongly in the 2nd half of the race. Mike Page went conservatively and then as he got warmed up, there was not much to stop him as he moved quickly through the pack of runners in front of him and pulled into the to group in the last mile and wound up 3rd, with a hard charging Matt Katz leading a chase pack of Tufts runners and earning 6th place - both were First Team All-Conference runners. The biggest move, and possibly the difference in the teams finish was Jack Morgan's finishing mile as he made a huge move and went by about 20 guys during the last mile of the race. John Stanton-Geddes finished 4th for the team and will be counted on as a force at Districts. Dave Molina stepped up a again as the 5th man, and has been a huge boost for the team since returning from injury. Dave Schreiner came in 2 places after, and then first year Brandt Tullis finished out the Varsity 7 with another strong race. While Tufts, with incredible depth and sheer numbers, grabbed their first ever title and Williams was finishing 2nd, the men held off Colby and Bates to finish 3rd - their best ever finish, and a huge improvement from last years 9th place finish. Cooper Knowlton had a strong race, as he went out hard and laid it on the line, as did Evan Guiney and Rich Wilson - again finishing within pushing distance of each other, as they have all season. John Babbott, in his first true race since a disastrous leg fracture this summer, cracked 30 minutes in the open race and showed that he definitely would have been a huge factor on this team had he not been hurt. Adam David and Billy McNitt worked together through the entire race and finished strongly. As is the case with the women, the Top 7 guys will sit this weekend out, in preparation for the District qualifier.

Little Three's - Oct 25th
(Student Article and Player of the Week)
Running on our home course, in front of the millions of adoring fans, the men and women raced great in the annual Little Three Championships. Despite a muddy stretch of about 100m out on the field loop and some other random wet spots that makes the course a true XC loop, you could not have asked for better conditions. The women got the day started with their focus being on knocking off both Williams and Wesleyan, and ending Williams 3 year winning streak. The race immediately broke into a 5 person front pack as the Amherst trio of Aly Venti, Shauneen Garrahan and Carter Hamill pushed the pace along with All-Americans Courtney Quirin and Jenn Campbell from Wesleyan and Williams. Aly broke free from everyone in the 3rd mile and cruised to a new course record time of 18:15, while Shauneen pulled away from the Wesleyan runner in the homestretch to secure 2nd. Carter battled the Williams runner all the way to the line and came away with a 5th place finish. Margaret Davis, nursing an injured achilles fought hard through the race, and came across 8th, while co-captain Erinn White had her strongest race of the year (to date) and came in 13th to secure the victory . Ginger Polich, recovering nicely from mono over the summer, continues to show huge improvements and finished 16th while co-captain Helen Dole had an incredible kick and raced to her fastest ever time on the home course. Jenny Horowitz cracked the Top 25, and Aparna Nancherla, despite a nagging knee injury that does not want to leave her, lead a pack consisting of Annie McNamara, Katina Hubbard, Alison Rodriguez and Leigh Rivlin to the finish. This was Amherst's first Little Three win since 1999, and only their 2nd ever.

The men, inspired by the brilliant running of the women, were looking to end a streak of their own, as Williams had won the last 15 years in a row. A slow first mile found a huge pack at the front, and then things spilt up quickly as Mike Page and Williams All-American runner Neal Holtschulte broke away and never looked back. The two raced together until the 5th mile before Neal broke away for good. Page would grab 2nd place, while hot on his heels was Matt Katz and a Wesleyan runner who were battling out the entire homestretch and the Wes guy would edge out Matt for 3rd. John Stanton-Geddes wound up 7th, amidst a group of Williams runners - some of who did not see the large white arrow marking the left hand turn on the trails and would run a few extra meters before being called back on course. Jack Morgan, knowing that every person counted, dug down with a big kick to knock of an Eph right near the finish line. Dave Molina, in only his 2nd race of the season, came on strong and had an awesome race to finish 5th for the team and 13th overall, with Dave Schreiner coming in a few seconds after him and then Brandt Tullis coming across the line 7th for the team. Evan Guiney had a great race, and a huge kick in the last 200 meters, and was followed closely by Cooper Knowlton.  Rich Wilson and Rob Boley both broke the 30 minute mark on the tough course, and Billy McNitt had another awesome race as her raced to his best Amherst course time, and improved about 20 places from last year's finish. Adam David came in right behind Billy and John Babbott, racing for the first time since shattering his leg in an accident this summer, had a strong showing as did Sam Hayman. Despite the great efforts of the team, we would wind up a mere 2 points behind Williams, allowing the dreaded streak to continue for at least another year. The finish was the closest that it has been in the last few years, and hopefully next year the results will be different.

Open New England's - Oct 10th
(Boston Herald Article and Student Article)
Both teams took to the historic Franklin Park XC course, the site of the 1991 World XC Championships, and made a little history. Senior Aly Venti used a tremendous finishing kick that closed down a 20 meter gap over the last 400m to grab the win at the line in a very exciting finish. In winning the championships, she became the first Amherst runner to win an Open New England Cross Country Championship, as she bested a field of over 250 runners from all schools in New England. Shauneen Garrahan came in shortly after in 8th, and was the top first year harrier, and Carter Hamill returned to racing after a month lay off due to injury and grabbed a Top 20 finish, earning All- New England status. Margaret Davis and Ginger Polich, who raced to her best ever time, finished with 2 seconds of one another, while Erinn White and Jenny Horowitz finished even closer as they were both timed in the same time, with one person between them. As a team, they finished 5th, which also is the best finish in team history. In the Sub varsity race, Alison Rodriguez continued her great racing as she finished in the top 20, while Helen Dole, Aparna Nancherla and Katina Hubbard all had strong races.

The men did not fare as well, but on a very off day, they still managed to improve upon last years finish along with being the 6th best DIII team. Matt Katz finished strongly to lead the men and cracked the top 50, while John Stanton-Geddes came in shortly after him. Jack Morgan came in with a fast charging, and quickly improving, Dave Schreiner close on his heels as both cracked 27 minutes. Brandt Tullis had another strong race, as did fellow first year Cooper Knowlton to round out the scoring. In the sub varsity race, Dave Molina returned to action for the first time this year and raced a very impressive time and that could be a big boost to the success of the team, as will be the great race turned in by first year Nate Freese. Evan Guiney and Rich Wilson, coming in a few strides apart s they have all season raced very well, while Rob Boley shook off some mid week illness to post a strong finish with Adam David. Again, a big story for the team was the much improved Billy McNitt, who nearly broke 30 minutes and knocked off more then 2 minutes from his time a year ago.

Twin Brook Invite - Sept 27th
(Student Article)
The teams headed up to Maine to run on the same course that we will run in November for our District Qualifying races. A combination of grass, hills, trails and woods, make this an ideal cross country course that proved to be quite challenging. The women got the day started as they tackled their first 6k course of the year, and were again without the services of a couple of the team's top runners as Carter Hamill and Jenny Horowitz did not compete. Shauneen Garrahan and Aly Venti did the early pace work, and worked great together as they strung the field out. An errant turn coming out of the trails, cost the Williams runner - Caroline Cretti - from a well deserved victory, as she had a sizable lead when she took a wrong turn and went from a comfortable 1st place to around 10th by the time she got back on the course. Shauneen and a Wesleyan runner found themselves in the lead and they battled down the entire homestretch with Shauneen finding an extra gear to capture the win, and Aly Venti held off a hard charging Cretti in the waning steps of the race to get 3rd. Margaret Davis had a great race as she grabbed 12th overall, and Erinn White continues to improve as she battled down the stretch to crack the top 30. Ginger Polich had a big kick to overtake several runners in the last 50m, as did Alison Rodriguez and Helen Dole - as the threesome rounded out the Top Seven. Annie McNamara had a great race, with Aparna Nancherla finishing right behind her, as they both raced their first ever 6k's. Katina Hubbard continues to round into shape and had a strong race, as did fellow first year Bryn Pallesen

The men were without several key runners, as Mike Page and Matt Katz both were unable to race, and the results were not as strong as the team would have normally produced. John Stanton-Geddes paced the team with his Top 10 finish, against some of the regions top runners. Cooper Knowlton was the second Jeff to cross the line as he had a solid outing, and Jack Morgan running comfortably throughout the race came in a few steps behind him. Brandt Tullis, Dave Schreiner and Nate Freese all finished within a few seconds of one another, as they each continued to improve and are all looking to be the guys who step up and close the gap. Evan Guiney, despite spending the majority of the week in the pool nursing a sore achilles, had a strong race on the hilly course, and Robert Boley has become a new man on the XC course as he raced nearly as fast as he did the previous week, despite the course being much more difficult and slower. Billy McNitt, another one of the guys who has improved dramatically from last year to this year, and from week to week, knocked nearly a minute off from his previous best time and looked awesome as he earned the flash shirt given out by the team to the guy who performed the best in the meet.

UMass Dartmouth - Sept 20th
(Student Article)
The men and women raced at the notoriously fast course at UMass Dartmouth, and came away with the expected fast times, and some hoped for great team performances. Despite maintaining a heavy work load throughout the week, the tired legs of the runners still carried them to some personal bests and a victory for the men, and a runner-up finish for the women. Both teams were split up between varsity and junior varsity, and the women's JV got under way first as Aparna Nancherla and Annie McNamara worked well together to both crack the Top 15, while Katina Hubbard, Kristen Reid and Bryn Pallesen all got their college XC careers under way with their first races. In the women's varsity, the team was running without Carter Hamill and Ginger Polich due to injury and illness, but they still grabbed a second place finish - behind only Trinity College. Aly Venti had a strong race as she battled with the leader from Springfield College for the entire race before settling for a second place finish in a time of 17:34, and following behind her in 3rd place was first year harrier Shauneen Garrahan, who nearly broke 18 minutes as she had to settle for an 18:02, but her fastest time ever. Margaret Davis dipped under the 19 minute mark as she grabbed 22nd overall, and had Erinn White and Jenny Horowitz hot on her heels in 27th and 32nd to round out the scoring total of 83 points. Alison Rodriguez showed her summer of mileage is paying dividends as she raced under the 20 minute mark for her first time - 19:34. Helen Dole rounded out the top 7 with her time of 20:19.

The men grabbed the victory by the narrowest of margins as they held off a very deep Tufts team (who sat out two of their top runners) by a mere point - 64-65. Mike Page and John Stanton-Geddes finished less then a second apart in 4th and 5th, as they both ran well under 26 minutes - the first time for Page. Matt Katz, came in very shortly after, as he grabbed 9th and nearly raced to his XC PR (missing by a mere 3 seconds). Jack Morgan, started off conservatively in the race, but ripped the last 2 miles to finish strong in 13th, just missing cracking the 26 minute barrier. First years Cooper Knowlton and Brandt Tullis raced great to finish as the 5th and 6th runners, separated by only a few seconds, and Dave Schreiner got his season started with a strong race (late summer, early fall illness that caused 2 weeks of non-running) and should continue to improve as he gets back into shape. Evan Guiney and Rich Wilson raced together for the entire JV race as both posted great times and solid racing, while Robert Boley truly found his stride to knock nearly 5 minutes from his previous best 5 mile race. Adam David just missed cracking 30 minutes, while coming in behind him were Chase Bourke and Billy McNitt with strong races.

Amherst Invite - Sept 6th
(Student Article and Athletes of the Week)
Both teams got their seasons, as well as that of the Amherst College athletic season, off to great starts with their victories in our home opener. It was the first meet of the season, as well as the first competition of the season for Amherst College, and will hopefully bode well for the remainder of the season. While their was some issues with the timing system that caused a great deal of headaches and frustration, the teams efforts were outstanding. The men raced extremely well on the challenging course, and the trio of Matt Katz, John Stanton-Geddes and Mike Page took the lead around the 3 mile mark and finished together sharing the victory. With the absence of Dave Schreiner due to illness and Dave Molina sitting the meet out, and the loss for the season of a couple other anticipated scoring runners, it was up to the rest of the team to pick up the slack. Jack Morgan looked real comfortable in the race as he finished 4th for the men while working with first year runners Cooper Knowlton and Brandt Tullis, who finished 5th and 6th for the team in their first college races, and were able to hold off a strong Trinity team for the win. Evan Guiney grabbed the 7th spot for the team. Several other runners got their feet wet for the first time in college XC as first years Richard Wilson, Robert Boley and Nathaniel Freese raced at the 5 mile distance, and Adam David, Chase Bourke and Billy McNitt each tackled the Amherst course for the first time.

The women posted a dominant win, as they scored a meet low 29 points to ward off possibly Nationally ranked Trinity team. Carter Hamill led a 2-3-4-6 finish by Aly Venti (who returned from her studies abroad from last fall), first year harrier Shauneen Garrahan who could be one of the top first year runners in the region, and Margaret Davis who showed that last track season's successes were definitely carrying over to this fall. Jenny Horowitz, Ginger Polich and Erinn White followed each other to the line to round out the scoring, with Alison Rodriguez and Helen Dole a few steps behind. Annie McNamara and Aparna Nancherla, both returning to XC racing after a year's hiatus got their season started off well.