2008 Outdoor T & F Meet Notes

Amherst College Sports Information Web Page Write-ups
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Men's Season Depth Chart & Women's Season Depth Chart

NCAA National Championships - May 22nd - 24th

A contingent of four athletes headed out to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to compete in the NCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 22-24. Peter Harrison ’11 (1500m prelims) and Heather Wilson ’08 (10,000m final) competed on day one of the meet. Harrison wound up in the slower of the two 1500 heats, with the top four in each heat, plus the runners with the next four fastest times advancing. Harrison kept himself in the hunt until 200 meters to go, but when the mad dash for the finish line began, he just didn’t have the extra gear that some of his competitors had. He finished in 3:58.93, .63 of a second away from advancing to the final. Though the outing was a disappointing one for Harrison, it was also a tremendous learning experience. He was one of two first-years in the field, and he potentially has a big future ahead of him. Heather Wilson, on the other hand, was an NCAA veteran running the final race of her collegiate career. The initial pace in the 10,000m was one that Wilson was comfortable with, and she wound up leading for much of the race in an effort to stay out of trouble in the pack. With approximately two miles to go, Wilson fell off the pace, for no discernable reason. She faded to finish 14th in 36:55.79. Though it was a disappointing outing for Wilson and a rough note to end on, she will be remembered at Amherst for her great running accomplishments (including being a five-time All-American), her great leadership qualities, her level-headedness, and her toughness. Wilson was also eligible to compete in the 5000, but she had opted to attend graduation weekend activities instead. She caught a flight out early on Friday morning and made it home in time to graduate on Sunday.

Day two of the meet was a more encouraging one for the Amherst contingent. Kristen Ballinger ’11 ran a huge race in the 800 prelims, PRing by nearly two full seconds (and therefore breaking the school and freshman records by nearly two full seconds), winning her heat in 2:10.48. Ballinger went from fourth place to first in the last 100 meters of the race, and had the fastest qualifying time of the day. Though he’s not an Amherst athlete, it’s also worth noting that Ballinger’s brother, Tom, a junior at Carleton, made the final of the 400 hurdles the previous day. This meant that the Ballinger family would get to watch Kristen and Tom run in back-to-back finals on Saturday. The next event up was the steeplechase final. A competitor from Dickinson took the race from the gun, and she ran unchallenged throughout. Elise Tropiano ’09 ran at the front of the chase pack for much of the race, but was unable to separate herself from enough of the field to pull away. She ran a competitive race throughout, but hoped to have a little bit more left in the final 600 meters but got her legs tangled coming off the barrier and lost a little focus as a result. She wound up an impressive sixth in a PR of 10:35.78 and earned All-America honors.

Ballinger and Tropiano were back in action on the third and final day of the meet—Ballinger in the 800m final, and Tropiano in the 5000m final. Ballinger, one of just two freshmen in the final, showed that she wasn’t intimidated by the situation by taking the lead on the first lap, setting the race up to be blazing fast – 62 seconds for the first 400. She faded in the third 200, and going around the final turn, everyone in the field had passed her. That was when Ballinger turned on her trademark finish. She caught three of her competitors coming up the homestretch, and finished sixth in 2:10.95, what would have been a PR were it not for the previous day’s race. Shortly after, Tom Ballinger took seventh in the 400 hurdles, giving the Ballinger two All-American finishes in the span of about 30 minutes. Tropiano, showed off her ability to bounce back well by competing in the 5000m final less than 24 hours after running her steeplechase PR. While a large lead pack took off at a pace that none of the runners would wind up maintaining throughout, Tropiano opted for a more conservative strategy, running about 3-4 seconds behind the leaders through the first mile. As runners began to fall off the back of the pack, she worked on picking them off. She worked her way up to ninth place, and then out-kicked a competitor to take the final All-American spot, finishing eighth in 17:07.17, completing an impressive All-American double.

ECAC's - May 15th and 16th

Performers of the Meet - Peter Harrison'11 and Sophie Galleher'10

Despite a challenging week of final exams, the men’s and women’s teams put forth a great performance at the ECAC DIII Championships at Springfield College May 15-16. For some, the meet marked their final competitive opportunity of the season; for others, this was an opportunity to extend their seasons. The steeplechasers got things started on a good note on Thursday evening, with three out of three running their best times ever. Peter Foote finally took down his PR, which he set his freshman year, running 9:32.45 for sixth place. John McGrail finished 13th in 9:46.77, a PR by exactly two seconds. Sophie Galleher made the biggest improvement of the bunch, running a 16-second PR of 11:11.18 to take fourth and provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships. Kim Partee attempted to improve her NCAA qualifying time in the 10,000, but when she realized it wasn’t going to happen, she turned her focus to winning her final collegiate race. Partee led for much of the race, before a competitor from Richard Stockton made a move and began to pull away with less than two miles to go. Partee dropped back a bit, and it looked like the race might be over, but she fought back and summoned an uncharacteristically strong kick to take the win in 37:10.02. The Amherst women have now won the 10,000 at every championship meet they’ve competed in this season, with Elise Tropiano winning the New England DIII title, Heather Wilson winning the Open New England title, and Partee completing the sweep here. Christina Wong also ran a strong race, and was able to pull out a three-second PR at the end, running 40:25.74.

Saturday’s men 1500 and 800 marked the final opportunities for Peter Harrison and Jimmy Swanson to improve upon their NCAA provisional qualifying times. Both were in the hunt throughout the 1500, but they needed very strong last laps to improve their times. Harrison’s kick proved to be just a little bit stronger than everyone else’s, as he edged out a competitor from SUNY Cortland by .03 hundredths of a second, winning in 3:53.22. Swanson edged out a competitor from Brockport State to take third in 3:54.08. As they learned two days later, Harrison’s time was fast enough to get him into the NCAA Championships, while Swanson’s 3:53.89 from earlier in the season was just one place and .19 of a second away from getting him into the meet. Swanson came back about 90 minutes later to make a final NCAA qualifying attempt in the 800. He ran tough and finished in 1:55.52, but just did not have enough left to improve his time. Kristen Ballinger also had to improve her NCAA provisional qualifying time to be certain that she’d get into the meet. Despite running against a less competitive field than we had hoped for, Ballinger took control of the 800 from the start and did what she needed to do. She powered to a big win in 2:12.40, which was a PR, a school record, and (obviously) a freshman record. She’ll continue her season on Friday, when she runs in the 800m rounds. The meet will also serve as a Ballinger family reunion, as Kristen’s brother will be competing in the 400 hurdles for Carleton. In the women’s 1500, Zandra Walton came back from some setbacks earlier in the season to finish her season on a strong note. She took 17th in 4:50.35. Despite being quite sick, Kate Silverman opted to take advantage of her final competitive opportunity of the season and compete in the 400 hurdles. She was well off her season best time of 66.81, but she put in a good effort to finish 27th in 1:10.79. The team had mixed results in the 5000. Florian Reichert ran a strong race to take ninth in 15:14.53, his best time of the season. Though Reichert, a German exchange student, has only been at Amherst for one year, he’s had a strong positive impact on the team, and he’ll be missed as much as the graduating seniors next year. Daniel Murner also had a solid day, taking 13th in 15:21.88. Mike Harbus ran well off his best, but he stuck it out in his final collegiate race to finish 24th. On the women’s side, Laura Mortimer took ninth in 18:23.72, and though the time was off the PR she set one week earlier, the effort was there. The steady rain appeared to slow all of the times. Katie Moravec finished off her collegiate running career with a 16th place finish. In the men’s 4x400 relay, Keith Pendergrass, Ryan Drost, Kit Callahan, and Ben Read ran 3:29.93, with Read, the only senior in the bunch, finishing his Amherst career on a solid note. The women’s 4x400 relay team of Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, Susan Wasserman, and Kristen Ballinger put in a valiant effort, but they were unable to improve their NCAA provisional qualifying time in the conditions which could, by this point in the meet, be described as disgusting. Despite this, they competed very well. They finished a close second in 3:58.64, and defeated a team which ultimately ended up getting into the NCAA Championships based on a faster time they had run earlier in the season. Amherst’s 4x400 missed qualifying by approximately one second, which will give them something to shoot for next year. Kristen Ballinger (800), Peter Harrison (1500), Heather Wilson (10,000), and Elise Tropiano (steeplechase/5000) will compete at the NCAA Championships beginning on Thursday, May 22nd.

All New England's - May 9th and 10th

Performers of the Meet - Ben Mears'11 and Heather Wilson'08

The team headed to the University of New Hampshire May 9-10 to take part in the All New England Championships, a meet which provides a great opportunity to compete against teams from divisions I, II, and III. In rather chilly conditions, Kristen Ballinger ran 58.57 in the 400 prelims to qualify for the finals on Saturday where she used a late chagre to move up to 4th in 57.99 final). Also in the 400, was the rest of the 4x400 Relay and they all finished wiht new PR's as Susan Wasserman (12th, 59.31), Carly Levenson (14th, 59.57), and Mary Doris Reggie (22nd, 1:00.75) all competed well in the 400. In the 400 hurdles, Ryan Drost finished 19th in a PR of 57.47, just three hundredths of a second shy of qualifying him for next week’s ECAC Championships. On the women’s side, Kate Silverman finished 23rd in 1:10.08 and Kat Loomis finished 24th in 1:10.42. Friday night’s distance races provided a high point for the team, as Daniel Murner ran his best time of the season to finish 16th in 15:14.39. Laura Mortimer led things off for the women’s 5k runners, winning the first heat (and finishing 17th overall) in a PR of 18:02.86. Katie Moravec was close behind, finishing second (19th overall) in a season best of 18:09.90. In the second heat, Elise Tropiano raced to a PR of 17:02.02, and finished sixth overall. Nicole Anderson finished 18th overall, right between her two teammates, but without the benefit of running with them, in 18:06.55. Ben Mears started things off on a good note in the 10k, running a smart race to finish 20th in 32:29.78. Due to injury, Mears has only been able to do limited running training this season, but it was not evident as he broke his previous PR by more than 37 seconds. Heather Wilson continued her post-thesis comeback with a huge win in the women’s 10,000. After running the first lap in a pedestrian (for her) 90 seconds, she took off and started splitting 85s. Despite running alone for the entire race, she ran a lifetime PR of 35:41.28, which is an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships. According to the meet announcer, no woman had run that fast at the New England Championships since 1995. Kim Partee ran in second place for most of the race, before getting outkicked and finishing third. Her time of 36:45.52 was a 27-second improvement upon her NCAA provisional qualifying time from last week.

On day two of the meet, Jimmy Swanson and Peter Harrison took to the track in the 1,500. Swanson had the tough draw of being in the slowest heat, which did not go out quickly. He took control of the race with around 500 meters to go, and just got outkicked at the very end by a competitor from UConn. Despite running a gutsy race and competing well, he was unable to improve his NCAA qualifying time, and he finished eighth in 3:55.01. In the next heat, Peter Harrison went after it, running a more aggressive pace than he had all season, but he was feeling a bit under the weather and suffered late in the race. He finished 13th in 3:56.80. Elise Tropiano doubled back from her 5000m PR the previous evening and ran 4:41.47 to finish 19th in the 1500. Caitlin McDermott-Murphy finished 24th in 4:47.47. Sophie Galleher took ninth (11:27.93) and Peter Foote took 10th (9:38.32) in the steeplechase. The 4x400 meter relay team of Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, Susan Wasserman, and Kristen Ballinger was hoping to improve upon their NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:55.13, but it was not to be. A clerical error put Amherst in the fastest heat, so the team ended up running alone for most of the race. They wound up 10th in 3:58.06.

DIII New England's - May 2nd and 3rd

Performers of the Meet - Mike Harbus'08 and Elise Tropiano'09

The New England Division III Championships were held at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, on May 2-3. The women’s team had a great outing, scoring 81 points to finish second, and tying the program’s best finish ever. Those 81 points included five wins, with Kristen Ballinger winning the 800, Heather Wilson the 5000, Elise Tropiano the steeplechase, Kim Partee the 10,000, and Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, Susan Wasserman, and Ballinger taking the 4x400. On the men’s side, Jimmy Swanson eked out a win in the 800. The team started things off on a good note on Friday night, with all seven runners racing well, and most of them recording PR's. Kim Partee won the 10,000m in 37:12.61, with Nicole Anderson taking second in a PR 37:28.35. Both runners ran provisional NCAA qualifying times. Laura Mortimer ran tough to take fourth in a huge PR of 37:48.71, less than 10 seconds off an NCAA provisional qualifier. Christina Wong also ran a significant PR to take 19th in 40:28.45. On the men’s side, Mike Harbus and Daniel Murner stayed in the lead pack for most of the race, and took third (31:35.47) and fifth (31:39.42), respectively, in a tight race. All three of the men PRed, including Eric Holaday, who made a big jump to finish 12th in 32:26.25. Day two of the meet also started out well on the track, with Elise Tropiano winning the steeplechase in an NCAA automatic qualifying time and PR of 10:36.46, and Katie Moravec taking seventh in a PR 11:38.37. On the men’s side, Peter Foote finished sixth in 9:36.74, just a couple ticks off his best time, and John McGrail won the slower heat of the race (and finished 11th overall) with a dramatic sprint finish. McGrail ran 9:48.77, and smashed the 10:00 barrier for the first time. Amherst swept the men’s and women’s 800m titles. On the men’s side, Peter Harrison found himself up front on the first lap, while Jimmy Swanson hung back in the pack a bit. Harrison suffered a bit after his early pacesetting duties, and faded to sixth (1:54.95) in a very tight race, whereas Swanson had been set up beautifully. He grabbed the opportunity  by surging up the homestretch, nipping a competitor from Trinity at the finish line, and winning his first New England title in 1:54.24. On the women’s side, Kristen Ballinger took the lead right away, and never relinquished it. Though she was challenged by a competitor from Williams at the end, Ballinger responded and cruised in to win by nearly a second. Her 2:13.72 improves upon the NCAA provisional qualifying time she already had. Mary Doris Reggie finished 12th in a solid 2:20.54, and Caitlin McDermott-Murphy continued to improve, taking 13th in 2:20.60. In the 400 hurdles, Susan Wasserman continued to shine, taking seventh in 66.37. Kate Silverman PRed, taking ninth and breaking under the 67 second barrier for the first time in 66.81. Kat Loomis ran another PR in her new event, taking 17th in 69.66. Jenny Mancino, who had competed in the high jump earlier in the day, took 25th in 1:11.55. While the chilly and breezy weather wasn't bad for distance running, it wasn't ideal for sprinting. Carly Levenson (8th in 400, 60.63), Anthony Fuller (20th in 100, 11.49), and Mattie Baker (24th in 200, 27.65) did not let that stop them, with all three competing well. In the relays, the school-record-setting quartet of Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, Susan Wasserman, and Kristen Ballinger was unable to improve upon the record that they set one week earlier, but they ran an outstanding race to take home a New England title with a time of 3:58.76. The men’s quartet of Ryan Drost, Kit Callahan, Peter Harrison, and Jimmy Swanson took 14th in 3:32.23. The women’s 4x800 relay team of Hoiwan Cheung, Mariana Palacios (who ran an incredible race, lowering her best 800 time by nearly 2 seconds), Zoe Pagonis, and Caitlin McDermott-Murphy took sixth in 9:38.78.

NESCAC Championships - April 26th

Performers of the Meet - Jimmy Swanson'10 and Katie Moravec'08

The team traveled to Clinton, New York this past weekend to compete in the NESCAC Track & Field Championships. Elise Tropiano got things started on a good note by winning the 10,000m in 36:09.24, a time which should get her into the NCAA Championships. Heather Wilson followed in second, with a 37:33.43, a provisional qualifying time for nationals. Liz Dalton ran a season-best 39:55.17 and just missed scoring. On the men’s side, Daniel Murner was able to pick up four points for the team in the 10k, running 32:28.66 in a tactical race. Peter Harrison and Jimmy Swanson had a great meet, going 2-4 (3:54.12 and 3:54.69) in a tactical 1500. Both were provisional NCAA qualifiers, but the two had already run faster the previous Tuesday. Swanson doubled back better than anyone who attempted the 1,500/800 double – aside from the winner of Hamilton -  finishing third in a PR (and provisional NCAA time) of 1:53.01. Harrison struggled a bit, but both came back again later in the meet (with Will Yochum and Ryan Drost) to help Amherst’s DMR finish fourth. Yochum also had a strong performance in the 1,500, running 4:04.67 before leading off the DMR with a 3:10.9 1200 split. Kristen Ballinger also had a great day for Amherst, winning her heat of the 400 and finishing second overall in a school record of 57.66. She later teamed up with Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, and Susan Wasserman to break another school record, this time in the 4x400 relay. The team’s 3:55.13 is a provisional qualifying time for nationals. Levenson was doubling back after running a PR of 2:18.97 in the 800 and Wasserman came back from finishing sixth in the 400 hurdles in 1:06.67. The women’s team’s other 400 hurdlers—Kate Silverman (8th, 1:07.00), Jenny Mancino (10th, 1:09.53), and Kathryn Loomis (11th, 1:09.71)—also performed well.

Amherst picked up some additional points in the steeplechase, with Sophie Galleher taking fourth (11:31.15) and Peter Foote taking fifth (9:36.45). John McGrail won his heat of the steeplechase in 10:03.96 and finished 10th overall. Foote did the unusual steeplechase/400 hurdles double, and took 16th in the latter, running 60.50. Ryan Drost had a solid day in the 400H, taking 10th in 58.25. The 5000 was a big event for Amherst, with five athletes scoring. Kim Partee finished second in 18:13.36, Katie Moravec moved from about ninth with 1000 to go to third at the finish, running 18:16.54. She was followed closely by Nicole Anderson, who took fifth in 18:20.28 and used a big kick in the last stretch to secure that place. On the men’s side, Mike Harbus also had a late-race surge, and finished sixth in 15:31.11. Florian Reichert – despite his broken elbow from a fall on Tuesday - finished eighth in 15:32.91, picking up another point for the team. Eric Holaday took 13th in a new PR of 15:43.92. In the field events, Sarah Leyman picked up points with a seventh place finish in the discus, and also finished ninth in the shot put. Chris Eaton finished 17th in the shot and 22nd in the hammer. Jenny Mancino finished in a tie for seventh in the high jump, with a jump of 1.50 meters. In the sprints, the men’s team of Michael Dolmatch, Anthony Fuller, Keith Pendergrass, and Sean Legister picked up two points with a seventh-place finish in the 4x100. The women’s team of Kate Silverman, Emily Dick, Kathryn Loomis, and Mattie Baker took sixth. Baker came back from an injury to finish 15th in the 200 with a 27.55. Emily Dick took 19th in 28.12. On the men’s side, Anthony Fuller led the way with a 14th place finish in the 100 and a 15th place finish in the 200. Sean Legister ran his best time of the season in the 100, taking 15th in 11.63. In the women’s middle distances, Caitlin McDermott-Murphy finished ninth in a very competitive 1,500, running 4:47.04. She later led off the sixth place 4x800 relay with a 2:20 split. Hoiwan Cheung (2:23.64) and Zoe Pagonis (2:24.84) ran their best times ever and were also part of the 4x800 relay, along with Murph and Kate.

Amherst Mid Week - April 22nd

With perfect conditions for competing, the teams took to their home track for the 2nd time in 4 days to compete against Trinity in a non scoring mid week invite. The men got things started with a couple of NCAA qualifying performances in the 1500 where Peter Harrison and Jimmy Swanson followed the early pacing of a really old guy through to the bell, before battling each other and the clock as both finished under 3:54. Behind them, Will Yochum had a solid race finishing 3rd while Daniel Murner and Peter Foote each raced under 4:10. The steeplers of the 1500 race, came back right after in the 400 hurdle to get a little hurdling test with tired legs. Basile Beaty won the 400, just missing breaking 51 seconds while Ryan Drost had a solid race, as he dropped from the hurdles to the flat 400 and ran under 52 seconds. Anthony Fuller won the 100 in a new PR, and then came back on short rest to set his PR in the 200 to win that event as well. Sean Legister jumped over 19 feet in the long jump, as well as running well in the sprints,and Michael Dolmatch lowered his best time in the 100. Ben Read raced to a new PR in the 800 as he finished 4th in 2:01 with Kit Callahan just behind him in 2:02. Off the track and down at the throwing venue, Chris Eaton finally put things together in the hammer as he tossed the hammer to a new PR by nearly 20 feet - on three of his throws - but would not be able to lay claim to king of the circle as Ryan Bone had the further of the throws in the discus and shot put. Sean Legister broke 19 feet in the long jump to narrowly beat Andre Gary and earn the steak dinner!

Away from the track, Sarah Leyman continues to show big improvements and a penchant for drawing a loud, raucous crowd. She won the shot and discus - with a new PR in the discus of 31.80, but the big event was the hammer. Breaking out the three spin, she added an extra 5 meters to her previous best by throwing the ball 38.13 (125 feet one inch) and in the process, besting the old school record set by Julia Whately over 20 years ago! Elise Tropiano and Heather Wilson finished 1-2 in the 1500 to lead the distance contingent to a hard effort in the 1500 - before they embarked for a tempo run before returning to the track for an 800. Katie Moravec had a real nice race to finish 3rd in a new PR, as several runners finished under 5:00 and a few of them with their fastest times. Katie Silverman had a great race in the 400 hurdles to win in 67 seconds, as she led an Amherst quartet of herself, Kathryn Loomis, Jenny Mancino and Zoe Pagonis who all lowered their best times. Susie Wasserman stepped away from the hurdles to focus on the flat 400, and won the event - just missing breaking 60 seconds by the smallest of margins. Kristen Ballinger somehow missed the 400, so raced the 800 instead and raced away from the field with some strong front running to win in 2:14 while Caitlin Murphy finished 2nd running 2:19 while Hoiwan Cheung and mariana Palacios each raced 2:25 and in the 2nd heat - comprised mostly of those who had raced the 1500, Lauren Benson raced to a season's best of 2:38. Kristen, to go along with the 800, also won the 200 with Jennifer Rybak coming in a close 2nd.

Little Three's - April 19th

Performer of the Meet - Sarah Leyman'11 and Anthony Fuller'09

With a picture perfect day, and many friend and family trackside cheering the teams on, the men and women took to their home track to take on Wesleyan and Williams in the annual Little Three Championship. While Williams again came out on top, the women and men split with Wesleyan as the ladies finished 2nd while the men finished 3rd. The women got a big day from first year Sarah Leyman - a basketball stud who decided to try her hand at track, having never thrown before this spring. With her victory in the hammer (to go along with 2nd place finishes in both the shot and discus) she became the first Amherst women's thrower to win a throwing event (SP, Ham or Disc) in at least a decade. On the track, the team got wins by Elise Tropiano - who led a 1-5 finish for Amherst - in the 5k, Zandra Walton who, along with Caitlin Murphy, went 1-2 in the 1500, Susie Wasserman with a win in the 400 Hurdles, Sophie Galleher in the steeplechase, and then the 4x400 relay consisting of Carly Levenson, Mary Doris Reggie, Kristen Ballinger and Susie Wasserman capped off the day with a victory. In addition to several victories, the team got some great marks by Mary Doris in the 800, as she just missed breaking the 2:20 barrier; Liz Dalton and Mercedes Taylor had a great race working together in the 1500 to lower their best times; Kathryn Loomis made her debut in the 400 hurdles successful, to go along with her season's best time in the high hurdles earlier in the day; the steeplechase also provided for debuts by several first years as hallie Schwab, Melissa Pritchard and cara Giaimo each took to the barriers for the first time while Katie Moravec grabbed a runner-up spot; Jenny Mancino had a big jump in the high jump to grab 2nd; Jennifer Rybak was at all ends of the track competing in numerous field events and Emily Dick was the top sprinter in the 100 and 200 for the team with her best times of the season.

As they have been doing throughout the first part of the season, Jimmy Swanson and Peter Harrison again led the team. This time the pair was split up, as Pete did the 1500 and Jimmy was in the 800 but each walked away with a victory decided on final home stretch kicks to pull away from the fields. Anthony Fuller lowered his best times considerably in both the 100 and 200 as he was the top finisher in both. Keith Pendergrass had a strong finish, with Captain Steve Shashy again hot on his heels as both were well under 53 seconds in the 400; Basile Beaty won the 2nd section of the 800 as he just missed breaking the 2 minute barrier; Ryan Drost had a strong race in the 400 hurdles to hit a qualifying mark for DIII NE's and also dabbled in the jumping events; Sean Legister, Michael Dolmatch and Larry Thompson each raced considerably quicker then they had thus far in the 100 and 200 while "Legs" also enjoyed some success in the long and high jump, Mike Harbus, Will Yochum and Daniel Murner went 3,5,6 in the 5k and Peter Foote finished 2nd in the steeplechase in his best time of the season. The throwers had a strong day as both Ryan Bone and Chris Eaton each PR'd in both the discus and hammer, with Chris also getting over 12 meters in the SP. At the javelin, both Kit Callahan and Shash also recorded their best marks. In the days final event, the 4 x 400, the Amherst contingent of Basile, Keith, Petey and Jimbo raced Williams all the way to the wire en route to running 3:25 and finishing 2nd

UMass Invite - April 12th

Performer of the Meet - Steve Shashy'08 and Kristen Ballinger'11

This weekend the team headed across town for the UMass Invitational, which featured mostly Division I competition. The biggest surprise of the day was the weather, which had been forecast as 40 degrees and rainy earlier in the week, but turned out to be in the 70s and sunny. The team took full advantage of the good competition, nice track, and beautiful day, and came home with more personal bests than we can count. Three athletes on the team earned provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships. First-year Kristen Ballinger shaved more than seven seconds off her collegiate best in the 800, winning the race in 2:14.17. All-American Elise Tropiano finished second in her first steeplechase of the season, running a solid time of 10:58.60. Another first-year, Peter Harrison, took about five seconds off of his collegiate best in the 800, running 1:53.18 and finishing third in a very competitive race. Harrison dipped under the NCAA provisional time of 1:53.20, and sophomore Jimmy Swanson, who finished right behind in 1:53.36, just outside the qualifying time. It was an impressive accomplishment that Swanson was on the starting line at all; he caught a flight to Hartford at 4:00 the morning of the race after having to make an unexpected trip home earlier in the week.

Another athlete who had a big breakthrough was Susan Wasserman, who finished fourth in the 400 hurdles in 65.47. In just her second college track meet, Sarah Leyman took fifth in the shot put with a mark of 34’ 3.5”. Perhaps the biggest breakthrough of the day came from senior captain Steve Shashy, who has been the most consistent 55-second 400m runner Amherst has ever had. Not only did he break through the 55 second “barrier” this weekend, but he skipped 54 entirely, running 53.80. He also led the male throwers this week, with his 11th-place finish in the javelin. A handful of the distance runners dropped down to the 1500, following their races with a workout on the athletic fields across the street from the track. Mike Harbus led the way for the team with a 4:02.34 PR finish. Daniel Murner (4:05.76) also ran a PR. He was followed by Will Yochum, who was running his second race since cross country season. Yochum’s performance was a tremendous improvement over the previous weekend’s race, and he finished in a solid 4:07.25. Ben Klein (4:12.10) ran a PR, as did Jack Seaver (4:30.97). Kit Callahan continued to round back into shape with a 4:18.06. The sprinters took advantage of the weather and produced many season bests. Anthony Fuller (11.68), Sean Legister (11.87), Larry Thompson (12.08), and Michael Dolmatch (12.13) all ran well in the 100, as did Mattie Baker (13.50). Baker also ran a PR of 27.46 in the 200. In the women’s 400, Kat Loomis ran a collegiate best of 62.80, as did Emily Dick (63.08). On the men’s side, Basile Beaty returned to the track and, despite limited training, ran 52.45 to lead the team. In the women’s 1,500, Amherst had a group of five between 4:57 and 5:04. The runners who made the most improvement, however, were Melissa Pritchard (5:08.15), Cara Giaimo (5:14.46), and Lauren Benson (5:36.21). After running the 10k last weekend, Christina Wong dropped down and ran a solid 5:11.83. The team had additional breakthroughs in the 100. In addition to the provisional nation-qualifying performances, Ben Read had a great race, finishing in 2:03.83. On the women’s side, Carly Levenson (2:19.91), Zoe Pagonis (2:25.42), and Mariana Palacios (2:25.75) all ran PR's. Caitlin McDermott-Murphy continued her comeback (2:23.16) as Molly Priedeman (2:29.67) began hers, after a non-track-related injury 3+ months ago. Jennifer Rybak completed her qualifying for the end of season meets in the heptathlon with a 2:37.85 in the 800. Zandra Walton (fifth in 11:33.00) and Kevin Hanley (third in 10:25.19) looked good in running the steeplechase for the first time ever. Katie Moravec (18:26.54) and Florian Reichert (15:22.70) led the way for the team in the 5000. Will Fairhurst ran in the unseeded heat of the 5000 at the beginning of the meet, when the conditions were a little cooler. He had a breakthrough performance, finishing in 16:11.91. In the 4x400 relay, the quartet of Carly Levenson, Kate Silverman, Mary Doris Reggie, Susan Wasserman ran their best time of the season, finishing fifth in 4:02.84.

Jim Sheehan Invite - April 5th

Performers of the Meet - Susie Wasserman'11 and Peter Harrison'11

Our second meet of the season featured better weather—not quite 75 and sunny, but less wind than the previous Saturday, and temperatures in the 50s. Peter Foote picked up a win early on, leading wire-to-wire in the steeplechase and finishing in 9:51.60, which qualifies him for most of the post-season meets. Elise Tropiano was the top collegiate runner (second only to former teammate Shauneen Garrahan) in the 10,000, and was followed by another teammate, Heather Wilson. The three worked together, running conservatively early on before picking up the pace at the end. Tropiano’s time of 37:13.58 is a provisional NCAA qualifying time. Wilson took a break from writing her thesis (it’s a challenging time of year for many of Amherst’s seniors) to finish third in 37:53.02. First-year Christina Wong made her 10,000m debut, running 40:50.58 and finishing seventh. On the men’s side, Mike Harbus found a nice pack to run with for the first 5+ miles, before running away from them in the final mile and finishing second in 33:06.49. Susan Wasserman made her collegiate debut in the 400 hurdles a successful one, winning the event in 69.46. Kate Silverman made it a 1-2 for Amherst, finishing close behind in 69.94. Jenny Mancino (8th, 1:12.23) and Zoe Pagonis (12th, 1:16.68) also ran well. Peter Harrison and Jimmy Swanson turned in another impressive 1-2 finish against a competitive field in the men’s 1,500. Harrison dipped under 4:00 with a 3:59.73, and Swanson narrowly missed doing so, finishing in 4:00.09. The duo returned in the 800, with Swanson leading the way this time, finishing third in 1:59.53 and Harrison finishing fourth in 1:59.77. The women’s 400 was another strong event for Amherst, with Carly Levenson finishing a very close second (60.55) to a fellow All-American, and Mary Doris Reggie taking third in 61.77. Levenson later led the 200 meter runners as well, finishing fourth in 28.08. Anthony Fuller led the male sprinters, taking 10th in the 100 in 11.86. In the women’s 1,500, Zandra Walton led the way for Amherst, taking third in 4:48.83. Kristen Ballinger closed well to take fourth in 4:53.64. Hallie Schwab took ninth (5:05.41), Caitlin McDermott-Murphy (12th, 5:09.05) continued her comeback, Mercedes Taylor improved her time from the previous week by seven seconds (15th, 5:16.47) and Nicole Green took 21st (5:21.99). In the men’s 400 hurdles, Ryan Drost, a 300 hurdler in high school, made a smooth transition to the college distance and finished fifth in 58.90. Amherst had more representatives than usual in the field events, with the shot put going particularly well. Ryan Bone took sixth in the men’s shot with a throw of 41-1.5. Chris Eaton made a significant improvement over his previous week’s performance, finishing eighth with a throw of 39-1.75. On the women’s side, Sarah Leyman, a basketball player in the winter who did not throw in high school, made a strong debut for Amherst, finishing seventh with a mark of 33-1.75. She later finished 11th in the hammer and 19th in the discus. Jennifer Rybak had a solid day in the field events as well, finishing fourth in the long jump (15-5) and second in the high jump (4-11). Jenny Mancino also jumped 4-11, and finished fourth on jumps. Back at the track, Melissa Pritchard and Cara Giaimo ran their first track 5ks, finishing second (19:37.40) and sixth (20:02.23), respectively. In the relays, Amherst cleaned up, winning the women’s 4x400 (Levenson, Silverman, Reggie, and Wasserman—4:06.13), women’s 4x800 (Hoiwan Cheung, Ballinger, McDermott-Murphy, and Walton—9:43.68), and men’s 4x800 (Swanson, Harrison, Tom Anderson, and Kit Callahan—8:13.34), and taking third in the men’s 4x400 (Drost, Keith Pendergrass, Ben Read, and Steve Shashy—3:45.97).

Bantam Invite - March 29th

Performers of the Meet - Zandra Walton'09 and Ben Mears'11

Although it wasn't readily apparent from Saturday’s weather, outdoor track season is now officially underway in Amherst. The team traveled to Trinity College for the Bantam Invitational and focused on competing well in the not very spring-like weather. The 10,000m runners kicked things off, with the men and women running together. They tempoed the first 21 laps, and then kicked it in over the final mile. Daniel Murner led the way for Amherst, on the strength of a 4:40 final mile, and finished second in 32:42.65. He was followed by Florian Reichert (5th, 33:14.75), Ben Mears (6th, 33:17.27), and Eric Holaday (33:25.74). All four runners got in a good workout, and got their NE DIII qualifiers out of the way. The women ran in a good pack most of the way, with Nicole Anderson (2nd, 39:03.43), Hallie Schwab (3rd, 39:12.13), and Laura Mortimer (4th, 39:15.39) staying together until the final mile. Katie Moravec (5th, 39:54.80) dipped under 40, and Liz Dalton (6th, 40:28.22) gave Amherst five of the top six spots in the race, not to mention qualifying times for most of the post-season meets. Next up was the shot put, where Ryan Bone and Chris Eaton, both football players in the fall, were making their debut for the Amherst College track team. Both showed their potential with Bone finishing sixth with a toss of 40-00.50 and Eaton—who was competing in his first-ever track meet—finishing 10th with a put of 36-09.00. Over at the javelin, Steve Shashy was having a good day. He finished eighth with a personal best of 130-09. Later in the day, all three would compete in the discus, with Bone taking fifth (101-08), Shashy sixth (96-03), and Eaton seventh (92-02). Over at the track, Tom Anderson (9th), Kit Callahan (32nd), Ben Read (34th), Melissa Pritchard (15th), Mercedes Taylor (16th), Lauren Benson (24th), and Cara Giaimo (26th) were all representing Amherst in the 1500. It was big day for Callahan, as he had missed the entire indoor season after getting spiked across the Achilles at the start of the first indoor meet in January. This time he made it through the 1500 unscathed, nearly winning his heat with a big charge at the end, and then came back to split 54.7 in the 4x400. Taylor was also racing for the first time since cross country, and she won her heat of the 1500 by a sizeable margin. A large crew of sprinters fought the wind and cold in the 400. Susan Wasserman (4th) and Keith Pendergrass (10th) led the way for the team. They were joined by Jennifer Rybak (5th), Jenny Mancino (7th), Mattie Baker (11th), Kat Loomis (12th), Andre Gary (11th), Steve Shashy (15th), and Sean Legister (19th). Gary and Legister (along with Michael Dolmatch and Larry Thompson) were making their competitive debut for Amherst Track & Field. They not only add depth in the sprints on the men’s side, but also some fun personalities and good humor to the team. In the 800, Pritchard (23rd), Benson (26th), Giaimo (28th), Read (18th), and Anderson (9th) all doubled back from the 1,500. They were joined by Kristen Ballinger (1st, 2:21.58), Carly Levenson (2nd, 2:22.42), Mary Doris Reggie (6th), Hoiwan Cheung (10th), Mariana Palacios (12th), and Ryan Drost (10th). Ballinger and Levenson waged an impressive duel in the event, with Ballinger leading for much of the race, before Levenson put on an impressive kick in the final 200 meters, drawing even with Ballinger at the top of the homestretch. Ballinger had another gear left, and was able to kick it in for the win, with Levenson just behind, giving Amherst the 1-2 finish. Kate Silverman and Zoe Pagonis both competed in the 400 hurdles. Despite not competing in the event since last spring, Silverman looked great, dominating her heat with a time of 1:11.11 and finishing fifth overall. Pagonis, a freshman, made the jump from 300H (the high school distance in most states) to 400H for the first time and finished seventh in 76.61. Another big crew competed in the 200, with Rybak (7th), Wasserman (12th), Mancino (15th), Baker (18th), Loomis (19th), Dick (21st), Gary (11th), Legister (17th), and Shashy (18th) all doubling back from the 400. In addition, Anthony Fuller led the way for the men (10th, 24.34), and Larry Thompson (14th) and Michael Dolmatch (16th) made their debuts. Yet another large group competed in the 5000 for Amherst, including some for whom the distance is significantly longer than they typically run on the track. Jimmy Swanson and Peter Harrison, who excelled at the 800 and 1500 indoors, showed that they can also be competitive at the longer distances. Swanson finished second in the 5000 in 15:33.19, with Harrison taking fifth in 15:43.17. They were joined by Peter Foote (7th), Will Fairhurst (13th), Ben Klein (15th), Kevin Hanley (18th), and Jack Seaver (21st). Zandra Walton, another runner who usually races shorter distances, chased a Hartford runner early in the race before pulling away to a win in 18:35.38. Sophie Galleher (18:51.51) gave Amherst the 1-2, with Caitlin McDermott-Murphy (7th), Christina Wong (8th), and Nicole Green (14th) also in there.

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