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National Championships - Nov 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.
NE Regional Championships - Nov 13th
Runners of the Meet - Tori Sosnowski and John McGrail
The teams headed back to Williams, and their Mt. Greylock HS Cross Country course, looking to compete against the region's best teams and vie for a berth at the National Championships. Conditions were ideal - and perhaps even the unseasonable warmth would have a hindrance on some performances - and it was the guys who got the day started. Lining up in lane 8, on the right side of the starting line, the guys were looking for a great performance to turn the tides of the season and perhaps pull a shocker on the field. For the first time this season, they did get out aggressively and established themselves well within the race, and everyone had gotten out hard and showed they were definitely there to compete and lay it on the line. Will Yochum put himself in the front pack, while Steve Corsello was a few yards back but within the Top Ten - both hoping that if the team was not abel to advance, that they would be in a position to be able to grab individual spots. Behind the front two, a strong Amherst pack of John McGrail, Patrick Grimes, Andrew Erskine and Dillon Buckley were racing great - with only a few yards separating the group. As the race progressed into the later stages, Yoch's - along with a Middlebury and Williams runner - would pull away from the rest of the field, and then it was a battle for the title that was ultimately decided in the last big downhill of the woods before coming out onto the field when the other two runners pulled away, leaving Yoch's to finish 3rd. Steve raced in the Top 10 through about 3.5 miles but than started to slip back through the pack, and would end up finishing 23rd - an All-New England performance but a few places shy of earning one of the 7 individual bids. Behind the front two, the guys were fighting like hell but just were not able to come up with enough magic despite being the best that they had competed this season John would finish up his Amherst XC career with a 49th place finish running 26:58. Classmates Andrew and Dillon rounded out the scoring as the 4th and 5th runners, coming through at 66 and 75th. Pat faded to a 90th place finish while Jack Seaver would be just above the century mark, finishing up his XC career with a 28:08 mark.The guys came in ranked 10th, and that seeding held up as they finished 10th with 216 points. Individually, Will Yochum advanced to next weekend's National Championships.
The women followed the men's race at 12:00, and they knew they were in for a fight as there were 3 teams that were ranked in the top ten nationally in front of them - Middlebury #1, Williams #3 and MIT #7. Not worrying about numbers, and just focused on competing, the ladies got out well and established themselves immediately up at or near the front of the race and would not relinquish the hold. Ali Simeone was never out of the front three, often leading the pack that continued to thin out as the race got deeper further along. Melissa Sullivan kept Ali in sight as she would put herself right around the Top 10, while about 10-20 places behind her, the rest of the team was in full force. Liza Schalch and Tori Sosnowski were racing with each other, while Christina Wong and Angie Epifano were just off them with Hallie Schwab following just behind. As they headed into the final mile - hitting the woods and hilly trail portion - Ali was running beside a Keene St runner in a battle for 2nd when she took a fall that took her out of contention for that runner-up position but she recovered quickly enough to get back on her feet, brush off the spill and would hold on for a 3rd place finish. Sully raced strong and maintained focus in one of her best XC races, as she would finish 11th overall. First year Tori Sosnowski had a fabulous race as she would come across the line in 20th and got under 23 minutes for the 6k. Senior Tri-Captain Christina Wong - missing last year's region meet and NCAA's due to mono - would not be denied this year, and finished 4th for the team, coming across at 34th with first year Angie Epifano coming across immediately afterwards in 35th - the Top 35 runners earn All New ENgland honors. Senior Tri-captain Hallie Schwab, battling a cold for the 2nd half of the week raced great and found a little extra in the final 1/4 mile as she closed up a lot of distance and was able to just nip a scoring runner from Williams at the line. Liza Schalch had a bit of an off race in comparison to her more recent races but was still able to fight for a 42nd place finish. The team had 5 women earn All New England honors, and their 3rd place finish advances them on to the National Championships next weekend at Iowa where they will battle the best teams in the country for running supremacy.
ECAC Championships Nov 6th
Runner of the Meet - Jasia Kaulbach and Andrew Erskine
Despite sitting out several runners on both sides - the top 4 men and 6 women were resting up for Districts but did a very impressive 2 Mile Time Trial on Friday - the teams headed down to Bristol, RI, and Colt State Park, to compete at the ECAC Championships. The course was in pretty good condition, and despite some narrow parts in the wooded sections, proved to be a decent course to run quickly. The men got the day started and the focus of the race would be to simply compete, and they did a great job doing just that. Andrew Erskine, looking for a big confidence boost from the race, got what he was looking for as he went out towards the front of the pack and would finish in 8th place, finishing solidly for the first real good race of the season and perhaps just the spark that the team needs next week. Dillon Buckley earned All-ECAC honors (Top 15 earn the accolades) with his 14th place finish, and ran his fastest 8k time ever. Senior Jack Seaver - a walk-on who had not even broken 18 minutes in high school for the 5k - has been one of the hardest working guys on the team, and all of that work paid off as he finished 26th in a PR of 27:04 and will have the opportunity to run at Regional's next week. Gus Greenstein just missed cracking the Top 50 with his 27:43, with teammate and fellow Californian Kevin Hanley a few steps behind. Kevin Heintz and Eli Home each had their best races of the year finishing at 28:16 and 28:20 and using impressive finishing kicks to move ahead of several runners.
The women, hoping to showcase their own depth and solidify the team racing at Regional's the next week, got out hard and quickly established themselves at the front of the pack and competed awesome. As they came out of the woods trail the 2nd time and starting to head back towards the finish, it was first year Angie Epifano that had moved herself into the top Ten, and would eventually finish 9th with a big PR of 23:02 for the 6k and lead a big wave of purple. Senior captain Mercedes Taylor and Sarah Daly each earned All-ECAC honors as they finished in 12th and 13th - less than 3 seconds apart from one another. First year Jasia Kaulbach made her 6k debut a memorable one as she finished 18th, running a super time of 23:26. Sophomore classmates Keri Lambert and Lauren Almeida finished 21 and 24, each running to new 6k prs of 23:36 and 23:45. Shannon McKenna closed out the seven as she placed 41st in 24:32. The meet not only provided the team with a 3rd place finish - losing a nailbiter to Williams by 1 point for 2nd - but also some great times for their hard efforts to finish out the season.
NESCAC Championships Oct 30th
Runners of the Meet - Hallie Schwab and Steve Corsello
The teams headed to Hamilton College to challenge for conference honors, as well as taking on the challenges that the recent rainy weather had done to the course. It was a true cross country affair, leaving not a part of the body clean and even spikes of 3 inch length would have done little for traction in numerous spots on the course. The men toed the line first, and while the top two runners got out well, the rest of the team did not react as well and quickly found themselves buried far back in the pack. Will Yochum quickly moved into the lead pack which soon broke into a 3 person pack before eventual winner Peter Kosgei would break away at about 3 miles to win his 4th title. It was a tight battle for the runner-up spot up until the final ascent when the Middlebury runner was able to open a gap, and Will got nipped at the line by a runner from behind but still finished 4th - earning his 3rd First team All-NESCAC honor. Steve Corsello, also getting out well in the race was in the Top 5 with 2 miles to go but his pack was reeled in by the chase pack and he showed a lot of guts to hang on to 12th place - earning All NESCAC honors for his efforts. Unfortunately the brightest spots on the day were in the front two, and the difficulty of the course made it nearly impossible to do a lot of moving up through the race and because the guys did not get out well, it made for a long race. John McGrail finished 3rd for the team while Dillon Buckley would finish 4th for the team at 70th, and Patrick Grimes closing up the scoring at 82nd.
The women got the chance to run the course after the guys had chewed it up, and fortunately for them, they only hit the field loop one time rather than twice like the men had. It was quickly apparent that the relaxed pace from last week would not be repeated, and the race started to string out right from the start with Ali Simeone right at the front pack, with Melissa Sullivan just off the back of the front pack - both in excellent position. Behind them, the rest of the team had established themselves well - running in smaller packs and in great position in relation to where they needed to be. The front pack broke from about 10 runners to 8 then 5, with Ali in the thick of things and she ran a great race to eventually finish 5th - earning 1st Team All-NESCAC. Sully was obviously feeling the sting of the mud on her miler legs ran a gritty race to maintain her hold on the final All-NESCAC spot - 14th. Liza Schalch and Tory Sosnowski raced with each other for the race's entirety and in the last 400m, they kicked with each other to take down a few more names in the final stretch as both finished in the Top 25 with a great race. Hallie Schwab - in her 2nd race of the season took a huge step from a week ago and finished as the team's final scoring runner, finishing 32nd overall. Fellow senior Captains Mercedes Taylor and Christina Wong would come across a couple of seconds later to close out the Seven. There was not much time to get the rest of the runners as Sarah Daly just missed getting under 24 minutes and Angie Epifano came in a couple of steps after as both runners finished in the Top 50, and then shortly behind came Keri Lambert and Lauren Almeida who helped push each other throughout the race and would finished a mere two place apart in 60 and 62nd. As they had done last fall, the team would finish 3rd overall - an excellent performance in what is surely the strongest XC conference in the country.
Little Three Championships Oct 23rd
Runners of the Meet - Angie Epifano and Jack Seaver
The teams raced together for the last time as a big squad (the remaining meets have squad limits that will prohibit the full team participation) at the annual running of the Little Three Championships - this year at Wesleyan. With a huge crowd of supporters, a nearly perfect day for racing, the excitement to take on Wesleyan and Williams, and of course a great tailgate feast to follow the races - it was ideal for big things. The women got the day started and despite missing a couple of their scoring runners from the past couple of meets they were bolstered by the return of team captain Hallie Schwab, as well as first year Angie Epifano and sophomore Jamila Odeh. While the early going of the race was a very controlled pace that kept the front pack very tight it would lead to a lot of excitement when the ladies were in the trail portion of the course and out of sight from the spectators. As the runners return to the field portion, the race had separated into small packs with Ali Simeone left to battle Williams to runner, while Melissa Sullivan was in the chase pack and would finish 5th. Eliza Schalch, Christina Wong and Tory Sosnowski raced tremendously and would finish in succession in 8,9 and 10th to not only round out the scoring but also get 5 runners in before Williams 5. Hallie and Angie, running their first races of the year could not have had a better debut as they both ran phenomenal and were only passed by the Williams 5th runner just before the line - as they nearly were able to get our Top 7 in front of their scoring 5. Mercedes taylor had a strong race to crack the Top 20, while sophomore classmates Sarah Daly and Keri Lambert finished 2 spots apart but well under 20 minutes while Jasia Kaulbach finished 25th in 19:51. SHannon McKenna and Lisa Walker both cracked Top 30, finishing just above the 20 minute barrier. Laura Zaccagnino had her best race of the season running to a 20:18 mark while like Zacs, Kristen Moulton - beset by a summer injury that curtailed training significantly - showed a bit of the form that she displayed last year when at full health and had her best race this fall. Brooke Kirkham and Anna Hager finished strong to dip under the 50 mark, while Rebecca Alizzi and Bridget Bennett finished just above the benchmark. Amy Dao finished 57th, while Jamila Odeh - in her first race of the fall showed a lot of mettle to finish 59th.
The men showed great prowess up front, but faltered a little bit in the back of the scoring and finished behind Williams and Wesleyan. Will Yochum controlled the pace of the race, keeping it a little slower in the early going before he and teammate Steve Corsello along with Koima from Williams pulled away over the last mile of the race before Yoch's would ultimately pull away for the victory in the last 200m to win in 25:51. Corsello had his best race of the season - something that will certainly bolster the squad in the coming meets - to grab 3rd. John McGrail would finish 3rd for the team and 13th overall as he improved upon his past race but after him, the gap was a little too much to keep the team in contention as Travis Cohoon and Patrick Grimes were the final scoring runners in 24th and 27th. Alec Jacobson ran 6th for the team with a 27:29 while Dillon Buckley returned to racing after a 2 race hiatus to finish 7th for the team in 27:38 with Jack Seaver having one of his best, if not the best, races of his career to come across right after Dillon, and was followed in succession by Andrew Erskine and Kevin Hanley, and then first year Gus Greenstein was under 28 minutes as well with his 38th place finish. First year teammates Kevin Heintz and Alva Morales finished back to back, two seconds apart as both were at 28:30, and for Heintz, his best race of the fall. Eli Hoe did his best Bob Kempainen from the Olympic trials marathon finish in the homestretch but like Kemp, was still able to rally to the finish, narrowly missing the 29 minute barrier. Dan Burnett and Joe Nassirian each were well under 30 minutes while Ben Scheetz - anxiously looking forward to the track season - used his leg speed to ensure breaking 30 minutes.
New England Championship - Oct 9th
Runners of the Meet - Eliza Schalch and Patrick Grimes
The teams headed to the storied Franklin Park Cross Country course in Boston to take on some of NE's top teams and individuals across all three divisions. While some of the top DI teams did not send their top teams, there was plenty of competition in the 300+ person field. The race provided both a great chance to compete in a big field and test our mettle against other top teams. Races were split into Varsity races - limited to 7 runners - and then the remainder of the runners competing in the Sub Varsity race. The women's JV race was the first to toe the line, and Eliza Schalch threw herself into the fray as she got herself into the top 25 runners and would move up through the course of the race, as she would finish 16th in a 19:15 (a time that would have been good enough to be 3rd runner in the varsity race) while racing well behind her, Lauren Almeida, Mercedes Taylor and Sarah Daly all who finished well under 20 minutes and broke the Top 50. A trio of first year runners would finish within a couple of seconds and places of each other as Bridget Bennet, Jasia Kaulback and Lisa Walker rounded out the Top 7 in the race. Laura Zaccagnino continues to run well as she gets stronger from an early season injury, while Keri Lambert came across the line a second later. A mere 7 seconds separated our next three runners as Brooke Kirkham, Rebecca Alizzi and Amy Dao finished strong. In the varsity race, the pace was quick and the field went through the mile quickly and strung out the team in the throng of the huge field. Ali Simeone put herself in great position for late race battling and would drop 40 seconds off of her best franklin Park time as she not only ran to a time of 18:05 but also finished 15th to earn All-NE accolades. Melissa Sullivan had a great second half of the race, moving up well to finish well under 19 minutes and 43rd overall. After the front duo, the team looked a little bit off of where we had been in prior races but despite the struggles, they were able to battle and still grab a 4th place finish amongst DIII teams. Abby Hopper was 3rd for the team running 19:19, while Christina Wong ran to a 19:28 while Elodie Reed cranked the final stretch to run 19:38 and close the scoring, while first year Tori Sosnowski coming through the chute a few seconds later, while Shannon McKenna would round out the day.
The men had a day of mixed results, as there were some great performances and some that will need to be significantly improved for the team to be able to be in contention for an NCAA qualifying run later in the season. Will Yochum got off to a slower start in the first mile but would be moving up strongly until he found himself in a little bit of no-man's land caught between packs. In the last mile, he started to close up the gap and moved from 14th up to 8th - running 24:41 - the best time and place for an AMherst runner since Rob Mitchell's runner-up finish in the 1997. Steve Corsello and Patrick Grimes worked the whole race well together, with Grimes at one point starting to fall off but a great rally over the last mile brought him back as both runners finished just above 26 minutes. Adron Pitmon continues to get stronger and acclimated to the 5 mile distance as he ran 26:39. Andrew Erskine closed out the scoring, just cracking 27:00. In the JV race - the final race of the day - Kevin Hanley put together one of his best, if not the best, races of his career as the senior finished first for the guys squad, just missing breaking the 27 minute barrier. A pair of first years raced well, and within a few seconds of one another, as Alva Morales and Gus Greenstein, with Alec Jacobson just behind, all well under 28 minutes. Another first year, Joe Nassirian, looks to be finally turning some corners with the acclimation to college racing as he had his best race of the year and just missed dipping under 28 minutes, while closing out the scoring for the JV Squad. Jack Seaver and Eli Howe rounded out the top 7, while 800 meter runner Ben Scheetz had his best XC race running well under 29 minutes, with first year Kevin Heintz a few seconds behind. The teams will take the weekend off, as they prepare for the Championship portion of the season with the annual Little Three Championship next up on the docket.
Purple Valley Classic - Sept 25th
Runners of the Meet - Ali Simeone and Adron Pitmon
The meet at the Mt. Greylock course provided a few things for the team - a chance to run on the course where the Districts will be held in November; an opportunity to compete against several of the top teams in the region, and a true gauge of where things are at and what needs to be worked on as we continue with the season. With a 5k race - combined with men and women - that provided an option to split the team and run at a different distance for the men and kept the women out of the 6k, most of the first years also had an opportunity to factor directly into the scoring. While the majority of the first years ran the 5k, the rest of the team went at it in the 8k or 6k. The women dominated the 5k, as Lisa Walker grabbed her first college victory as she started strong and moved her way through the pack before taking control of the race in the last mile. jasia Kaulbach had a strong race to finish 4th overall, with Shannon McKenna returning from injury to cruise to a 5th place finish. Midwesterners Bridget Bennett and Brooke Kirkham rounded out the scoring with the their 8th and 12th place finish to seal the victory. Laura Zaccagnino, battling a hip injury that has limited training was able to return to racing with a very solid effort, and coming in just behind her in 20th was Amy Dao, with Rebecca Alizzi hot on her heels to also crack the Top 25, and Rudi Duan finishing the race for the Amherst crew with her 35th place. In the 6k, it was certainly a loaded field as several Nationally ranked teams went head to head, with Amherst coming out with a 5th place finish led by Ali Simeone's impressive runner-up finish in a very quick 22:19 for the 6k. The race started with a big pack that continue to break up as the race progressed until it became a three person race between Ali and 2 Williams runners. Christina Wong and Tori Sosnowski - as they did last weekend - raced very well together to finish in 28th and 30th, while only a few seconds behind and still under 24 minutes for the 6k was Abby Hopper who continues to show the impressive improvements started last spring . Elodie Reed had a great finish to finish 51st, and passing several runners in he final homestretch to round out the scoring. Mercedes Taylor returned to racing after a semester abroad last spring, and a late start due to injury, but despite using the race as a tempo type effort to get the rust off, she was still able to finish 6th for the team, with Eliza Schalch coming through the chute 3 places late. Sophomore classmates Keri Lambert, Lauren Almeida and Sarah Daly finished within 2 seconds of one another while Anna Hager rounded out the day with her 25:26 run.
The men went into the race knowing that they were with out a couple of key runners due to recent battles with the plague that has affected a lot of the team / school and despite the absence of them, had a decent race but one that should provide motivation for improved performances. With a lot of hard work being done in the first month of the season, the team looked a little flat but as it is early, and the work is more important at this point, the guys will use the race as incentive as they ready themselves for NE's in 2 weeks. Will Yochum started in the front of a big pack that slowly got strung out as the race progressed until the last mile when it became just a two person race between him and Middlebury's Mike Schmidt, who would ultimately pull away to win by a second - though the results appear to have it as a 19 second gap. Adron Pitmon returned to racing for the first time this year, and stepped up nicely with his 33rd place finish. Dillon Buckley dipped under 28 minutes while Andrew Erskine continues to recover from the plague that bested him earlier in the season but was able to finish as the 4th man. John McGrail, tempoing the race as he continues his return from injury moved up very well throughout the race to finish as the 5th man, a spot ahead of Patrick Grimes - who's early over zealousness in running at the front of the pack cost him as the race progressed, but was still able to remain focused to finish 6th for the team. Alec Jacobson rounded out the Top 7 with his 98th place finish, and first year Alva Morales came in a few places behind him, just missing breaking the Top 100. Seniors Kevin Hanley and Jack Seaver, who have been putting in some great training looked a little flat in their race but a break in the training cycle should be just what the doctor ordered! Eli Howe finished the day out for the Amherst contingent as he just missed getting under 30 minutes on the challenging course.
UMass Invite September 18th
Runners of the Meet - Will Yochum and Lisa Walker
On a perfect day for racing, the teams headed through the trails over to UMass to compete against UMass, Vermont, Maine, Boston College and UConn in a small but very competitive meet. While ultimately placing 5th in each race, the teams more then held their own and the races should certainly bode very well as we proceed in the coming weeks. Ali Simeone and Melissa Sullivan worked together along with Christina Wong and Tori Sosnowski for the opening 2 mile before ratcheting it up in the last mile and moving up quickly on the field to finish 13th and 18th, while Christina and Tori would placed 25th and 27th with same times of 18:51. The final scoring spot came from the ever improved Abby Hopper who nearly broke 19:00 to place 30th overall. The sophomore trio of Elodie Reed, Lauren Almeida and Keri Lambert finished between 19:15 and 19:35 and then shortly after came another pack of purple with a couple Amherst debuts in Brooke Kirkham, Bridget Bennett times in 19:37 and Liza Schalch with them as well, and then in a big XC PR just off this pack was first year Lisa Walker who ran 19:43. Jasia Kaulbach hit the 20:00 on the head while Amy Dao, Anna Hager and Rebecca Alizzi all finished under 21 minutes for the course while Ruodi Duan finished the course in 21:33
The men were without a couple of key runners, and another couple have been battling illness but used the race as a workout, and despite that they still competed extremely well. Senior captain Will Yochum took control of the race just after the 3 mile mark and never looked back as he cruised to a convincing 20 second win, running a very fast 25:12. Fellow captain Steve Corsello pushed his cold away for the duration of the race and finished 11th in a very gutsy race. Patrick Grimes had his best XC race thus far to finish 3rd for the team in 24th, with classmate Dillon Buckley a couple of steps behind while senior travis Cohoon rounded out the scoring for the men with his 37th place finish. First Alvaro Morales got off to a slow start but built up as the race progressed and closed great in the last mile to finish as 6th man while Kevin Hanley rounded out the Varsity 7 with his 45th place finish and had teammate Alec Jacobson right on his heels. Andrew Erskine battling the plague was healthy enough to use the race as more of a workout but was not able to race it in the manner that we will but was still abel to crack the Top 50 along with Jack Seaver who hit the 1/2 century mark square on. Eli Howe found some extra reserves in the last stretch of the race to out kick another runner, while Ben Scheetz - more of an 800 guy - broke 30 minutes convincingly as did a trip of first year runners who handled the 5 mile distance for the first - Joe Nassirian, Charlie Reighard and Dan Burnett.
Amherst Invite - September 11th
Runners of the Meet - Abby Hopper and Jack Seaver
With conditions nearly ideal for racing, and the lack of rainfall this summer providing for solid footing on the trails and field loop, the team got started with the 2010 campaign. With the other fall teams away for the weekend, the XC got the opportunity to open up the home season with the first two victories at Amherst for the year. While the team was sitting out a large number of runners due to the length of the season, or to provide a little more preparation for the start of racing, those that did toe the line had the opportunity to step up into scoring roles and they did not disappoint. Christina Wong - away from the team last spring while she was abroad - came back strong as she cruised to her first ever college victory, running away from the field in a time of 20:13. On the strength of her victory, she was also named the NESCAC Runner of the Week. The rest of the team certainly took their lead from their captain as the Purple Wave continued in force as they would sweep the first 7 spots to post a perfect score of 15 on the field. Eliza Schalch and first year Tori Sosnowski finished a stride apart as they both ran 20:30, while Abby Hopper had a great race running her fastest XC time ever to finish 4th in 20:37 while Keri Lambert rounded out the scoring with her 5th place run in 20:40. First year Lisa Walker ran a 20:52 in probably one her first races that was not at altitude (she hails from Colorado) while Melissa Pritchard closed out the top 7. Elodie Reed and first year Jasia Kaulbach came across the line in the Top15, while Anna Hager and Amy Dao each cracked the Top 20, and Rebecca Alizzi came across in 22nd while first year Ruodi Duan finished the day with her 30th place showing in the field of 52 runners.
The men's victory was led by a trio of seniors as Travis Cohoon, Jack Seaver and Kevin Hanley who took control of the race from the start and would finish 2, 3 and 5 to spearhead the charge in their final races on the Amherst course. After the front trio, it was a dominant force of purple as the next 10 finishers across the line would be Amherst runners with Dillon Buckley and first year Alva Morales rounding out the scoring, and Patrick Grimes and Alec Jacobson finishing out the varsity seven. Several first year guys got the feel for college racing with their debuts as Charlie Reighard, Dan Burnett, Kevin Heintz and Joe Nassirian all donned the Amherst purple for the first time and will build upon today's race. Next week the team's will head through the trails to compete at UMass in a small but very competitive 5 team field comprised of all Division I teams, and for the men, it will be their first crack at the 5 mile distance. While this week's race was used more for a training purpose, the UMass meet will get the team in their spikes, include all the runners and give a better sense of where people are at in regards to their training.