Most recent meets first
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NCAA National Championships - Nov 19th
As a result of, and a reward for, his outstanding race at the Regional Championships, Andrew Erskine got the opportunity to run against the best runners in the country at the National Championships held at the Lake Breeze Golf course in Osh-Kosh, Wisconsin. The course was entirely on a golf course, and the layout consisted of 3 large loops around the slightly rolling course but for all intensive purposes - it was very flat and fast. Having had the race of his life the weekend before, and with his team doing the same, running 7 days later and for himself - it did not yield the same results but did provide a great experience, and one which will be built on next fall. After a restart due to a fall by several runners, Andrew got out well and put himself into good position as he was about 50th through the mile in 4:49 - leader going through in 4:34 - and maintaining that position through the 2 mile in 9:54. By 3 miles, hit in 15:06, he was in 100th and was not as relaxed looking as he had been the week before at the same point in the race, and a 4th mile in 5:28 had dropped him down to 155th, and then would end up finishing in 183rd in a time of 25:49 to put a finish on the year. Experience gained at the meet will certainly be invaluable, as well as will be the ability to stay focused on the NCAA meet as a focal point as opposed to hitting the peak perfectly the week before, andhopefully he will be joined by the rest of the team next fall when the meet is in Terra Haute, Indiana. Only time will tell, but now we look forward to a great track season to build on our fall success!
New England Regionals - Nov 12th
Runner of the Meet - Andrew Erskine
The men headed north to Bowdoin for the New England Regional Championships, and a chance to race against the best of New England and an opportunity to put a great fall of training into a race indicative of their hard work. Unlike recent years, the Regional course was flat and one that would most likely yield some fast times and potential PR's for those who were willing to get after it. Still looking for that great race - individually and collectively - the men were focused on taking advantage of the course, the competition and all their hard work this year, and wanted to make a statement. Knowing the course would be flat but also tight in many places, we felt it important to be aggressive and get ourselves out into good position early and then do everything that we could to stay there. The gun fired at high noon and the men in purple got off the line well and put themselves in good position at the initial bottleneck and then around the 800 mark, Andrew Erskine, Pat Grimes and Ben Scheetz were out very well - in the Top 10 at the moment - while Greg Turissini, Dillon Buckley, KC Fussell and Eli Howe were amongst the masses but out well and established. As they came out of the woods shortly after the mile mark, Andrew and Grimey were in the Top 10 while Ben was settling himself into his race, and KC was moving his way through the field to get himself into position while the guys behind were looking great. In talking about the race, it was important to get into position of where we wanted to finish by the 3 mile mark and try and lock into that race and as they came through 3 mile, Andrew was in a tight pack of 5 other runners in spots 3-8 while Grimey was running close behind in about 15th. Fuss had moved up into the 30 or so range while the rest of the guys were still knocking off a fast clip in about 60 - 75th place. Knowing that the Top 7 individuals would advance to NCAA's, Andrew would not relinquish his position and as he headed onto the field for that last time, he was in a mad dash for the finish line with NCAA's on his mind and he crossed the line in 6th in a time of 25:01 - a huge race, and that one that we had been focused on all season. Not to be outdone, Grimey came through 12 seconds later finishing 19th overall - 4 people shy of making the trip to NCAA's but a phenomenal race and a big PR. Fuss came through in 25:31 - a big time race for the first year from Monson MA while it was the 800 NCAA Champion in Ben Scheetz who would finish 4th for the team in a 26:12 with Greg coming through in 26:20 in 74th to close out the scoring. Captain Dillon Buckley ran his PR of 26:29, while classmate Eli also knocked over a minute off of his best XC time. In the team scoring, the guys finished 8th - only 3 points from 30th place Nationally ranked Brandeis, 10 points form 17th ranked MIT and 30 points from the 5th and final potential NCAA qualifying spot, and most importantly, a huge performance that may have caught others by surprise but one that they have busted their butts for all season. While the team will think about track, Andrew will think about focusing his attention on NCAA's and trying to better his performance from this weekend with an even stronger run at Osh-Kosh on Saturday.
ECAC's - Nov 5th
Runner of the Meet - Gus Greenstein
With the Top 6 guys sitting out this weekend, having done a nice and windy 2 Mile Time Trial the evening before, the ECAC's held at Williams provided the next Seven guys a great chance to run in a championship field and have a direct factor in the scoring. If this race is going to be an indicator of things to come at Districts next weekend at Bowdoin, then the guys made sure to set the bar as they had a great race and stuck to pre-race plans throughout with great focus and determination. While the early stages of the race saw some different strategies as Gus Greenstein got out pretty hard, running in the Top 15 for the first 3 miles or so while the other guys would start out a little off that and move up in the last mile or so and by 4 miles Gus, Eli Howe, Alva Morales and Romey Sklar were all within site of each other, and Alec Jacobson and Geoff Ainslie were racing solid races of their own. There were some surges and moves, and times when the first guy seemed to have put in a little gap but by the time the trio of Gus, Eli and Alva reached the finish line they did it in a virtual tie with Gus and Eli coming across together in 32 and 33 while Alva was 1 second back in 34th, and then 11 seconds off this pack came Romey Sklar dipping under 28 minutes, and captain Alec Jacobson closing the books on the scoring in his last race for Amherst. Also finishing up his XC career for the Jeffs, was Geoff Ainslie who had arguably his best race of the season coming in at 28:15, while Charlie Reighard finished the day for the team with his 29:02. On the day, the teams 27 second 1-5 split helped garner them a 6th place finish. Some of the guys will finish up with a 2Mile Time Trial this week while Eli and Gus will get ready, along with Andrew, Greg, Fuss, Grimey, Ben and Dillon, for an even bigger race at the Regional Championships on Saturday at Bowdoin.
NESCAC's - Oct 29th
Runner of the Meet - Eli Howe
Amherst played host to this year's NESCAC Championship after last serving as the home course in 2000. While fortunate that the snow that inflicted so much damage to the area held off, mother nature would certainly have a role in the day as the inundation of rain throughout the fall made the conditions of the field loop extremely wet and muddy despite a great deal of work on the course to get it into the best shape as possible. The trails were okay - in some places great while in others, a slippery and muddy but it was the field loop that the runners went through twice that was the big story with some spots having mud and water well above the shoes for long stretches at a time, and there were numerous runners coming through the finish line without a shoe. Knowing the course and aware of the conditions, we took a gamble and chose to run a less aggressive race then normal, and opted to hang back a little bit with the expectation that the legs would be a little fresher for the last two miles, and at that point start to attack both the course and the those runners in front but in hind sight, the coaching gamble did not work out as well as hoped. Perhaps the gamble, perhaps the necessity of being focused more on the meet direction instead of being able to coach as well as I should have or more likely the combination of both factors played a role in a less then ideal finish. While the packing effort was impressive, the fact that it did not begin until after too many runners had come through the line negated some of those benefits. It was KC Fussell who proved the best finisher on the day, as he moved from about 55th just after the 3 mile mark and would finish in 39th to lead the team in a 27:07. Separated by 3 seconds and 3 places came our next three guys as Andrew Erskine, Greg Turissini and Patrick Grimes finished 47th, 49th and 50th respectively while Dillon Buckley closed out the scoring 5 with his 55th place finish - having a 25 second gap separating the 1-5 runners. Ben Scheetz, in not the most favorable conditions for a guy who prefers the 800, was well under 28 minutes on the day as our 6th runner, and Eli Howe had the best day for an Amherst runner as he cracked the Top 7 for the first time this year with a great race that saw him come just shy of breaking 28 minutes on the day. The next 5 guys - NESCAC's race 12 - finished with in 9 seconds of each other and 8 places, and worked the majority of the race together - as Charlie Reighard had his "A" game going with his 28:33 time while Gus Greenstein and Alec Jacobson each ran 28:35 and Alva Morales and Geoff Ainslie each ran 28:42. As the team talked after the race, the infamous October Blizzard started to take shape and who would know that a few hours later, that Mother Nature would provide a very nasty trick for Halloween in the form of over a foot of snow, and downed trees, wires and loss of electricity.
Little Three's - Oct 15th
Runner of the Meet - Alec Jacobson
The team headed back up to the Purple Valley for the 2nd time this season, this time for the annual running of the Little Three Championships and also the last meet in which the entire team would toe the line as the races hereafter are limited in squad sizes. The tendency in the race is that the pace usually lingers a bit and starts to get cranked up in the last couple of miles and Andrew Erskine sought to take advantage of a slow pace early by trying to make a gutsy break and moved quickly into the lead and had opened up a pretty sizeable gap through the middle of the race but the combination of front running and the wind took its toll and he got caught shortly after 3 miles by the chase pack. KC Fussell and Patrick Grimes were both in the middle of the pack, while Dillon Buckley was having a great race a little behind in the second pack with Greg Turissini following behind. Throughout the rest of the race, the guys did a great job responding to hollers to move up and find your teammates, and as a result, we got several great races from people that were aided by the response. Alec Jacobson kept very strong and consistent and was moving up throughout the whole race and picking guys up as he came through, and often times forcing them to move with him and he nearly cracked the Top 7 - losing out in a kick to fellow VTer Adron Pitmon. Ben Scheetz finished 6th for the team as he continues to build confidence with XC and his ability to have an impact for the team. Romey Sklar, Alva Morales and Eli Howe finished within a handful of seconds from each other, while 2 spots back came Charlie Reighard with one of his better XC races and teammate Lucas Lebovitz - both breaking 28:30. One second off the 28:30 mark but with an outstanding race was senior Geoff Ainslie. Nick Codola and Alex Durkee would both get under 31 minutes on the day, and surely an 800 will feel much easier come track season after dealing with 5 miles of hills, mud and XC love. After the dust had settled, the team feel a couple of points shy of Wesleyan to finish 3rd but with a lot of great things coming from the race, the guys will be looking for a big rebound when we host the NESCAC Championships in 2 weeks.
New England's - Oct 8th
Runner of the Meet - Nick Codola
After the weekend off from racing last week, the team headed into Boston to compete against nearly all of the schools in New England at the NEICAAA Championships at Franklin Park. There were two races - the JV got underway first at 11:45 with the Varsity race at 1:15. Unseasonably warm weather saw temps in the mid 80's but otherwise good conditions for the race. In the varsity race, the team finished 19th overall and as the 6th DIII team. Andrew Erskine was the first finisher for the team coming through in 26:16 with Patrick Grimes and KC Fussell coming across the line within 10 seconds of Andrew. First year Greg Turissini made his racing debut and a solid one, as he finished 4th for the team, just dipping under 27 minutes. Dillon Buckley closed out the scoring with his 27:15 finish and Adron Pitmon and Gus Greenstein closed out the day for the men of Amherst. The heat, and a bit of a pileup early in the race, had an impact on some of the times but the guys competed tough and finished ahead of a couple of teams that were ranked ahead of of them in the regional rankings. In the JV section, it was NCAA 800 champ who found his XC legs, as Ben Scheetz led the team with his 27:01 race - a time that would have been good enough to factor into the scoring in the varsity race. Romey Sklar, quite familiar with the course, got to see it from a 5 mile perspective for the first time, coming through as the team's #2 runner while Alva Morales battled both the heat and illness to come through as the 3rd runner for the team, with first year Lucas Lebovitz making his 5 mile debut a sub 28 minute one, and Eli Howe would close out the scoring for the team as he came across the line 3 seconds after. Charlie Reighard and Geoff Ainslie came through a few seconds apart and then Nick Codola would have the race of the day as he would finish in 29:14 - well under 30 minutes - in his first 5 mile race, while class mate Alex Durkee hit his goal time of 30:30 on the money in his first crack at the 5 mile distance.
Purple Valley Classic - Sept 24th
Runner of the Meet - Patrick Grimes
The team headed up to Williamstown, and the Mt. Greylock HS course - a course that we will see two more times this season. While the rain had been heavy the day and night before leaving the course a bit soggy in places, race day conditions were nearly ideal. There were two races, as the meet had a JV section allowing runners to square off in a 5k and then the typical 8k distance. The 5k race got the day started off and it provided a good opportunity for a couple of guys to get their seasons started while others got to race at a distance shorter then the normal to ease into the transition to the 5 mile distance. Ben Scheetz and first year Lucas Lebovitz got out well and established themselves in the Top 10 early and it would be Lucas who would lead the squad with his 8th place finish while Scheetz hung on for a top 15 finish. Greg Turissini made his debut in the Amherst uniform albeit in trainers and running the race as a workout as he continues to transition to land workouts from the pool. Kevin Heintz would come across the line next, while the first year duo of Nick Codola and Alex Durkee battled each other to the line, with Nick coming in just ahead and closing out the scoring.
A few minutes after the 5k finished up, the varsity race got under way and Andrew Erskine put himself up in contention with the front group, while the rest of the squad settled into good position behind him. The day some guys returning to good health while at the same time, unfortunately, a couple of guys were taking their turns with poor health and the racing was impacted by some of the poor health. Despite a great week of training, Andrew would succumb to the cold and struggled in the 2nd half to finish 3rd for the team. First year KC Fussell put in a great 2nd half in his first 5 mile effort and would lead the team with his 24th place despite "not having a good feel for the distance" Patrick Grimes, using a different strategy than normal, laid off the early pace and had a great last mile to move through hills and a lot of the field to finish in the Top 30, and running his best XC race to date. Sophomores Gus Greenstein and Alva Morales closed out the scoring, with Gus turning in a very solid run while Alva shook off an Achilles injury / bee sting reaction last week and limited running during the week to help the team with a great showing. Adron Pitmon came in right behind Alva and then a couple of seconds and places after him came first year runner Romey Sklar to close out the day. Captains Dillon Buckley and Alec Jacobson would be the next Jeffs across the line, with Alec having a particularly strong showing with a great 2nd half in which he closed a great deal on the rest of the guys. Eli Howe (illness) and Charlie Reighard (limited running during he week due to a toe injury) were a bit off in their races and will look to rebound in a big way next time out. The team finished 6th overall, and will look to improve against the teams that were here at Williams and who will be at NE's in 2 weeks when they race again. As we prepare for the New England Championships, the team will take a recovery week to cap a great 4 week block of training and high mileage and get the legs back under them.
UMass Invite - Sept 17th
Runner of the Meet - Adron Pitmon
The men of Amherst XC got the 2011 season underway by running through the woods over to UMass and competing against 5 other DI and DII teams. The course was altered due to the recent rain fall and as a result was a little shy of 5 miles that it would normally be, clocking in - according to Charlie's Garmen watch at 4.453 miles. Despite several runners suffering from colds and either not racing or modifying the effort of the race combined with keeping the front group together in a controlled tempo effort through 3miles before letting them pick things up in the last part of the race it was a very strong showing to open up the season. The pack of 6 through 3 miles was missing Alvaro Morales who after finding out he was allergic to bee stings the night before, was felled 1/2 mile into the race by a spike across the Achilles Andrew Erskine helped to control the pack before opening up a gap in the last mile and a half and would finish in 23:23 and 19th place, while the 2-5 runners had a small 8 second gap between them as Adron Pitmon returned to racing to finish 2nd for the team while Dillon Buckley, Patrick Grimes and first year KC Fussell would close out the scoring. Gus Greenstein ran under 24 minutes to finish as 6th runner for the team with Eli Howe closing out the Top 7 with his 42nd place finish as the men would finish in 6th on the day. Charlie Reighard had a solid run as his miles over the summer are obviously paying off as he was well under 25 minutes, with first year harrier Romey Sklar battling a cold (and coaches orders to only go the first 2-3 miles) was also under 25 minutes, with Geoff Ainslie - returning to XC after the fall abroad last year - a few seconds behind. Alex Durkee - wanting to get the full feel for XC rather than a portion, ran to a 27:49 for the distance.