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NE Districts - November 10th
With Five teams ranked in the Top 14 in the country already in the region, the chances for cracking the needed 5 were going to be tough odds but the mentality and focus seemed to be where it needed to be in order to have a chance. Using the race from the week before as a bit of a catalyst, and knowing that positioning would be key the guys put themselves in good position for the start of the race. While the pace dawdled in comparison to the relative strength of the field - opening mile in about 5:05 - there was a huge pack of people at the front, and Amherst was well represented up where they needed to be. As the race took the the turn from the field into the much narrower trails of the woods portion, things went from great to bad quickly as Fuss got pinched in a narrow spot of the trails and found himself airborne courtesy of a hockey like check into the woods. Trying to scramble back onto his feet and into the fray proved difficult due to space and it seemed to not only impact his race due to losing a great deal of position but the others who were right there and saw it let it get to their heads. The pace slowly started to pick up in the 2nd mile and the combination of Fuss going down, things bottle necking up in the trails and things picking up at the front, the guys took a step back in their position and lost contact with one another. As they headed into the outer trail for the long loop in the woods, Andrew was in 18th at the back of the front pack but our next guy was back in about 50th with guys spread about 10-15 places apart after him and any hope of cracking the needed Top Five was clearly not going to happen, and the fire in the eyes showed that realization. Andrew was the lone member on the All-Region team but his 29th place finish left him short of an individual qualifying spot. Greg would finish 2nd for the team in 54th, with Fuss valiantly fighting back for a 68th place and 26:24 finish and then Gus Greenstein and Romey Sklar came in 81st and 86th to finish off the scoring as the men finished outside of the Top 10 in 11th place. While a frustrating way to finish the season off, and certainly a head scratcher the hard work that the men put in during the season, and in preparation for it, will be valuable during the track season and the overall result will provide extra incentive for a great upcoming season of redemption.
ECAC's - November 3rd
Runner of the Meet - Dan Crowley
The men ventured to the snow covered mountains of Williamstown for the ECAC Championships looking to get after it a bit in the their racing and try to bring home their first ECAC title. From the firing of the starting gun, it was apparent that the mentality of the group was all about making things happen and racing hard, as we had a group of 4 guys - Dillon, Charlie, Alva and Gus - in the front group of 7-8 guys, while Romey and Dan were working together a little behind but in the Top 15 and Eli was in great position in about 25th. At about the midway point, the front group consisted of the initial 4 along with a Williams and Tufts runner and at that point Charlie made a move to try and break things up rather than staying within the group and perhaps was a little too early for it, as he would fade as the group caught back up to him. Heading into the woods for the final time, Dillon and Gus - both who had done the majority of the front running and pace pushing - continued to lead the race as it was now down to 4 (the Tufts and Williams guys running on theirs heels but not touching the lead). Alva had dropped back in the pack, while at the same time Romey was moving up quickly as he entered the woods in about 8-9th place amongst a group of Bates runners and Dan was having a great race in about 15th place. As the runners came out of the woods and started back towards the finish, Dillon and Gus were still 1-2 but Gus would drop to 4th in the last 1/2 mile while Dillon's front running would end with about 400m to go as he would get out kicked and finish 3rd - tying the best individual finish for an Amherst runner - while Gus would come in next in 4th. Romey, who had been charging hard in the last mile, moved all the way up to 5th with a great race and then Dan Crowley had a big last straightaway to out kick a Tufts runner, grabbing not only 15th BUT also the final All-ECAC spot and then right on his heels, came Alva in 17th. Charlie would finish 22nd and Eli rounded out the day in 30th, and with all 7 in the Top 30 including 4 earning All-ECAC honors, the team was able to take the title by 10 points and with the racing being of the manner that the team needs for there to be any chance for extending the season to include a trip to Indiana, the hope is that everyone take the lead from this weekend and brings the same attitude to Westfield and our Regional Championships!
NESCAC's - October 27th
Runner of the Meet - Romey Sklar
The men headed to Bowdoin for the NESCAC Championships and the conditions were absolutely perfect - the course flat, dry and fast while the temperatures were ideal and then , when combined by the incredible strength of the conference you could not ask for anything more. The race got out quick and would just continue to hammer away with some of the countries best teams and runners pounding away at one another. Andrew Erskine put himself in the front pack for the first time this year, and while he would fall off that group in the last 2k and finish 16th, it as a great step forward for him and should provide some valuable momentum as we head into the District Championship in 2 weeks. Pat Grimes also put himself up in the front 15 for the majority of the race before sliding back to 39th and finishing 2nd for the team, but again the presence of being where he belongs for the first time this season should be extremely valuable in 2 weeks when all the chips are on the table. KC Fussell grabbed the 3rd spot for the team but was not up as far towards the front as ideally needed to be and while he tried valiantly to get up there in the later stages, it would be a little tough to make the moves that were needed, though he worked very well with Grimes for the majority of the last 2 miles, as they would finish within 2 places. Our 4-6 guys - Charlie Reighard, Alva Morales and Gus Greenstein formed a great working trio early into the race and would run as a pack before splintering a little bit in he waning stages of the race but would still finish with 5 spots of each other as all three runners would record 5 mile PRs on the fast course. Romey Sklar certainly had his best race of his young career as he not only secured his first varsity 7 showing but also ran significantly faster then he has, running a very strong 2nd half of the race to grab a Top 60 finish in 26:17, with first year harrier Dan Crowley coming in a few ticks behind him in 26:27 to run his first race under 27 minutes. Eli Howe dipped under 27 minutes for the first time this season, as he ran to a 26:50 time finishing 82nd overall. With some good came some not so good, as regular scoring runners Dillon Buckley and Greg Turissini - our top runner all season thus far - struggled throughout and both were well outside of the scoring points which had an impact on the overall finish as the team grabbed 7th place. With the Top 5 teams all ranked in the Top 17 of the country, and knowing that only a maximum of 5 teams will advance on to the National Championships in 2 weeks, the guys know that they have their work cut out for them and will get ready to prepare to have their best performances at Westfield in 2 weeks. As a prep to that, some of the runners will compete at the ECAC Championships this coming weekend at Williams and will look to take a shot at winning the team's first ever ECAC title.
Little Three's - October 13th
Runner of the Meet - Dillon Buckley
An early morning frost turned into a beautiful day for the annual running of the Little Three Championships held right here at home. Construction and a new fence caused some slight adjustments to the course and the recent rains left the back stretch of the field loop a little soggy, but nothing took away from the competitiveness of the meet. With all three teams having great family representation for the tailgating afterwards, as well as a strong alumni presence, it proved to be a wonderful day all around. While the men had hoped to put an end to the impressive winning streak of Williams, it was the Ephs who again had the upper hand. The men in black got the race going quickly, and were determined to make it a 5 mile race rather than an easy opening couple of miles with a hard last 2 miles but despite their efforts at breaking things up, Williams would prevail as they put their Top 4 guys in front of our first guy, Greg Turissini who had led a lot of the race and would ultimately finish 6th in 26:23. KC Fussell ran his best race of the season this far, coming in 8th and looking like the beast that he was as a first year, and Andrew Erskine would come in hot on his heels in 9th place. Seniors Dillon Buckley and Patrick Grimes should a lot of spark as they finished 11th and 12th - Dillon with one of his best XC races, and Grimey finding that fire that will surely bolster the team as we proceed further into the season. Junior classmates Gus Greenstein, Charlie Reighard and Alva Morales would come in a few seconds later in 14th,16th and 17th, and while on the short end of the stick in the scoring the depth of the team was evident as our 8th runner was in before Williams seventh. Dan Crowley, for the 3rd meet in a row was the team's top first year harrier as he ran to a 27:39. Eli Howe has his best race of the season to come in 10th for the team while Adron Pitmon - having been out for the past 2 weeks with an injury and finding his land legs a little shaky - came in just after Eli. First year Jeff Seelaus continues to battle some breathing issues that have hindered his racing but still fought to a Top 35 finish, while classmates Brent Harrison and Scott Gemmell-Davis had real strong efforts in their first Little Three battle. Nick Codola, Alex Durkee and Cole Hawkins worked well together during the race and would ultimately finish in order to put a cap on the day. The men will focus on some quality training over the next 2 weeks as we prepare for what is surely going to be en epic battle at NESCAC's.
James Earley Invite - October 6th
Runner of the Meet - Cole Hawkins
While some of the team's top runners to this point of the season) who had raced the weekend before sat out, the rest of the team headed to the James Earley Invitational at Westfield. The course is the same one that will be run on for the Regional Championships later in November so it provided a great opportunity to get the chance to see the course. Those not competing did a solid workout on the course prior to the start of the race while the others got to have a major role in the team success. Charlie Reighard took advantage of the opportunity to lead the team as he put himself in good position early and then moved up well in the 2nd half of the race and would finish in 20th - one position in front of captain Dillon Buckley, who had a nice rebound of a race after an off race the week before. First year Dan Crowley - very family with the Stanley park course having run on it numerous times in high school (over the 5k distance) had a great last couple of miles and a big finishing kick to work himself into the Top 25, just narrowly missing breaking the 27 minute mark. Romey Sklar and Pat Grimes had very different races but would finish back to back of each other in 30th and 31st as Romey moved up strongly over the 2nd half of the race while Grimey was amongst the early leaders for the opening miles and then falling off the pace before rallying with a nice kick. Jeff Seelaus and Eli Howe entered the homestretch together and it was Jeff with the bigger kick in the final meters as both finished out the Top 7 on the day, securing the teams runner-up finish. Scott Gemmell-Davis dipped under 29 minutes, throwing down a big kick in the last 200m to insure he would get under, while coming in shortly behind him - in PR fashion was Nick Codola, Alex Durkee and even Cole Hawkins really got up on his toes and dipped - ever so closely - under the 30 minute mark for the first time. After a few weeks of splitting the squads, the team will run together at the annual Little Three Championship on Saturday as we compete in front of friends and family on our home course.
Paul Short Run - Sept 28th
Runner of the Meet - Greg Turissini
Venturing out of New England for the first time for a non-championship meet in recent memory, the team came away with mixed results. The Paul Short Run is one of the biggest and most competitive races on the East Coast - loaded with many of the Top DI, DII and DIII teams - and provided the guys with all the competition they could handle. The course was wet and muddy in many placed, and while the times seemed to be a little slower than recent years, the competition was fierce. Sophomore Greg Turissini handled the conditions great as he led the team, and finished as the 3rd DIII runner in a very fast time of 25:20. In the first meet of the year, the team had a gap of under a minute between the top runner and our 9th, but unfortunately the gap was considerably greater in this race, and as a result, the team struggled and finished 4th of 4 DIII teams - all of whom are ranked in the latest NCAA polls. Possibly due to the depth of the race, combined with a bit of uncertainty as to where they were within the race, most of the guys found themselves buried in the rear of the race and struggled to move up as they had probably hoped to. Andrew Erskine finished 2nd for the team but over 26 minutes as he would finish 180th. Gus Greenstein finished 3rd for the team for the second meet on a row, while KC Fussell ran to a time of 26:45 with Alva Morales rounding out the scoring with his 5th place performance for the team in a time of 26:50. Adron Pitmon, Charlie Reighard and Dillon Buckley finished 6, 7 and 8th for the team - all running under 28 minutes. Looking to challenge the other DIII Teams in the race - 2 from the Mideast and one from the Atlantic Region - who were also in the NCAA polls, the Jeffs found themselves on the other side of the group and will hope to get an opportunity to turn the tides later down the road.
Wesleyan Invite - Sept 22nd
Runner of the Meet - Alex Durkee
While the Top 8 guys did a workout on the Wesleyan course prior to start of the race as they prepared for the highly competitive Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh on Friday the 28th, the rest of the team got the chance to factor heavily in the outcome of the race in the 2nd meet of the year. Absent 8 front guys, and then missing a couple of other key guys due to illness or nagging injury, the Jeffs lined up 9 guys on the start line and put forth a great effort. The front group of seniors Pat Grimes and Eli Howe, along with first years Jeff Seelaus and Dan Crowley ran in the lead pack through a 5:16 opening mile and would remain in place through the majority of the 2nd mile before things started to split up a little. A pair of first years - Brent Harrison and Scott Gemmell-Davis would also work together through the race, heading through the mile in 5:20 and then ultimately finishing the race 2 seconds apart. Shortly after 3 mile the race started to spread out and Crowley and Seelaus would continue to work together all the way through the line as Dan would take 13th overall in 27:16 while Seelaus came in a step and place later, with Grimes still shaking off his late summer health woes came through in 27:33. Eli would maintain a Top 25 finish just dipping under 28 minutes, while Scott and Brent would come through in 35 and 37 respectively, with Alex Durkee having his best XC race thus far, finishing 7th for the team and more importantly, getting under 30 minutes for the first time. Nick Codola, returning from a nagging knee injury just missed cracking 30 minutes as he went 30:01 while Cole Hawkins got his first feel for the 5 mile distance and ran to a time of 30:29. Despite the absence of several key runners, it was a great opportunity for people to step in to a scoring role and the guys did a nice job as they placed 4th overall with 97 points. The same group will run again at Westfield in 2 weeks time and will look to have a few others back to full health to join them before everyone toes the line as an entire team at Little Three's here at home on October 13th.
UMass Invite - Sept 15th
Runner of the Meet - Gus Greenstein
The men kicked off the 2012 season by travelling through the woods and streets of Amherst to get to neighboring UMass for the UMass Invitational against the host school and Stonehill, UConn and Keene State. The exact length of the course is not quite certain - a guess is about 200m shy of 8k, or figuring adding about 30 or so seconds for a full course - but despite the uncertainty of the length, the effort was not in questions. Despite being the first race of the year, and getting the rust off, the men did a great job of competing and the efforts across the board should bode well for an outstanding season. Sophomore Greg Turissini took charge for the team as he put himself in the front pack of 6-8 guys from the beginning of the race and looked outstanding as he finished 7th in a time of 24:38. Gus Greenstein had undoubtedly his best race of his college career as he ran to a time of 25:04 - getting kicked down by teammate KC Fussell in the final stretch - and showed that he aims to be a force this fall, and Fuss's 2nd place showing for the team puts him right on target. Adron Pitmon returned to the XC course and looked at home running 25:20 with Alvaro Morales coming in right behind his at 25th place in 25:22 despite battling a cold for the later half of the week. Andrew Erskine was off his game today with his 6th for the team showing, and will look to rebound next time out (nice when a 25:31 can be considered a bad race) while junior Charlie Reighard showed huge improvements from his past 2 years of XC and also looks to have a big impact on the teams success. he ran to a 33rd place, 25:34 showing. First year Jeff Seelaus made his XC debut quite successful with a 25:38 and just outside of the Top 7 as he kept the reins on things for the first half before moving up strongly in the last 2 miles and just got in front of Captain Dillon Buckley and his 25:39. Romey Sklar had a great race, joining the list of guys getting under 26 minutes and cracking the Top 45. Dan Crowley, another first year runner, just missed dipping under 26 minutes as he ran to a 45th place with a time of 26:02. Pat grimes and Eli Howe continue to build back their strength and had solid efforts, while another first year guy, Scott Gemmell-Davis had a great XC debut running 27:07 for the race, looking strong and consistent throughout. Several guys ran through a bit further then the 5k, using that as a good stopping point to make the transition into the 5 mile distance. Conditions were great on the course, and it was a very encouraging opener for the team as the course was comparable to what we ran on 2 years ago and the times were significantly quicker across the board for those who ran 2 years ago - and even as a comparison against the times that the team had from that day. The high volume of work will continue through the coming weeks but certainly a great way to start the season off!