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Matt Katz '05
Junior Matt Katz set a personal best at the 2002 Regional Championships, missing All-New England honors by just one place.

Cross Country Eyes Return to Nationals in 2003

August 26, 2003

The women had an extremely successful 2002 campaign despite graduating the majority of their 2001 national-qualifying squad, finishing second at both the season-opening Amherst Invitational and the Middlebury College Panther Invitational, followed by third-place showings at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational and the Tufts University Invitational. They finished seventh at the NESCAC Championships, fifth out of 30 teams at the ECAC Championships, and capped their season at the NCAA Regional Championships with a strong performance, finishing ninth out of 38 teams.

The women were led by sophomore sensation Carter Hamill, who earned her second cross-country All-American honors at the National Championships with a 10th place showing, the highest ever for an Amherst woman. She also claimed All-District honors at the Regional Championships; All-New England honors at the Open New England Championships; and First-Team All-NESCAC honors at the conference championships. Juniors Erinn White and Helen Dole and senior captain Ali Dimon consistently finished in the front half of the Amherst pack. Senior captain Hilary Plum and senior Laurel Kilgour, who earned All-ECAC honors at the late-season meet, finished the season as members of the squadís varsity seven, as did first-year Jenny Horowitz. First-years Jessamyn Conell-Price, Ginger Polich and Margaret Davis, who also earned All-ECAC honors, all gained varsity experience and improved significantly on their high school marks.

The men began the season with a roar, capturing first place at both the Middlebury College Panther Invitational and the Tufts University Invitational and defeating several nationally ranked teams in the process. They also finished third at the season-opening Amherst Invitational and fourth at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational. Injuries to several key members hampered late-season success, however, as the squad finished seventh at the ECAC Championships and 11th at the NCAA Regional Championships.

The men were led by junior John Stanton-Geddes, who shattered his personal best with a 25:21 and 20th-place finish at the Regional Championships and missed qualifying individually for the National Championships by a mere place. He did, however, gain All-New England status to go with his Second-Team All-NESCAC honors. Sophomore Matt Katz set a personal best at the Regional Championships yet missed All-New England honors (awarded to the top 35 finishers) by one place. Junior Mike Page and sophomore Jack Morgan started the season with great success and, with Stanton-Geddes and Katz, comprised the teamís top four, but injuries limited their performances at the Regional meet. Senior captain Carson Taylor and sophomore Zeke Phillips consistently raced in the varsity seven, while senior James Johndrow overcame injury and a late start to grab All-ECAC honors and finish with a season-best performance at the Regional Championships. Sophomore Dave Molina and first-years Dave Schreiner and Fraser Kitchell all saw varsity action as well.

Hopes are high for this yearís edition of both the womenís and menís squads. The women return the majority of last yearís team, including junior All-American Carter Hamill, and will aim for a return to the National Championship meet after they failing to qualify in 2002. Hamill will look to challenge for the individual national title, while senior co-captain Erinn White, fresh off the heels of an outstanding spring track season, will set her sights on cementing her place as one of the regionís top runners. Sophomores Margaret Davis, Ginger Polich and Jenny Horowitz will also look to build on their stellar spring campaigns and should provide plenty of support up front. Senior Aly Venti returns after a semester abroad and should be a top scorer for the team, as should fellow senior and co-captain Helen Dole. Junior Alison Rodriguez will look to bring her steeplechase success to the trails, while first-year Shauneen Garrahan, a second-place finisher in the steeplechase event at the high school national championships, should step in and have an immediate impact. Sophomore Jessamyn Conell-Price and first-year Katina Hubbard will provide a big push in the teamís quest for national glory.

The men also return the majority of last yearís squad, and will look to become the first Amherst menís team to qualify for the National Championship meet. All-New England and senior co-captain John Stanton-Geddes will return as one of the teamís frontrunners and looks to fasten his place among the regionís best. Fellow senior co-captain Mike Page, hampered by an injury near the end of the 2002 season, will look to build on his outstanding spring track campaign and join the ranks of the regionís top harriers. Junior Matt Katz should round out the front pack, and looks to build on his success from last year.

This yearís squad will be bolstered by considerable depth. Juniors Zeke Phillips, Dave Molina, and Jack Morgan all return with varsity experience, while senior Andrew Schneider will look to bring his resounding success on the track to the trails. Sophomore Dave Schreiner, now with a year of experience under his belt, will vie for a varsity spot, and first-year Nate Freese will provide huge support in his first season of cross country competition.

Key meets for both the menís and womenís squads include the Amherst Invitational at Amherst College on Sept. 6; the New England Open Championship at Franklin Park on Oct. 10; the NESCAC Championship at Middlebury College on Nov. 1; and the NCAA Regional Championship at Twin Brook on Nov. 15.