Track Teams’ Depth on Display in NESCAC’s
By Amro El-Adle '13, Managing Sports Editor
The outdoor track teams both showed remarkable efficiency over the weekend, as the Jeffs won a combined six events in a crowded NESCAC championship field. The women’s team ended up in seventh place with 57 points for the meet, while the men’s team put in the best performance in school history, emerging in fourth place after their 100-point performance.


Sophie Galleher tore up the track on the way to an NCAA-provisional qualifying time of 10:56.21 in the 3,000m steeplechase to notch the only victory for the women’s team on the day. “It was a pretty big break through for me, and it was a nice comeback after being sick for most of indoor,” said the senior. “I think it would have helped if I had more competition, but for the most part I just focused on getting out hard and building a lead throughout the race.”

But several other Amherst runners came close to top finishes, including sophomore Melissa Sullivan, who earned a second-place tag after torching the track in another NCAA-provisional qualifying time (a personal record) of 4:36.32 in the 1,500m. First-year Lauren Almeida finished seventh in the event, with a time of 4:47.37, en route to being named one of Head Coach Erik Nedau’s “performers of the week.”

In the shorter events, Mary Doris Reggie ’10 also chipped into the Amherst score, taking seventh in the 800m in 2:17.20. Junior Susie Wasserman pulled down a sixth place finish in the 400m hurdles to keep up the Amherst barrage. Wasserman also teamed with Jade McKnight ’13, Jess Mueller ’13 and Reggie to take fifth in the 4x400m relays, and the 4x800m relay team of Hoiwan Cheung ’10, Liza Schalch ’12, Almedia and Sullivan finished second in 9:29.33. In the field, sophomore Jordan Roehl barged into fourth place in the shot put, throwing for 11.63m.

The most effecient event for the Jeffs was easily the 5k, as Sarah Daly ’13 led the Amherst pack with a third-place finish in 18:02.78, also good for another of Coach Ned’s “performer of the week” designations. Fellow first-year Ali Simeone trailed closely for a fifth-place finish, and Laura Zaccagnino helped round things out, finishing seventh.

For their performances in the meet, Galleher, Daly and the members of the 4x800m relay team were all named All-NESCAC performers yesterday. Sullivan was the only athlete to net a pair of All-NESCAC selections, as she also finished second in the 1,500m.


The men’s team had a slightly different schedule than their female counterparts, as they ventured to the University of Pennsylvania mid-week for the Penn Relays. Running on the same track where Usain Bolt had unofficially clocked an 8.69 in the home stretch of a 4x100m relay earlier in the day, senior captain Dan Murner proved that lightning does indeed strike twice.

Starting in the middle of a congested field, Murner went wire-to-wire at a feverish pace, finish the first mile of his 10k in a mere 4:46. His second mile was even faster, as he made the two-mile turn in a cool 9:30. Endurance was clearly not on an issue, as Murner seared the track over the first 5,000m in 14:55.

With less than two miles remaining in the race, the leaders of the race made their move, with Murner firmly in-tow. He held strong over the next mile, as he was still positioned in the top five with 1,600m remaining. For his final trick, Murner mustered everything he could to zoom past all but two of the other competitors, demolishing his own school record for the event by nearly a full minute by crossing the line in 29:45.02.

The mark means Murner automatically qualifies for the Div. III national championships, where he will be a clear-cut contender after running the fastest time in Div. III this season by over 15 seconds.

Less than 36 hours later, Murner joined his teammates at Tufts for the NESCAC championships, where the team pieced together a school record 100 points in their fourth-place finish.

Senior Carlyle Eubank’s unexpected second-place finish in the 10k was the first of many pleasant surprises on the day for the Jeffs, as this year’s edition of the team featured a newfound commitment. “When I was freshman, I think we placed second to last or something,” Murner pointed out. “This team is a much different team than it was four years ago, with a much different attitude towards running and competing. Our high team finish is evidence of the investment that every team member made in the program- not just in time, but also in attitude.”

Junior John McGrail continued to impress, clocking out of the 3,000m steeplechase in third place, with a personal best of 9:34. The Amherst men also owned the relays, as the 4x100m team of Spencer Russell ’12, Andrew Reed ’12, Ofori Amponsah ’13 and Thebe Tsatsimpe ’11 cruised into second place. The Jeffs also handily won both the 4x400m and distance relays. Junior Will Yochum and first-year Pat Grimes, who earned a personal record, helped buttress the Amherst lead with third and seventh-place finishes in the 1,500m.

The points poured in from everywhere for the Jeffs, as junior Steve Corsello took a neck-in-neck 800m race down to the wire but came up just short in second place. First-year Andron Pitmon also earned points in the event with his eight-place finish.

Sophomore Ben Scheetz relinquished his familiar 800m spot, and stepped into a win in the 400m, with Reed joining him in eighth place. Scheetz, who sealed the 4x400m for the Jeffs as well, described the final moments of that grueling race: “Frequently, there is nothing there, at which point you just have to focus on every minute detail of your stride and hope for the best.”

Tsatsimpe, who was the only Jeff to score points in both a track and field event, hauled in personal records in both the long and triple jumps, finishing first in the long jump and third in the triple. He also shook off a poor start to finish seventh in the 200m. “The team has apparently not had jumpers and competitive sprinters for a number of years,” said the junior standout. “So though they have tended to gain points in the mid-distance and distance events, they have failed to do so in the field and sprints. A number of freshmen and I with great potential are thus glad to have filled the gap for this team. In particular I am glad to have achieved my first mark above 7m through the help of Coach Ned.” Tsatsimpe notched a 7.16m in that long jump, more than enough for an NCAA provisional qualifier.

Murner showed off his steely resolve once more in the 5,000m, charging past a Tufts’ runner in the last 100m to win by .71 seconds. He joined Eubank, McGrail, Pitmon, Jimmy Swanson ’10, Amposnah, Reed, Russell, Andre Gary ’11 and Tommy Moore ’11 as the Jeffs representing Amherst’s conference-high 14 nominees for the All-NESCAC team. Reed, Corsello, Yochum and Tsatsimpe each earned a pair of selections.

The teams will journey back to Tufts University this weekend to compete in the Div. III New England Championships, which begin Friday at 1 p.m.

Issue 24, Submitted 2010-04-28 03:20:30