Cross Country Teams Welcome Back Emerging Talents
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
Last year, the men’s and women’s cross country teams both showed strong form throughout the fall season, consistently improving at each meet and competing well at various meets among both Division III and Division I rivals. Both teams had strong finishes in the New England Regionals and advanced to the NCAA meet. There, the men finished 17th while the women finished 21st — disappointing finishes for both teams, which should provide plenty of motivation for this year’s performances. With head coach Erik “Ned” Nedeau returning for his 14th season leading the men and women along the season’s course, it looks to be a great year for the Jeffs.


Last year, the women put on a great show, starring senior and All-American runner Sophia Galleher, who won the NESCAC meet, thus marking the third consecutive year that an Amherst runner has won there. She and Cate Knuff were the only two seniors to graduate from last year’s legion, but they have certainly left shoes to fill.

Although 2009 was viewed primarily as a rebuilding year, the women proved a tough out. They competed hard and improved tremendously throughout the season, eventually reaching third place at the NESCAC meet and fourth at New England Regionals. That fourth-place finish was enough to lift them into the NCAA championship. Though their result there wasn’t their best performance of the season, it wrapped up a season that met and exceeded expectations throughout.

“No one thought we would ever make it to Nationals last year, but we did,” said senior tri-captain Christina Wong. “We’ve learned to work as a team and to race not for ourselves but for each other, and I think that has made all the difference.”

The women return six of last year’s top seven to top a squad that numbers 29 in total this year. At the helm will be senior tri-captains and long-time teammates Wong, Hallie Schwab and Mercedes Taylor. Their fellow ’11-ers are Cara Giamo and Melissa Pritchard, both of whom ran well last year and could contend for a top-seven spot this coming season.

This year’s six juniors will be looking to add their names to the top-seven’s ranks as well. Anna Hager, Winnie Ma, Shannon McKenna, Eliza Schalch, Melissa Sullivan and Laura Zaccagnino will all be looking to solidify an already sound core. Sullivan was an active member of the women’s varsity squad last year, ending up in the team’s top-four more often than not, while McKenna ended the season right outside of that elite group.

There are seven sophomores on the team this year, and it is largely due to their rapid improvement over the course of last season that the team’s “rebuilding year” went beyond expectations. First-year star Ali Simeone sprinted to the upper echelons of the ranks and placed first for the team in the NCAA race, while the number six and seven runners in that same meet were two more from her year, Sarah Daly and Keri Lambert. Rebecca Alizzi, Lauren Almeida, Abby Hopper, Kristen Moulton, Jamila Odeh and Elodie Reed round out the Class of 2013, playing important roles just outside the team’s top-seven throughout the season.

A stunningly expansive eight young women make up the Class of 2014, who will no doubt find a place among the army of athletes. They are Bridget Bennett, Amy Dao, Ruodi Duan, Angie Epifano, Jasia Kaulbach, Brooke Kirkham, Victoria Sosnowski and Lisa Walker.

“I’m really excited to see what we can do this year,” commented Wong. With an experienced, young and dangerous team, the women’s cross country team looks to be a powerful force in the years to come.


The men ran a great season throughout, ultimately finishing second at both the NESCAC meet and the New England Regionals, both times falling short to — who else? — Williams College. Those wins earned them an automatic berth to the NCAA meet, where they competed valiantly while leaving room for improvement for a very talented squad this year.

Seven seniors graduated from last year’s team, including All-NESCAC first-teamer Daniel Murner, who placed second at the New England Regionals. The next two runners who placed in that meet, however, were Will Yochum and Steve Corsello, both of whom return as seniors this year. Together with senior John McGrail, they will be the tri-captains this year leading the 20-man team. Joining them will be fellow seniors Travis Cohoon, Kevin Hanley, Ben Mears and Jack Seaver.

The team has only two juniors this year in Alec Jacobson and Ben Scheetz. This dynamic duo had solid seasons last year, with Jacobson periodically finding his way into the team’s top-seven.

As for the sophomores, they are as numerous as they are determined to rise into the slots left by the ’10s. Adron Pitmon ran the fastest times last year, followed, not necessarily in order, by Dillon Buckley, Andrew Erskine, Pat Grimes and Eli Howe. Although none of them ran in the varsity squad last year, with seven seniors gone, their inevitable movement through the ranks will be intriguing to watch.

The brand-new Class of 2014 is a six-man force to be reckoned with. The team proudly welcomes Dan Burnett, Gus Greenstein, Kevin Heintz, Alvara Morales, Joe Nassirian and Charlie Reichard to the Amherst ranks of runners.

Hanley had this to offer on the team’s prospects: “The freshmen certainly show promise… and past the top three, the rest of the varsity team is up for grabs, and everyone has a chance at making that top seven.” With a strong senior class at its helm, the men are looking to put their names on a few more school banners.

Issue 01, Submitted 2010-09-02 16:57:15