Cross Country Teams Vie for Position Against Div. I Schools
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
This past weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams were in action down the road at the University of Massachusetts, pitting themselves against half a dozen Div. I schools. Going in, they knew a team victory wasn’t likely, despite their heroic start last weekend at home. Granted, both the men and women could not replicate their unbelievable results from the previous meet, but, as head coach Erik “Ned” Nedeau put it, “The teams more than held their own and the races should certainly bode very well as we proceed in the coming weeks.”


Racing in her first meet this season, sophomore Ali Simeone took the lead for the Amherst women. After keeping pace with Mellissa Sullivan ’12, Christina Wong’ 11, and Tori Sosnowski ’14 for the first couple miles, Simeone opened up a large lead in the final mile, finishing 13th overall with a time of 18:20. Sullivan came in five places later in 18th, running an 18:36, while Wong and Sosnowski served as the Jeffs’ third and fourth runners, placing 25th and 27th with the same time of 18:51. Sophomore Abby Hopper, who had her best finish just a week ago, continued to show remarkable improvement, nearly breaking the 19-minute mark, enough to earn 30th place and position as the fifth Amherst runner.

Three more sophomores, Elodie Reed, Lauren Almeida and Keri Lambert, trailed Hopper by about 20 seconds, rounding out the top seven for the team. They were soon followed by Brooke Kirkham, Bridget Bennett, Liza Schalch and Lisa Walker, a gaggle of Amherst first-years racing in only their second college meet and doing their best to give their Div. I opponents a run for the money. Amy Dao ’14, Anna Hager ’12, Rebecca Alizzi ’13 and Ruodi Duan ’14 finished the day for the Amherst women.

The goal at this meet wasn’t to dominate as a team, but to get experience early in the season to prepare for later meets. Although the women finished fifth overall in the six-school field, individual performances, such as Simeone’s and Hopper’s, show that the team has both the talent and drive to allow them to compete in any situation. Already it’s clear from their grouping during races that they are running as a team, a positive sign for the future. They will be looking for those signs next week as they travel to the Purple Valley Classic at Williams College.


The men also finished a disappointing fifth out of six teams on Saturday, but can take consolation in a few key factors. First, they were missing a couple of key runners, while others were battling illness; second, despite the stiff competition, senior tri-captain Will Yochum had a fantastic day, dominating the field of runners and taking first overall with a time of 25:12, a healthy 20 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Running at the head of the pack from the start, Yochum pulled away near the three-mile mark and never looked back. Fellow tri-captain and classmate Steve Corsello fought his common cold like a champion, pushing hard and taking the 11th position. Patrick Grimes recorded a personal best with his time of 26:50, while sophomore Dillon Buckley came in just three seconds behind him, taking 26th. Senior Travis Cohoon served as the team’s last scoring runner, finishing 37th.

Alvaro Morales ’14 was the sixth man for the Jeffs on Saturday, starting a bit slow, but increasing his pace throughout the duration of the race. Senior Kevin Hanley was the seventh Jeff to finish, just edging junior Alec Jacobson. Andrew Erskine was fighting a bout of sickness but still finished in the top 50, while senior Jack Seaver took the 50th spot . All the Amherst runners broke 30 minutes convincingly: Sophomore Eli Howe had an exciting finish to his day, outkicking an opponent at the very end; Ben Scheetz showed that, despite his nature as an 800-meter sprinter, he can get the job done over eight kilometers, too; and a trio of first-years, Joe Nassirian, Charlie Reighard and Dan Burnett, had solid appearances in their very first 8K races.

Howe helped put the results in perspective: “We posted some fast times on a tough course, including the win by Will Yochum, and we didn’t even run all of our guys. There are some fast newcomers and returning runners who won’t be in the mix until a little later. I think our result on Saturday bodes well for competition within our division.”

With solid performances all around, the season continues to look promising for the Jeffs. Next week, they will cover the long distance to Williamstown — by vehicle, not on foot — where they will, alongside the women, take part in the Purple Valley Classic.

Issue 03, Submitted 2010-09-22 03:42:43