Women’s XC Races to Eighth Place at NCAAs
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
NCAA Div. III teams from all across the nation competed at the cross country championships last Saturday.

Among the competitors were the Jeffs, who received an at-large bid into the field after they finished third at Regionals two weeks ago, as well as senior Will Yochum, who earned an individual bid into the men’s meet when he finished fourth at Regionals.


The women’s team had struggled with injuries and illnesses coming into the meet, and were projected to finish outside the top 10 in the national poll.

However, with a full and healthy squad on the starting line, they were ready to set a new standard for future teams and prove the doubters wrong.

When the dust had settled, the team’s undisputed leader, Ali Simeone ’13, had taken 12th place for them, earning all-American honors in the process.

She sped through the course in a very fast time of 21:28, putting an outstanding effort toward the end of the race to move up from around 17th to her final position. Coach Ned Nedeau’s “one-two punch” was completed moments later as junior Melissa Sullivan crossed the line in 21:49, taking 38th.

Not far off the pace was freshman Tori Sosnowski, who ran one of her best races of the season. She finished 105th overall in a time of 22:28.

10 seconds later, junior Eliza Schalch crossed the line in 128th to serve as the Jeffs’ fourth scoring runner.

Wrapping up the scoring for the women was senior tri-captain Hallie Schwab, who finished in 155th with a time of 22:49. Not long after came the rest of the top seven, as senior captain Christina Wong and first-year Angie Epifano finished sixth and seventh, respectively, for the team.

Because the individual runners in the meet didn’t count toward any team’s scoring, Amherst’s total was 294, enough to earn them eighth overall — a remarkable improvement from their 21st-place finish last year.

The title went to Middlebury, whose team total of 185 gave them a mere eight-point advantage over second-place Washington University.

Interestingly, not one of their runners placed in the top 40, but their spread — the total time elapsed between their first and fifth runners’ finishes — was only 26 seconds, compared with the Jeffs’ 1:21, or the Ephs’ 1:44. This highly effective “bunching” proved decisive in their victory, and is a strategy the Jeffs will no doubt look to improve upon in the coming seasons.


Yochum got off to a great start, hanging around the top-30 in the race, and looked strong in the first half. His pack started to take off in the third mile, however, and he started to struggle a bit at that time.

He appeared to struggle the most during the final mile, but finished in 25:20 anyway — good enough to earn 78th place overall.

Yochum goes down as the only runner in program history to run at NCAAs all four years.

With the cross country season at a close, the runners will take a short break before turning their focus to the indoor track season.

Issue 10, Submitted 2010-12-01 05:18:27