This season marks head coach Erik Nedeau’s 15th year at the helm of the program, and this year will be the first time he is exclusively the head of the men’s team.
The Jeffs placed sixth at the NCAA championships last year with 18 points, which are both program bests. The men also had a strong showing at the ECAC championships, placing fourth of 53 teams.
Ben Sheetz ’12 is likely to have another fantastic season. He was named last year’s NCAA Div. III Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Scheetz is only the second male Amherst athlete to claim a national title. He won the 800-meter event with a time of 1:51.26, edging out the runner-up by just six-100ths of a second.
“Scheetz is looking to have a big senior year and capitalize on last year’s success. He’ll continue to be one of the more dominating runners in the country,” Nedeau said. “He should excel at anything from the 400 through the mile and will play a huge role in the relays.”
Andrew Reed ’12 and Matt Melton ’14 should also continue to be successful in the relays as well as in the 400-meter event.
The middle and long-distance squads will be strong this year. Pat Grimes ’13, Adron Pitmon ’13, Eli Howe ’13 and Romey Sklar ’15 will all be racing middle-distance events. Nedeau said, “Andrew Erskine will lead a strong group of guys in the distance events, including first-years Greg Turissini and KC Fussell, Dillon Buckley ’13 and Gus Greenstein ’14.”
While many of the distance runners have been training for cross country, the rest of the team has kept busy. According to Nedeau, “Denzel Duncan has been showing some great improvements in the throwing events, while the sprinters have been working hard this fall.”
The Jeffs welcome coach John Adamson as head of the women’s team this year. Adamson has been working with the women’s cross country team during the fall season, as well. He looks forward to having a balanced team that covers all the events.
Melissa Sullivan ’12 represented the women on last year’s All-American team after placing eighth in the mile run at the NCAA championship.
Ali Simeone ’13 was another standout, placing second in the 3,000-meter run at the New England Championships. Simeone will be a big contender in the distance events along with Angie Epifano ’14 and Elodie Reed ’13.
The women finished seventh of 53 teams at the ECAC championships. Simeone took third in the 5,000 and Keri Lambert ’13 placed fourth in the 1,000.
Adamson thinks that “Sullivan, Lambert, Lauren Almeida ’13 and Liza Schalch ’12 will lead a strong and talented middle-distance group that will look to make a significant impact both regionally and nationally as individuals or as members of a relay team.”
He is also confident in his sprinters: “Naomi Bates ’14 is going to score significant points for us in the sprints, hurdles, and jumps. She will be joined in the jumps by Jessica Mueller ’13 and supported in the sprints by Jade McKnight ’13, Shyloe Jones ’14 and Beth Hall ’14.”
The team welcomes 11 first-years who will add new energy and depth to the program.