As March turned to April, the men’s and women’s track teams flipped the page on their winter season and turned their full attention to the spring. After focusing on indoor running for several months, the outdoor season was finally underway.
Both teams were set to begin their seasons together at the Tufts Snowflake Classic on March 31, a non-scoring annual meet that generally serves as a prime opportunity to kick into gear for the remainder of the season.
The women’s meet was cancelled, however, leaving the men’s squad to represent Amherst at Tufts’ Dussault Track. The long distance men certainly shouldered the burden well, running in midseason form and placing four Jeffs in the top ten of the 10,000-meter race. Andrew Erskine ’13 paced the group with a strong 32:34.07 time, good for a third place finish.
The next three Amherst runners (Dillon Buckley ’12, KC Fussell ’15 and Greg Turissini ’15) were all less than 30 seconds behind Erskine. Geoff Ainslie ’12 ran well in the 1,500-meter run, posting a solid 4:15 time, and Alex Durkee ’15 missed a sub-two minute time by less than a second in the 800 meter competition, finishing 18th out of 74 runners. Selasie Krampa ’13 led the Jeffs in sprints, finishing 10th in the 100-meter dash and 14th in the 400- meter race, as well.
On the field, Josiah Terrell-Perica ’15 began his outdoor track career with 10th and 16th place finishes in the javelin and discus, respectively.
After this tune-up, the men were ready to tackle the AIC Invitational last weekend. This time, the sprinters made the major impression of the weekend, most notably Matt Melton ’14, who ran a swift 49.63 second 400-meter dash.
Melton’s mark earned him fourth place in the event, and it qualified him for ECAC Division III Championships.
Unfortunately, Melton’s teammates could not match his success, as his 400 time was the lone top five finish from anyone wearing the purple and white of the Jeffs. There were several other top 10 finishers, however, including Romey Sklar ’15 in the 800, the 4 x 400 and the 4 x 100 teams, and Denzel Duncan ’13 in the hammer throw, among others.
These performances only proved enough for an eighth place finish among the stiff 11-team field.
Despite missing the previous weekends, the women’s team came out strong at the AIC Invitational as well, finishing fifth out of 11 teams. Just like the men in their first meet, the long distance women led the way for the entire squad. Keri Lambert ’13 blazed around the track for a 17:04 first place time in the 5K, followed by Lizzy Briskin ’15 and Lisa Walker ’14, who both qualified for ECACs by breaking the 18:35 mark.
The sprinters also enjoyed success, especially all-around standout Naomi Bates ’14, who finished second in both the 100-and 200-meter races and qualified for ECACs with her 100 time of 12.75 seconds. Overall, she earned 17 individual points to add to the Amherst total.
The field athletes, Jordan Roehl ’12 and Jessica Mueller ’13, posted encouraging results as well. Roehl finished sixth in the hammer throw and seventh in the discus. Lastly, Mueller also posted a solid fourth place result in the triple jump, recording a mark of 10.33 meters against the strong competition.
Both teams will return to action this weekend at the UMass Invitational. While there is certainly room for improvement when the teams make the short trip across town, the men and women on the track teams can rest more easily knowing that their times will usually go down from their already solid levels.