Track Teams Compete in UMass Spring Meet
Issue   |   Wed, 04/18/2012 - 01:15
Photo courtesy of Steve Dao
Despite racing against stiff Div. I competition, the men’s track team finished fourth overall.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams continued to build up towards their upcoming championship meets last weekend, traveling across town to participate in the Univ. of Mass Spring Meet.

The competition featured several Division I teams, including the host UMass contingent. Despite the stiff Division I competition coupled with a bevy of other strong squads, the Jeffs held their own.

While the women finished 11th out of 15 teams with 21 points, it was a solid effort highlighted by the outstanding performances of Naomi Bates ’14 and Keri Lambert ’13.

Bates stayed with and even bested her Division I counterparts in both the long jump and the 200-meter dash. Her 5.65 meter mark in the long jump earned her a second place spot in a field with over 30 jumpers. In fact, her jump landed a mere 0.01 meters behind the first place finisher from Albany and left her only three centimeters short of the Amherst program record. She enjoyed more success when she ran the 200, crossing the finish line in 25.41 seconds to place sixth in a field numbering over 100.

Just like her long jump, Bates’ 200 mark left her second in Amherst history. In addition, she tied for fifth in the triple jump to cap off an impressive day.

Lambert also competed well against the fast field, beating all other Division III runners in the 1,500 meter run and finishing third overall with a time of 4:34.48. This performance lagged behind a Boston College runner’s first place time by less than two seconds. She also ran the 800 in 2:17.80, good for 13th place.

The men’s squad also stepped up with a good showing when the competition became tougher. The team tallied 55 total points, a solid mark but far below the 125 points compiled by the host Minutemen. The team actually won three events.

Dillon Buckley ’13 and Greg Turissini ’15 finished first and second, respectively, in the steeplechase. Turissini set a program record for first-years in the 3,000 meter race portion of the event with a time of 9:29.63 seconds.

In addition, Matt Melton ’13 and Andrew Erskine ’13 also won their respective events. Melton’s 800 time of 1:53.06 proved too much for his competitors, even though the second place finisher was only about a 10th of a second behind him. Lastly, Percie Gijima ’14 set a personal record in the 200- meter dash, improving on his old mark by over half a second to reach 22.81 seconds, the fastest 200 time the Amherst team has had this season.

With the news of the upcoming Pratt Field renovations that will revamp the outdoor track and fieldhouse, the track and field teams will hopefully find a late season surge and go into their championship meets with a confident mindset.

These important meets begin next Saturday with the Little Three Championships at Wesleyan, then continue to the next weekend when the NESCAC Championships take place at Bates. After these meets, the DIII New England Championships, among other competitions, await the Jeffs before the end of the school year.