Three weeks ago at the Williams Invitational, senior All-American Keri Lambert lost her lead in the race’s final stretch and was promptly outkicked by Middlebury’s Addie Tousley to lose first place. That loss, it seems, has sparked something dangerous in the Amherst native.
Over fall break the women’s cross country team traveled to Westfield State to race in the 43-team James Earley Invitational.
From the gun, Lambert took the lead over the 453-person field and never looked back, dominating the meet and posting her best time of the fall (21:30.11 for the 6K). Her rival Tousley took second, twenty seconds later.
Lambert’s victory helped the Jeffs to their best performance of the season, finishing second in the 43-team field. Middlebury won the overall race decisively, placing all five of their scoring runners in the top 10.
Breakout sophomore Lizzy Briskin was the second Jeff to cross the line, taking eighth place with a time of 22:46.56. Briskin has asserted herself as the team’s number two runner, and behind Lambert, has been central to the team’s overall success.
Rounding out the Jeffs finishers were Lauren Almeida ’13, taking 12th at 23:02.11, Caroline Rose ’16, finishing 20th (23:20.45) and Elodie Reed ’13 (23:32.09), coming in 27th.
Coming off the team’s most successful race yet, the following weekend the Jeffs hosted the always-competitive Little III Championship. Establishing a pattern, Lambert again broke away from the rest of the field early, cruising to a 18:21.0 first-place finish on the 5K course. Williams’ Allison Smith crossed the finish line second, exactly 50 seconds later.
Williams’ runners finished consecutively in places four through eight to give them the team victory. Briskin, Almeida and Rose crossed the line behind them, with times of 19:29.0, 19:35.5 and 19:45., respectively.
The Jeffs, led by their captain and NESCAC favorite Lambert, travel to Bowdoin next weekend for the NESCAC Championship in what promises to be a great race.
The men also enjoyed success in their past two races, coincidentally finishing in the exact same team places as their female counterparts in the two same races. Although no Jeff runner won the races, a well-rounded team effort gave the men second place at the James Earley Invitational and second at the Little III Championship.
At the James Early Invitational, the Jeffs placed all five scoring runners inside the top 20 overall. If that in itself doesn’t show this team’s depth, consider this: the team’s top five runners did not compete, resting from a race the previous weekend and gearing up for the Little III. In other words, the team’s sixth through 10th best runners, competing in a field of 400 runners, still took home second place overall.
Charlie Reighard ’14 led the way for the Jeffs, taking 18th overall with a time of 26:46.52. Closely behind him was senior Dillon Buckley, clocking a 26:54.72. Seconds later, first-year Dan Crowley finished with a time of 27:03.07.
The following weekend, the Jeffs hosted the Little III Championship, facing off against Williams and Wesleyan. Finishing third last year, the Jeffs improved greatly and finished decisively in front of Wesleyan. Williams, whose runners took home four of the first five spots, cruised to victory.
Leading the way for the Jeffs was sophomore Greg Turissini, taking home sixth place of the five-mile course with a time of 26:23.9. KC Fussell ’15 took eighth (26:47.1), just in front of Andrew Erskine ’13 (26:49.0)
With two impressive showings, the Jeffs look primed to compete for a spot on the podium at the NESCAC Championship.