Cross Country Runs Well at ECAC Championships
Issue   |   Wed, 11/13/2013 - 02:02

Men
The Amherst Men’s Cross Country team had an impressive showing at the ECAC Championships this past Saturday at Colt State Park in Bristol, R.I.

Placing three runners in the top fifteen, the Jeffs took third place amongst 36 teams. Coach Erik Nedeau noted, “We had a somewhat disappointing NESCAC race, but we did what we needed to last week to be fresh and recovered.”

The NESCAC took home the top six team spots. With the top three overall finishers, Williams took the top title with 26 points.

Following Williams were Tufts (75), Amherst (84), Colby (141), Middlebury (175) and Bates (188). Rounding out the top ten were Coast Guard (244), USMMA (247), Keene State (273) and University of New England (311).
Gus Greenstein ’14 paved the way for the Jeffs, finishing ninth overall with a time of 26:20.81.

Less than five seconds behind Greenstein was Kevin Connors ’17, whose 26:25.54 finish seeded him 11th in the field of 327 runners.

“Connors just had a monster of a race not only running much faster than what he has done but just looking awesome right from the very start,” Nedeau commented.

Ben Fiedler ’17 rounded out the top three for the Jeffs with a time of 26:28.21, which made him the last Amherst runner in the top 15.

Jeff Seelau ’16 finished fourth for the Jeffs and took 18th place after averaging a 5:21.3 mile pace.

Other notable competitors for the Jeffs this weekend included Romey Sklar ’15 (26:55.54), Jesse Fajnzylber ’17 (27:25.85) and Sam Wohlforth ’17 (28:45.41).

Nedeau seemed quite please with the overall performance of the team as he noted, “On a course that is not as quick as some of the ones we have run this season, guys ran their best times and those times were a by-product of competing and putting themselves in good position right from the start. It was a great opportunity for the seven who raced to factor into the scoring and have their efforts be truly accountable, and they took full advantage.”

The Jeffs will return to action for the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 16. Greenstein commented on the the team’s recent success and the implications for regionals, “It bodes well for the guys who will be racing next weekend at regionals (who rested this week), as all signs point to them being able to drop a similar amount of time after rejuvenating their legs bodies with a two-week taper period.”

Coach Nedeau agrees, hoping that the competitors at Regionals will build on the momentum that was established this weekend at the ECAC Championships.

Women
The Amherst Women’s Cross Country team travelled to Bristol, R.I. this past weekend to compete in the ECAC Championships. The Jeffs finished fourth amongst 47 teams.

The NESCAC had a strong performance overall, finishing in the top four team spots. With its top runners taking first and second individually, Middlebury took home the team title with 30 points.

Following Middlebury were Williams (54), Tufts (111) and Amherst (164). Other NESCAC teams finishing in the top ten included Bates (223), Colby (317) and Trinity (330).

“I was really happy with the way we raced last weekend. We saw the course during the warm up and realized that once they entered the woods at about the half mile mark, the course was so narrow that there was no way they would be able to move up in the race until they exited the woods a mile later. That meant a last second change in strategy to get out a little harder and establish good position before they got into the woods, knowing the pace would slow down and that they’d be able to move up in the middle when they got back out in the open. I give our women a lot of credit; this conversation happened about 30 minutes before the gun went off and it was a pretty big change in strategy. They handled it really well and executed the plan perfectly,” said Coach Cassie Funke-Harris.

As for the Jeffs, Lisa Walker ’14 was the top finisher (23:02.66), taking ninth in a field of 327 runners.

“I was especially happy with the performances of our two seniors. Lisa Walker had probably the best performance of her cross-country career. She’ll be an alternate for our regionals team, but if this was her last xc race in an Amherst singlet, she really made the most of it,” Funke-Harris said.

The second fastest finisher for the Jeffs was Hannah Herrera ’17 who passed the tape in a time of 23:45.72 to take 30th overall.

Anna Berglund ’16 rounded out the top three for the Jeffs finishing just under three seconds behind Herrara with a time of 23:48.22, notching her 32nd in the field.

Other notable Amherst competitors included Jasia Kaulbach ’14 (24:14.18), Sarah Foster ’16 (24:17.98), Rachel Duong ’16 (24:45.74) and Lindsay Ewing ’15 (25:16:59).

“I really couldn’t have asked for more with this group. They took what the race and the course gave them and were ready to take advantage of being fit and tapered when it mattered most,” Funke-Harris said of the Jeffs performance.

The Jeffs will return to action at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 16.

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