Women's XC Brings Home Two Fourth-Place Finishes
Issue   |   Tue, 10/07/2014 - 23:52

This past Saturday, the Amherst women’s cross country team parted ways to compete in both the Keene State College Invitational and the Paul Short Invitational held at Lehigh.

At the Paul Short Invite, the team placed fourth out of 40 teams. Bucknell won the event with 81 total points, and Marist (136), Holy Cross (236) and Amherst (249) were close behind.

“This is a huge meet with teams we don’t get to race against very often. With the way the selection committee picks teams for nationals now, it’s important to show that our region is very strong by going to some of these meets and performing well against top teams from other regions,” said head coach Cassie Funke Harris.

Amherst’s current ranking of No. 5 in the region will certainly be helpful for nationals. Beating Haverford, the No. 3 team in the mideast region and No. 13 nationally, was a key result. Fellow NESCAC opponent Bates is ranked just behind Amherst in the region, but the top five finishers for the Jeffs beat each top contender from Bates. These are encouraging signs as the season progresses.

Savanna Gornisiewicz ’17 paved the way for the Jeffs; her 21:59 finish slated her at 12th overall. Next for the Purple and White was Nicky Roberts ’18 (22:18) in 21st overall. Catherine Lowdon ’17 and Jessie Kaliski ’15 crossed the line together at 22:57, with Lizzy Briskin ’15 just two seconds behind the duo. The other top finishers for the Jeffs were Betsy Black ’16 (23:49) and Cara Lembo ’17 (23:52).

Coach Funke-Harris said that she is especially proud of Lowdon’s performance. She hoped that Lowdown could finish close to Kaliski and Briskin, and Lowdon did just that.

“In a big race like Paul Short, it can be easy to get lost in the massive pack of girls,” said senior captain Jessie Kaliski. “But we all really stuck with our groups and worked together. We did a great job of not getting too overwhelmed by the amount of girls, holding our ground, keeping our cool and positively representing Amherst College. It is great to get a big race in like this early on in this season, because it is great preparation for NESCACs, ECACs and Regionals.”

Meanwhile, at Keene State, the Jeffs put in another fourth-place performance. Fourteen teams participated in the 5K. Host school Keene State came in first with 34 points.

Hannah Herrera ’17 finished first for Amherst, crossing the tape at 19:41. Eight seconds later, Caroline Rose ’16 clocked in, and Sonaali Pandiri ’18 came in third for the Jeffs at 20:27. Rounding out the top seven finishers for the Jeffs were Helen Clapp ’18 (21:27), Lindsay Ewing ’15 (21:29), Kaeli Mathias ’18 (22:01) and Monica Mimmagadda ’18 (22:04).

“It was a chance for people to score for the team who usually don’t have that opportunity, and it was great to see them step up,” Funke-Harris added. “I was especially excited about the races that Hannah Herrera and Sonaali Pandiri had. Sonaali is a freshman and just starting to realize how good she can become. Hannah stepped up her game this week and was a real leader for the group. Caroline Rose and Lindsay Ewing provided the group with some much needed upperclassman leadership, and I think the younger group really benefited from that.”

The Jeffs will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 18, when they head to Williams to compete in the Little Three Championship.