Men's and Women's XC Headed to NCAA Championship
Issue   |   Tue, 11/18/2014 - 23:32

The Amherst men’s cross country team turned in an impressive two weeks. They traveled to Westfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, to compete in the ECAC Div. III Championships. Impressively, the men finished third in the 43-team field.

Steven Lucey ’17 had a very impressive race. His average mile time of 5:09.3 brought him to a first place finish in the 303-person field. Lucey is the first Amherst runner to finish first at this event.

The men’s cross country team also had an incredible weekend at NCAA Regionals, finishing second in a 54-team field.
The Jeffs were expected to place fifth at the event, but they exceeded expectations this weekend. Colby won the event with 63 points, while the Jeffs finished closely behind them with 69 points.

“The guys raced and competed extremely well, and definitely went after it with purpose and conviction,” said Coach Eric Nedeau. “Each week we have been getting better and learning about ourselves.”

Leading the effort for the Jeffs was Mohamed Hussein ’18. Crossing the tape in 25:30:3, Hussein took fourth place overall in the 373-runner field.

“Each race I ran has been a learning opportunity for me as well as training with dedicated and driven teammates,” Hussein said. “I never doubted my talent nor did I had to prove it to my coach and teammates, because I knew that once I was ready to compete, I would compete with the top runners from the region. This race was the culmination of a great season.”

Thanks to these strong finishes, the Jeffs have qualified for the NCAA Div. III National Championships for the first time since 2009. It will be their fifth appearance in program history.

“We have been focused all season on performing our best at the end of the season and on having our best race at Nationals, so this weekend’s race showed that we are on the right track for a big race in Ohio this coming Saturday,” Coach Nedeau said.

Amherst will travel to Mason, Ohio for the championship race Saturday, Nov. 22.

The Amherst women’s cross country team continued its successful season, placing sixth at the ECAC Championships last weekend and fourth at the NCAA regionals this past Saturday.

Finishing first for the Jeffs was Olivia Tarantino ’15, whose 23:03 finishing time made for a 16th place finish in the 338-runner field. Six seconds later, Tess Frenzel ’17 finished to come in 21st.

The team continued its winning ways by taking fourth place at NCAA Regionals on Nov. 15.

Savanna Gornisiewicz ’17 paved the way for the Jeffs, taking ninth overall in the 387-person field.

“Saturday was the best day for Amherst cross-country since I’ve been coaching here,” Coach Funke-Harris said. “The men really started things off on a great note. Seeing them race so incredibly well really set a good tone for the rest of the day. It got our team excited to compete and see what they could do.

“It was awesome to have four runners finish in the top 25, and that bodes very well for us this weekend at nationals,” Coach Funke-Harris continued.

As a result of their performance, the Jeffs received an at large bid to the NCAA Div. III National Championships. This will be Amherst’s 13th appearance at the event, and the program’s first since 2012. Nationals will take place on Saturday, Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio.