Men’s Cross Country Races To Second at League Championship
Issue   |   Tue, 11/01/2016 - 22:22

With the NESCAC title the goal for the weekend, the Amherst men’s cross country team traveled to Waterville, Maine to compete at the NESCAC Championships, hosted by Colby. Though Amherst came up short, placing second to Williams with 100 points to the 83 scored by the Ephs, the team has much to look forward to for the rest of the season.

With the course at the Quarry Road Trails unfamiliar to the purple and white, the harriers weren’t able to see the trail until the day of the race. The challenging course featured several rolling hills, along with some mud caused by rain the day before the race. The course is also used mostly for cross country skiing and dog sledding, adding to the difficulty of the course. Considering the conditions, personal record times were not expected for any runners, and the place of the competing runners was of utmost importance.

After a race re-start, the purple and white set off to conquer the course that lay ahead of them. With the top three places taken by runners from other NESCAC opponents who had set themselves apart from the rest of the field early in the race, the remaining places were up for grabs.

Leading the team once again was Mohamed Hussein ’18, placing fifth in the 123-person field. His excellent finishing place awarded him first team All-NESCAC laurels, as one of the top seven finishers in the race earning this honor.

While Hussein was unable to defend his NESCAC title from a year ago, the junior four-time All-American ran a solid race, setting himself up well for the remaining postseason races.

Not far behind Hussein was Cosmo Brossy ’19, as the sophomore continued his breakout cross-country season with an eighth place finish. His excellent finish earned him second team All-NESCAC laurels, the only Amherst harrier besides Hussein to garner all-conference honors. Brossy greatly improved upon his 2015 finish of 54th place, demonstrating the benefits of a year of steady and consistent improvement.

Running in the third and fourth place scoring positions for the purple and white were Craig Nelson ’18 and Raymond Meijer ’17, placing back-to-back in 22nd and 23rd places overall. Craig Nelson moved up well in the second half of the race, and senior captain Meijer, in his last NESCAC championship, launched an inspired finishing kick at the end of the race to catch up to his teammate.

In the fifth and final scoring position was Scott Nelson ’18 placing 42nd, continuing his incredible comeback after undergoing surgery in February of this year. Scott Nelson has enjoyed a consistent and successful season, and helped the purple and white to a runner-up finish on the challenging course.

Right behind Scott Nelson were Steven Lucey ’17 and Tucker Meijer ’19, placing back-to-back in 44th and 45th places, respectively. Their close finishing places as sixth and seventh runners to the final scoring position runner demonstrates the great depth the team possesses this season, what will likely be a key asset for the team in the remainder of the postseason.

With the top-12 runners on each team permitted to compete at the NESCAC championships, Kristian Sogaard ’19, Justin Barry ’18, Jack Wesley ’18, Jacob Silverman ’19 and Kevin Connors ’17 also competed for the purple and white. They all ran well on the challenging course, with some suffering falls on the muddy course, but each competed hard for the team with the much-desired NESCAC championship on the line.

“I thought overall we did really well and had a really solid day,” Craig Nelson said. “But in a couple weeks we’re looking to close those gaps and become an even stronger team for the post season.”

The team’s second place finish sets them up for the New England Regional Championships in two weeks, as they compete for a spot on the starting line at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships that will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. With only the top-two teams at regionals securing automatic qualifying positions to Nationals, Amherst hope to beat their familiar foes of Williams and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last year the harriers placed second to Williams, and they hope to improve upon their finish in the next two weeks.