Men’s Cross Country Places Third at Regionals, Gains At-Large Bid to NCAAs
Issue   |   Tue, 11/15/2016 - 21:15
Geoffrey Bolte, Clarus Studios Inc.
The purple and white will send a full complement of harriers to the NCAA Division III National Championship meet for the third straight season.

This Saturday, Nov. 12, the Amherst men’s cross country team made the short trip to Stanley Park in Westfield, Massachusetts for the NCAA Division III New England Championships, hosted by Westfield State University. The team placed third in the competitive 52-team field, scoring 141 points and earning an at-large bid for the NCAA Division III National Championships.
With its third-place finish, the team earned its third consecutive berth to Division III Nationals, demonstrating the strength and consistency the program has enjoyed in recent years.

Leading the team once again was Mohamed Hussein ’18, placing fifth in the 379-person field. With this impressive finish, Hussein has placed in the top-five every year at this meet, finishing in fourth place in his first year, and winning it all last year as a sophomore. Next week, the junior standout hopes to earn his third consecutive cross country All-American honor at the national meet.

Following Hussein was Craig Nelson ’18, finishing in 17th place overall. Nelson earned his second consecutive All-Region honor, given to the top 35 finishers in the race, after placing 25th last year as a sophomore. This was also the first time Nelson finished as the second Amherst harrier across the finish line this season, demonstrating the depth of this season’s purple and white.

Finishing as the third Amherst harrier in the race was captain Raymond Meijer ’17, coming in 26th place overall. This is Meijer’s third consecutive All-Region honor. He placed 26th as a sophomore and 19th as a junior last year. His similar finishes across his career demonstrates a consistency that has been crucial for the team’s success, both this year and throughout his collegiate career.

Following Meijer was Cosmo Brossy ’19, finishing in 42nd place. Although the sophomore came up just short of earning All-Region honors, Brossy has enjoyed a breakout season. Brossy has greatly contributed to the team’s success this year, garnering all-NESCAC second team honors after the league championships, where he finished in eighth place, just one spot out of being named to the first team.

In the fifth and final scoring position was Scott Nelson ’18, placing 51st overall with a still impressive time of 25:45.56.
In the sixth and seventh non-scoring positions were Steven Lucey ’17 and Kristian Sogaard ’19, finishing in 60th and 77th places, respectively. Last year, both did not compete at regionals, but have significantly improved this season to earn spots in the top seven.

With the team placing third behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Williams, they did not earn an automatic spot for the national championship meet, given to the top two teams in the field. Thus, the team had to wait until Sunday when the NCAA announced the the teams that had qualified for at-large bids for nationals.

This year, the New England region earned only two at-large team qualifying positions, which was unexpected, as for the past two years the region has earned four at-large berths, sending a total of six teams to the national championship. This year only NESCAC rival Middlebury, who finished in fourth place at regionals, will join the purple and white at nationals from the New England region.

“We were happy to qualify for Nationals since we’ve had that be our focus all season,” captain Meijer said. “Although there are still some gaps in our squad, I’m confident we can close them up next week at nationals!”

The team will be traveling to Louisville, Kentucky with the goal of improving upon their 10th place finish as a team last year. The Amherst harriers will join 31 other of the best Division III cross country teams as well as the top seven runners from eight different regions across the nation when they toe the line in pursuit of excellence in Louisville. The championship meet will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19 at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park.