Men’s Cross Country Finishes 12th at Nationals, Places Three in Top 100
Issue   |   Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:05
Amherst Athletics
Senior Steven Lucey finished 145th at Nationals in the fourth scoring position for the purple and white to help the squad to their 12th place finish.

Before Thanksgiving break, the Amherst men’s cross country team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships. The eight harriers, along with coaches Erik Nedeau and Luke Maher, boarded their flight to Louisville with the goal of placing in the top-10 at the meet for the third consecutive year. Although they came up just short of their goal, placing 12th as a team, the team has much to look forward to in seasons to come.

Mohamed Hussein ’18 led the team once again with his 68th place finish. While Hussein wasn’t able to earn his third cross country All-American honor, he enjoyed a successful season overall.

Craig Nelson ’18 followed Hussein, placing 83rd. The junior came on strong in the latter portion of the season, as he was the second Amherst harrier across the finish line at both Regionals and Nationals. Nelson carried positive momentum from his strong outdoor track season in the spring to have a successful season on the trails in the fall.

Shortly after Nelson came captain Raymond Meijer ’17 in 88th place. The senior capped his cross country career with another solid race. His consistency has been crucial for the team’s success throughout his career at Amherst, as he has been a member of the top-seven since his first year and has helped the team qualify for Nationals for three consecutive seasons.

In the fourth scoring position for the purple and white was Steven Lucey ’17, finishing his cross country career with a 145th place finish. The senior brought his previous experience to the meet, as this was the second time he competed at Nationals. Lucey raced his sophomore year and was an alternate last year as a junior.

Rounding out the scoring for Amherst was Scott Nelson ’18, placing not far behind Lucey in 154th. The junior enjoyed a great comeback season after not being able to compete in his 2016 track season due to an injury. His perseverance paid off, as the junior joined his twin Craig at Nationals for the first time.

In the sixth and seventh non-scoring positions for the purple and white were Cosmo Brossy ’19 and Kristian Sogaard ’19 in 196th and 206th places, respectively. The two sophomores both enjoyed breakout cross country seasons, as they both joined the top-seven Amherst runners for the first time this season.

“Overall I think we came away a little disappointed with our result from Nationals,” Kristian Sogaard ’19 said. “We were hoping for a slightly better result, but it just wasn’t our day out there.” The sophomore mid-distance runner improved greatly upon his first-year cross country season to join the top seven for the first time, and figures to play an integral role in the team’s success for years to come.

The team will lose only two of its top seven runners at Nationals for next year, but returns six athletes with Nationals racing experience, as Hussein, the Nelson twins, Sogaard, Brossy and this year’s alternate Tucker Meijer ’19, who raced at Nationals last year as a first-year, return for the 2017 cross country season.

With an experienced squad, the Amherst harriers are on the path for success in years to come as they seek a podium finish by placing in the top four as a team at Nationals. But with nine months until the next time the men of the Amherst team toe the starting line on the trails of New England, they “are focused on doing as well as we can in the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons,” Sogaard said.

“I want to thank the senior class this year because it was ultimately them that decided that this program shouldn’t be mediocre anymore,” Hussein added. “They set the tone and now it’s on us to set a higher standard for this program than we found it.”