Men’s Cross Country Tallies Near-Perfect Score to Open Season
Issue   |   Tue, 09/12/2017 - 21:44
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First-year Bill Massey impressed in his Amherst debut, claiming eighth overall with a time of 16:51.8.

In their first race since placing 12th at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships last year, the Mammoths dominated at the Smith Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 9. Amherst won with a near-perfect score of 17, while Franklin Pierce, a Division II school, finished a distant second with 50 points.

Unlike most college cross-country races, the Smith Invitational was contested at the 5k, rather than the usual 8k, distance.

To open their season, the team started at a pre-determined tempo pace, decided by the condition they displayed in recent workouts. In the second mile, the harriers were instructed to run ten seconds faster than their first mile before going all out in the final mile.

Clark Ricciardelli ’20E led the Mammoths in his cross-country debut, winning the race by five seconds with a time of 16:13 on the hilly Smith College course. Tucker Meijer ’19 followed him in second with a time of 16:18, displaying the fitness he gained with a solid summer of training.

Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 finished in third with a time of 16:24. Seniors Jack Wesley and Justin Barry then claimed fifth and sixth place, respectively. Both crossed the finish line in a time of 16:50.

In his first college race, Jamie Mazzola ’21 covered the course in a time of 16:51 to place seventh, while fellow first-years Billy Massey and Braxton Schuldt followed their classmate in eighth and 10th place, respectively.

Chris Stone ’20 placed 14th with a time of 17:09, while Jacob Silverman ’19 placed 16th with a time of 17:10.

Estevan Velez ’20 and Aaron Zambrano ’18 rounded out the Amherst competitors in the race, placing 21st and 28th, respectively.

Even more impressive, the Mammoths did not race top runners Mohamed Hussein ’18, Cosmo Brossy ’19 and Kristian Sogaard ’19 due to illness or injury.

All three, who expect to compete at the Williams Purple Valley Invitational in two weeks, raced at nationals last season as part of the team’s top-seven.

Amherst will take the weekend of Sept. 16-17 off before competing again on Saturday, Sept. 23, when Amherst will travel to archrival Williams to compete at the Purple Valley Invitational.

The meet will feature top competition from the New England region, and the Mammoths will seek to regain their title from the meet, as they last won the invitational in 2015 and placed fourth in 2016. Additionally, the past two years, the Ephs have won the NESCAC Championship and Amherst has placed second, adding to the already fierce rivalry between the Little III and NESCAC rivals.

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