Women’s Cross Country Fails to Qualify for DIII National Tournament
Issue   |   Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:50
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Haley Greene ’21 finished 32nd with a time of 22:16.0 for the 6k race.

This past weekend, the Amherst Women’s cross country team competed at this year’s edition of the NCAA DIII New England Regionals women’s cross-country meet hosted by the the University of Southern Maine. The Mammoths traversed the 6k course at the Gorham Country Club golf course in frigid conditions, making the meet considerably colder than any other race this fall.

“In the end, the weather was really a non-factor, as everyone was in their element come start time,” assistant coach Danny Feldman said.

The regional meet served as a qualifier for NCAA DIII Cross Country National Championships, as the top two teams earned an automatic bid to the national meet. Additionally, a total of sixteen teams across all regions were selected for at-large bids based on their showings at the different regional meets. With a mere 58 points, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claimed the first automatic qualifying spot, while Tufts placed second with 92 points to earn the other automatic qualifier.

The Mammoths placed sixth with 183 points, behind Williams (106 points), Middlebury (113 points) and Bates (150 points). This put Amherst in contention for an at-large bid, which they just missed out on recieving.

“I know the women were disappointed to not be selected for the NCAA championships, but ultimately, we’re at the mercy of a selection committee balancing a number of factors,” coach Cassie Funke-Harris said. “[Amherst] beat a number of nationally ranked teams who were chosen for at-large bids to the national championships earlier in the season at the Paul Short Invitational.”

On the individual side, senior Nicky Roberts claimed second overall in the race with a time of 20:31.3. She earned All-Region honors and was the runner-up to Coast Guard Academy first-year Kaitlyn Mooney, who finished with a time of 20:22.6. In a field of 393 runners, Roberts set a personal record and qualifed for the national meet in the process, as the first seven athletes in each region not on a qualifying team are chosen to participate in the national meet.

“[Roberts is] having a storybook senior year so far, and I’m so happy for her to be headed back to the NCAA championships,” Funke-Harris said. “She has battled injury over the last two years, and it’s fantastic to see her fit, fast, and ready to compete.”

Sophomore Kristin Ratliff (22:11.5) placed 28th, followed closely by first-year Haley Greene (22:16.0) in 33rd. Both runners garnered All-Region honors and set personal records as well. Rounding out the team’s top-five runners, Olivia Polischeck ’21 (22:40.8) and Lela Walter ’19 (22:43.4) placed 61st and 63rd, respectively. Both runners set new personal records. Junior Veronica Rocco (23:02.2) placed 76th, and first-year Sarah Gayer (23:20.5) placed 97th.

With the season over for the rest of the team, Roberts will shoulder the Mammoths’ hopes of further post-season honors. Roberts closes her final season of collegiate cross country running at the NCAA DIII National Cross Country Championships this Saturday, Nov. 18, at North Farm Facility in Elsah, Ill.

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