Cross Country Faces Uphill Challenges at UMass Meet
Issue   |   Wed, 09/21/2011 - 02:37

The cross country teams opened their seasons with a good showing at the UMass Invitational this weekend, despite racing with only half of their full force. The women’s team placed third overall while the men’s team finished sixth.

Keri Lambert ’13 finished ninth of 75 runners for the women’s team, with a time of 18:17.14 in the 5km race. Classmate Ali Simeone placed 11th at 18:25.28. Jessie Kaliski ’15 finished 22nd in her collegiate debut with an 18:56.65. Juniors Lauren Almeida and Elodie Reed placed 29th and 32nd, respectively. Co-captain Melissa Sullivan ’12 was pleased with her team’s performance at the first meet of the season. “We showed a lot of strength, depth and potential at UMass,” she said. But the Jeffs weren’t competing in full force. “We held our own in a field of Div. I teams while only about half our team competed. Next weekend, we’ll be facing a slew of our toughest Div. III competitors and we’ll have a more complete team in the race,” Sullivan said.

On the men’s side, Andrew Erksine ’13 led the Jeffs squad with a 23:22.65 in 5 miles for a 19th place finish out of 68 runners. Tri-captain Dillon Buckley ’13 said, “we were pleased with our performance from Saturday. It was an opportunity to shake off the rust with some solid competition close to home.” Adron Pitman ’13 came in 26th at a 23:37.40 and Buckley stopped the clock at 23:43.82 for 30th. Closely following Buckley were junior Pat Grimes and rookie K.C. Fussell, who placed 31st and 32nd. Tri-captain Alec Jacobson ’12 said, “given the competition — a slew of Div. I teams — we used the meet as more of a workout than a race, with the top group running more of a tempo effort for the first three miles of the course.” According to Buckley, the men’s team also “didn’t have the full squad due to sickness, a few injuries and such, but overall there was a nice effort by those who were able to race.”

The Jeffs’ next meet is Sept. 24 at the Williams Purple Valley Invitational. Sullivan is eager for her team to compete. “It was great to see some of the positive results of a long summer of training at the UMass race, but I think the Purple Valley Invitational will be an even better gauge of how our team is looking early in the season,” she said. “We’re excited to compete with our 2011 team against familiar faces on a familiar course and see what happens!” Jacobson agreed: “We’ll get a much better sense of how we stack up this weekend at Williams.”