XC Races at Home for NESCAC Champ.
Issue   |   Wed, 11/02/2011 - 01:39

Keri Lambert ’13 took an early lead in Saturday’s NESCAC Championship and finished second overall, helping propel the women to third place. On the men’s side, a balanced effort led to an eighth-place finish on the team’s home course.

The snow mercifully held off, but a cold and muddy course confronted the runners when the women began their six-kilometer race at 11 a.m. Runners began at the bottom of Memorial Hill and worked their way past the soccer fields and through the woods to a large field loop before coming back to finish where they started. Filled with mud and standing water, the loop was in particularly bad shape for the meet.

In a repeat of the Little Three Championship two weeks ago, Lambert and Williams’ Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 quickly separated themselves from the pack, setting up a two-woman race. Lambert held the early lead before Del Piccolo took over, finishing in a time of 21:58. Lambert easily took second in 22:27, continuing a stellar season as the Jeffs’ number one runner. Lambert has now led the Jeffs in every race this season.

Ali Simeone ’13 came in 12th, finishing in 23:13 and providing the women with what would turn out to be a crucial low score. A pack of Amherst runners crossed the line 45 seconds later, with Sarah Daly ’13 and Lauren Almeida ’13 clocking in at 23:58 and 23:59 and Jessie Kaliski ’15 rounding out the scoring at 24:04.

Tufts top five runners finished before Amherst’s, but the Lady Jeffs top finishers helped them take third ((105 points) over the Jumbos (126). Williams (34 points) put four runners in the top ten en route to a dominant win, while Middlebury (42) took second.

The men’s race was eight kilometers, with runners completing a second field loop before racing back to campus. According to KC Fussell ’15, conditions impacted the team’s strategy heading into the race. “The whole team went out conservatively knowing that other runners would go out hard and would be heavily taxed by the mud and hills of the field loop,” Fussell said, “especially in the second loop of the field loop where we as a team kicked it in.” The Lord Jeffs ran as a pack, with the top seven runners finishing within a minute of each other and the top five within 30 seconds.

Fussell was the first runner across in 27:07, good for 39th place overall. Andrew Erskine ’13, Greg Turissini ’15 and Patrick Grimes ’13 finished together with times of 27:15, 27:16 and 27:18, respectively. A mere 14 seconds and five spots later, Dillon Buckley ’13 stopped the clock at 27:32 to complete the top five.

The Lord Jeffs ended with 218 points, putting them in eighth place, well ahead of Hamilton (259 points), Colby (262), and Trinity (329). Williams added to their success on the day by winning the men’s race with 49 points despite not placing anyone in the top five.

Bates and Bowdoin tied for second with 79 points each, with Middlebury coming in fourth. Middlebury’s Michael Schmidt won the race in 25:51 despite running the majority of the eight kilometers without his right shoe, which he lost in the mud.

The cross country teams return to action at the ECAC Championships next Saturday, with NCAA regionals on Nov. 12 at Bowdoin. Course conditions will be ideal for improving on this weekend’s times, according to Fussell. “Bowdoin has a fast course so a lot of guys will be looking to run PR’s,” “We’re a tight group of guys with a lot invested in this season’s training and a lot to prove now that it’s championship season.”