Women's XC Falls Just Short of Nationals
Issue   |   Tue, 11/19/2013 - 22:51

The Amherst Men’s Cross Country team took eighth in a 50-team field at the NCAA Division III New England Championship this past Saturday.

The University of Southern Maine hosted the event, but the NESCAC was by far the most successful, placing seven teams in the top ten. Williams took first with 77 points, Middlebury followed with 78 points and MIT took third with 113 points. Rounding out the top eight were Tufts (142), Bates (158), Colby (163), Bowdoin (177) and Amherst (216).

Before the race, the Jeffs were ranked eighth. Coach Erik Nedeau commented, “I was pretty excited to see how the guys got after it in the race and put themselves into the positions they needed to be in.”

Dan Crowley ’16 put himself in an excellent position. Finishing first for the Jeffs in a time of 25:12.94, Crowley was slated 18th in a 366-runner field. This performance granted Crowley an individual qualification for the NCAA National Championship.

Greg Turissini ’15 and Charlie Reighard ’14 also had very strong finishes for the Jeffs. With a time of 25:29.81, Turissini took 32nd, just ahead of Reighard’s 35th place mark under two seconds later. These two top-35 finishes earned the runners All-New England recognition.

The Jeffs will return to action for the NCAA National Championship on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Amherst Women’s Cross Country team traveled to Portland, Maine this past Saturday to compete in the 2013 NCAA Division III New England Championships hosted by the University of Southern Maine. The Jeffs finished eighth in the 53-team event.

The NESCAC finished strong at the event with six teams placing in the top ten. Williams took first place with 44 points followed by Middlebury in second with 57 points. After these top two finishers were MIT (127), Tufts (134), Brandeis (168), Bates (197), Colby (201) and Amherst (258).

“I was happy to see us beat Conn. College who squeaked by us at NESCACs,” said coach Cassie Funke-Harris. “It really shows that we’re a better team than our NESCAC performance showed.”

This success started with Lizzy Briskin ’15 who paved the way yet again for the Jeffs this season. Her finishing time of 22:17.65 slated her 36th overall in the 371-person field. Briskin has had a very successful season. She shared some of her sentiments on her performance.

“Individually, I am glad that I ran a faster time than at Regionals at Westfield State last year, though I would have liked to qualify for the all-Regional team,” Briskin said.

Briskin narrowly missed out on an individual qualification for Nationals, falling 10 seconds and 9 places short.

Caroline Rose ’16 was the second Jeff to finish and 44th in the field, crossing the tape in 22:28.55.

Rounding out the top five were Catherine Lowdon ’17, Jessie Kaliski ’15 and Betsy Black ’16. Lowdon placed 52nd overall with a time of 22:35.89, Kaliski finished in a time of 22:38.87 and Black took 72nd with a time of 22:55.73.

“I am very happy with how the team performed. Our goal was to race as hard as we could and ‘leave it all on the course’ and I personally was fully satisfied that we met that goal,” Briskin said.

The team missed out on qualifying for nationals by a few points.

“Our goal at the start of the season was to make nationals, and it stings a little to be the first women’s cross country team in ten years to not make the national meet,” Funke-Harris said. “Every person who raced at regionals will be back next year, and there are others waiting in the wings for their opportunity to show they can compete at that level.”

With the close of the cross country season, many of the runners are off to compete in indoor track. We must wait until next year to see what comes of their return to action on the trails.