Men’s Cross Country Captures Fourth Place at Purple Valley Invite
Issue   |   Tue, 09/27/2016 - 23:05

This weekend the Amherst men’s cross country team returned to Mt. Greylock High School, the site of Williams home course, as the defending champions at the Purple Valley Invitational. Though the squad returned to Amherst with a fourth place finish and was unable to defend their title, the team did achieve many strong individual showings at the meet.

Entering the highly competitive meet, the nine Amherst harriers knew they would be facing several nationally ranked teams with not only their biggest rivals in third-ranked Williams, but also second-ranked SUNY Geneseo, sixth-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology and top-20 ranked Colby and Rhode Island Polytechnic Institute among the nationally competitive squads on the start line.

The course at Mt. Greylock is considered a “true” cross country course, as the big hill the runners must climb twice during the eight-kilometer race tends to favor runners with more endurance than speed.

The team was led by the season debut of four-time All-American Mohammed Hussein ’18 as he placed second overall in the 284-person field. Hussein continues to be a consistent performer for the team, following up many impressive performances from last year, including a first-place finish at the Purple Valley Invite in 2015.

Following Hussein were Cosmo Brossy ’19 and Steven Lucey ’17, showing their remarkable improvement since last season with both running more than a minute faster than their finishing time at this meet last year. Brossy and Lucey’s finishes of 13th and 16th, respectively, earned them top-20 finishes in the competitive field.

Filling out the rest of the top-five scoring positions were brothers Raymond Meijer ’17 and Tucker Meijer ’19, with finishing places of 37th and 43rd, respectively.

Following the Meijer brothers were Craig Nelson ’18 and Kristian Sogaard ’19 in the sixth and seventh positions for the team with places of 50th and 52nd overall. Nelson and Sogaard’s close finishes demonstrate the depth Amherst has that will carry them to post-season success.

Scott Nelson ’18 and Jacob Silverman ’19 also placed in the top-100, with finishes of 81st and 95th, respectively. Nelson improved upon his 2015 time in the meet by more than 30 seconds, and Silverman improved by nearly a minute, with both reaping the benefits of consistent summer training.

In the sub-varsity 5k, Amherst finished in second place with a team total of 56 points to the 15 points of Williams. The harriers covering the shorter race distance were led by Chris Butko ’18, with a 12th place finish.

Following Butko were Ralph Skinner ’20, Ermias Kebede ’19, Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 and Chris Stone ’20 to fill out the top-five scoring positions for the purple and white. With Vernon Espinoza ’19 placing 29th in the 5k race, all Amherst harriers placed in the top-30 on the hilly course.

“We’re excited to face the teams who beat us [at Purple Valley] later in the season,” senior caption Raymond Meijer said. “If we close up some gaps in results I think we’ll be well-suited to compete right with them.”

In two weeks, the Amherst harriers will travel to Franklin Park in Boston for the NEICAAA meet where they will face harriers from across New England, hailing from Division I, II and III schools.

Last year the squad placed second in both the varsity and sub-varsity races at this meet, and they hope to continue their success against their New England foes on Saturday Oct. 8.