Around the Herd: March 1 to March 7 in Athletics
In this edition of Around the Herd: women's hockey dominates NESCAC Championship and men’s and women’s track and field teams set season bests at the Tufts National Qualifying Meet.
After their incredible comeback in the NESCAC Quarterfinals against Wesleyan last week, women’s hockey faced a tough opponent in Middlebury for the tournament’s semifinals. During the regular season, the Mammoths had beaten the Panthers in two successive 4-2 matches. Still, the team lost to Middlebury in the NESCAC Finals last year, 2-0. As such, the Mammoths were compelled to take revenge on the Panthers for last year, while also trying to sweep the season series for this year. In remarkable fashion, the Mammoths flipped last year’s headline “Middlebury Blanks Amherst 2-0” into “ Amherst Blanks Middlebury, 2-0.” Marked by second-period goals from Kate Pohl ’23 and Marie-Eve Marleau ’26, as well as Natalie Stott’s ’26 11th shutout of the season — leading Division III nationwide — the Mammoths swept the season series and were on their way to the championship game.
While Amherst was the No. 1 seed of the tournament, Hamilton was not far behind as the No. 2 seed, dominating Williams in the quarterfinals and pulling off a close win against Colby after falling down a goal early in the second period. However, this was Hamilton’s first time in the NESCAC Finals, while Amherst had been here only a year before, even winning the tournament three years ago. After splitting the season series, an experienced Amherst squad met a young talented Hamilton squad in the tournament’s finals, leaving viewers with a hopefully thrilling match. Unfortunately, for neutral viewers, it was not thrilling, it was utter domination — a bloodbath like no other. The Mammoths immediately took the lead in the first period behind a goal from senior Avery Flynn ’23, following it up with four goals in the second and third period — it was never close. For the first time in NESCAC Tournament history, the Mammoths won without letting up a single goal, outscoring their opponents 9-0 throughout the tournament, with three incredible shutouts from Natalie Stott ’26.
The NESCAC Championship has earned Amherst a bid into the 2023 Division III NCAA Tournament, which will begin this Saturday at Orr Rink.
After their excellent showing against Middlebury last week, recording a 5-0 victory, the Mammoths unfortunately fell flat against Williams in a thrilling semifinal that went into overtime. The 8th-seeded Ephs had a losing 7-15-2 record over the regular season, but went on a heater during the tournament and the Mammoths were unable to stop them. Amherst outshot Williams 14-8 in the third period, but they were unable to finish any of their opportunities against Williams’ stellar goalie Evan Ruschil, letting Williams outshoot them in overtime 7-1, earning them the goal and the victory that ended the men’s hockey team’s season.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
The men’s and women’s track and field teams went over to Medford, Massachusetts, to compete in the Tufts National Qualifying Meet.
The men’s team sent six athletes to the meet. In the 60-meter dash, first-year Jordan Harrison ’26 ran a stellar 6.91 seconds to finish third and earn a season best for himself. Simultaneously, sophomore Yeob Kim ’25 competed in the long jump. He finished in fifth place with an excellent 6.63m jump. Finally, the men’s team sent their distance medley team, composed of Kolya Markov-Riss ’24, Cody Pierce ’26, Jack O'Hara ’25 and Henry Dennen ’26, recording a season-best 9:52.13.
The women’s team sent seven athletes, including a relay team of their own. Their 4x400-meter relay, including Eliza Cardwell ’25, Myeh Medina ’26, Trintje Nydam ’24 and Casie Eifrig ’25, ran a 3:56.72 and finished second. On the other hand, Mary Kate McGranahan ’23 ran a 17:29.06 in the 5000m to place fifth, only five seconds away from her personal best. Finally, two Mammoths, Anaya Thomas ’25 and Anastasia Ioppolo ’26, participated in the triple jump, each recording a 11.19m and a 10.39m, and finishing third and sixth respectively.