Around the Herd: Sept. 28 to Oct. 4

Around the Herd provides quick updates on all the Amherst sports action you may have missed this past week. In this week’s installment: cross country’s accomplishments at the Purple Valley Invitational, both golf teams’ success, and the beginning of men’s tennis’ season.

Around the Herd: Sept. 28 to Oct. 4

Cross Country

Women's cross country is currently ranked eighth nationally. Photo courtesy of Amherst Athletics.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams found success at this weekend’s Purple Valley Invitational. The No. 8 women’s team won the 11-team event hosted by Williams College, while the No. 33 men’s team finished second.

The awards just keep coming for women’s cross country senior Mary Kate McGranahan ’23, who paced the Mammoths to their team win by crossing the line first for the third consecutive race. She finished the 6 km course in 22:19.4, 25 seconds ahead of the second place finisher from Mount Holyoke, and earned her second NESCAC Performer of the Week award of the season. Two other Mammoths finished in the top 10: Sophia Wolmer ’23 was the next Mammoth to cross the line, finishing in third place with a time of 22:59.1, and first year Daphne Theiler ’26 posted a time of 23:45.0 to place ninth, her third top-10 finish in three total collegiate races. The Mammoths’ scorecard was rounded out by Sylvan Wold ’25, who finished 12th in a personal-best time of 23:52.5, and Allison Lounsbury ’26 just behind her, who took 13th place in 23:55.3.

On the men’s side, junior Theo Dassin ’24 and first-year Henry Dennen ’26 led the Mammoths to their third top-two finish of the young season. Dassin was the first Amherst runner to finish the 8 km race, placing 11th with a time of 25:52.4. He was also the first person from a school other than Williams to cross the finish line — Eph runners took all 10 of the top spots in the race. Dennen crossed the line less than 10 seconds later, taking 12th. All five of the Mammoth scorers finished the 143-runner race in the top 30: George Cahill ’26, Aidan Gemme ’26, and Thomas Stephens ’26 crossed the finish line in 26:10.4 (14th place), 26:40.4 (26th place), and 27:06.5 (27th place), respectively. Both Cahill and Stephens set collegiate bests for themselves with their times this weekend.

The Mammoths will return to action after fall break, traveling to Waterford, Connecticut, for the Connecticut College Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Harkness Memorial State Park.

Men’s Golf

Men's golf won their first tournament in four years this past weekend. Photo courtesy of Amherst Athletics.

The men’s golf team was outstanding this past weekend at the Blazer Invitational, shooting the best score of the day on both Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2, to take home their first tournament title in four years among a field of 10 other teams. The Mammoths’ two-day total of 603 was 12 strokes ahead of the second-place team.

John Beskid ’26 led the charge for the Mammoths, finishing second in the individual standings with a team-best score of 148 over the two days. His classmates Paari Kaviyarasu ’26 and Mark Vitels ’26 were not far behind, posting identical two-day scores of 150 that placed them in a tie for third on the individual leaderboard. Steven Chen ’25 placed eighth overall with a two-day total of 155, and Anthony Zhang ’25 was the final Mammoth scorer, placing 13th overall with a score of 158 over the two days.

The Mammoths will take next weekend off before competing in the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championship in Brewster, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16.

Women’s Golf:

The women’s golf team, ranked No. 9 in the nation, finished in third place at the George Phinney Classic in Middlebury this past weekend. Their two-day total of 662 was 12 strokes behind second place and 14 strokes behind the tournament winners.

Jessica Huang ’25 was the Mammoths’ top finisher. She tied for second in the individual standings with a two-day score of 160, just two strokes behind the top finisher. Huang has finished in the top three overall in all three tournaments the Mammoths have played in this fall. Lindsey Huang ’26 finished with a score of 165, tied for 13th individually — her best finish yet of her debut collegiate season. Priya Bakshi ’24 carded a 167 over the two days, tying her for 17th. Jenny Hua ’24 and Ivy Haight ’25 were the final Mammoth scorers, who finished with two-day totals of 170 and 174, respectively.

The Mammoths return to the course next weekend to begin their NESCAC championship defense at the NESCAC Fall Qualifier on Saturday, Oct. 8, and Sunday, Oct. 9. This year’s tournament is hosted by Amherst and will take place at the Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown. The top four teams from the tournament will advance to the NESCAC Championship in the spring, with the winner earning the right to host the tournament.

Men’s Tennis

Men's tennis players found success at ITA regionals. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios. 

The Mammoths traveled to Brunswick, Maine, this weekend for the ITA Division III New England Regional Championships, their first of three fall tournaments. The event, held at Bowdoin College, was a successful start to the team’s 2022 campaign, with three players reaching at least the semifinal of their respective brackets.

Sujit Chepuri ’25 and first-year Jakob Esterowitz ’26 reached the semifinal round of the doubles tournament, winning three matches across two days to get there. After receiving a first-round bye as one of the top 16 teams in the bracket, the pair took their first match 8-5 in the round of 32. They then bested two NESCAC opponents, the No. 3 seed from Bowdoin and an unseeded team from rival Middlebury, by identical 8-4 scorelines in the next two rounds on the way to a semifinal appearance. While their run ended with an 8-4 loss on Sunday, the first three wins showed the Mammoths’ potential early in the new season.

In the singles tournament, Amherst players also found success. In the B Bracket, junior Marshall Leung ’24 dominated his first collegiate singles tournament. He took an easy 8-4 win in the round of 32 before claiming a 6-2, 7-6 victory in the round of 16 and a 6-1, 4-6, 10-3 win in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Leung found another gear, gritting out a 7-6, 7-6 win before cruising in the final, taking the title with a 6-3, 6-0 victory. Kobe Ellenbogen ’25 was the Mammoth to get the farthest in the A Bracket, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to the No. 2 seeded player from Bowdoin.

The team will return to the courts next weekend at the MIT Fall Invitational, held in Cambridge from Friday, Oct. 7, until Sunday, Oct. 9.