Around the Herd: Your Weekly Mammoth Sports Update
In the first installment of “Around the Herd,” the sportswriting staff provides some quick snapshots of all the Amherst sports action you may have missed this past week.
In the Sports section’s first installment of “Around the Herd,” we provide some quick snapshots of all the Amherst sports action you may have missed this past week.
In a season-opening week in which the team played two games, the Mammoths went 1-1 in one non-conference game and one NESCAC contest.
First, they traveled down Route 9 for their season opener against the Mount Holyoke Lyons — a game which they dominated from start to finish on the way to a 10-0 win. The Mammoths, ranked No. 11 in the nation going into the season, got the party going early, with Abbey Kays ’25 scoring just two minutes into the contest. She was closely followed by Muffie Mazambani ’24, Gwen Allen ’23, and Kat Mason ’25, who all netted to balloon the lead to 4-0 after the opening quarter. Amherst never looked back from there: Two more goals resulted in a 6-0 halftime scoreline, before three third-quarter goals (from Natalie Hobbs ’23E, Jackie D’Alleva ’23, and Paige DiBiase ’25) made the Amherst advantage nine. A final tally from Maya Reiner ’25 off an assist from Bob Cooper ’23 put the cherry on top of the Mammoths’ win.
After that steamrolling, the team faced a much tougher test in the form of national-No. 1 Middlebury. Playing their home opener on Hill Field, the Mammoths put up a fight against the Panthers in a tightly contested game. After Amherst went down 1-0 only a minute and 13 seconds into the contest, they had a steep hill to climb, but they clawed a goal back to tie the game at one by way of Mazambani, who slipped the ball past the Middlebury goalie after a pass from Mason. However, that would be the only goal the Mammoths would score all day. Two more Panther goals put the game out of reach, and the match ended in a 3-1 defeat for Amherst.
The Mammoths will take the field for their next game on Saturday, Sept. 17 at home against Tufts. The game will begin at 12 p.m. on Hill Field.
Men’s and women’s golf opened their seasons with a pair of two-day tournaments this weekend — the men’s team finished in 16th place out of 24 teams at Middlebury’s Nelson Invitational, while the No. 12-ranked women’s team placed second out of 14 teams at the Hamilton Fall Invitational.
For the women, individual performances catalyzed their team success. On day one, Priya Bakshi ’24 led the way, shooting a 1-under 72 on the day to head the standings after play concluded. It was the best single round of her collegiate career to date. Joining her in the top 10 was teammate Jessica Huang ’25; the reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year shot a 3 over 76, putting her in a tie for fifth after day one.
Day two saw a different Mammoth lead the team — reigning NESCAC Golfer of the Year and 2021 All-American Gihoe Seo ’25. She shot a 3-under 70 on the day, helping the Mammoths card a total score of 297 (+5) on Sunday. This was one stroke better than defending national champion and tournament winner Emory’s Sunday score and the best team round of the tournament. The Mammoths finished just three strokes behind the Eagles’ two-day score.
On the men’s side, while team success didn’t come this weekend, individuals also notched standout performances. First-year Mark Vitels ’26 led the Mammoths’ scorecard in his first collegiate tournament, tying for 33rd place individually with a two-round score of 11 over par. He improved from recording a 79 on day one to a 74 on day two to move up 20 individual places. Classmates Paari Kaviyarasu ’26 and John Beskid ’26 put in two day scores of 12 over and 17 over to complete the top three Mammoth finishes. Captain Tommy Whitley ’24 and sophomore Teddy Freking ’25 rounded out the Mammoths’ scorecard for the event.
Both cross country teams dominated their respective events this weekend, with both teams finishing atop the standings of their respective meets.
The Mammoths’ first-year class lead the way on the men’s side, with Henry Dennen ’26 recording a time of 19:05.0 in the 6-km race. This was good for second overall in the first meet of his collegiate career and led all Mammoth runners. That blistering time also meant Dennen was the top Division III finisher at the event, with the race-winner hailing from Division II University of New Haven. Four more Mammoths crossed the line in the top 10, with first-years George Cahill ’26 (19:18.0), Aidan Gemme ’26 (19:27.2) and Thomas Stephens ’26 (19:31.1) coming in fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, and (managing sports editor) Nick Edwards-Levin ’25 (19:42.3 — a personal best) finishing 10th overall. Every single Mammoth runner finished in the top 45 of the event standings.
On the women’s side, it was the returners who shined. Senior Mary Kate McGranahan ’23 won the first race of her collegiate career, crossing the line in 18:12.6 and averaging a 5:51.6 mile in the process. She was awarded NESCAC Performer of the Week for her run this weekend. Julia Schor ’25 completed the Mammoths’ one-two finish, finishing the 5 km course right behind her captain with a time of 18:45.7. Sophie Wolmer ’23 was the next Mammoth to cross the line, capturing fourth place in 19:03.4. Two first-years rounded out the top finishers for the team, with Allison Lounsbury ’26 finishing fifth in 19:07.7 and Daphne Theiler ’26 seventh with a time of 19:23.5 in their collegiate debuts. In total, seven Mammoths finished in the top 15 in an extremely successful weekend.