Cross Country laps field in first Amherst athletic event of year

Since the scoring of cross country meets is based on a point system by placings, the desired score is as low as possible. The men’s team snatched first place with a score of 37, while the women dominated their field for a first-place finish with a mere 29 points. NESCAC opponent Trinity College came in second in both the men’s and women’s races, with scores of 48 and 41, respectively.

Men’s Cross Country

Men’s Cross Country

Coach Erik Nedeau was very pleased with the men’s performance. “The men raced extremely well on the challenging course,” he said.

From the immense pack of runners who took off from the red-flagged start line, three men emerged. At approximately the three-mile mark of the five-mile-plus trail, co-captain John Stanton-Geddes ’04, Matthew Katz ’05 and co-captain Michael Page ’05 took the lead. These men hit the home stretch three abreast and garnered the top three finishes.

Katz edged out his teammates by less than half of a second to take the first place finish, followed by Page in second place and Stanton-Geddes at his heels.

“John, Matt and I ran relaxed and in control and did exactly what we planned on doing before the race,” said Page. “Our plan was to get in a good workout and make it clear that we are a different team than last year.”

Finishing fourth for the team was Jack Morgan ’05. Coach Nedeau complimented Morgan’s performance. “Jack looked real comfortable in the race as he finished fourth for the men while working with first-year runners Cooper Knowlton and Brandt Tullis, who finished fifth and sixth for the team in their first collegiate races and were able to hold off a strong Trinity team for the win,” said Nedeau. Completing the varsity seven was Evan Guiney ’06.

Several other runners raced on the home trails for the first time, including sophomores Adam David, Chase Bourke and William McNitt. A trio of first-years also took to Amherst’s trails for the first time in competition. Richard Wilson, Robert Boley and Nathaniel Freese all ran well.

The freshmen will most likely have a strong impact on the team this year. “Cooper Knowlton, one of the freshmen, ran one of the best individual races, with Brandt Tullis, another freshman, not far behind. I expect the two of them, along with Nate Freese � to play a serious role in our varsity team by the end of the season,” said Page.

Katz is also relying on the freshmen to help the team. “Strong freshman running will be the key to a successful year, and they were out in full force on Saturday,” said the meet’s top finisher.

Women’s Cross Country

Women’s Cross Country

The women took to the course shortly after the men and were able to post a similarly impressive showing.

“The women posted a dominant win, as they scored a meet low 29 points to ward off a possibly nationally-ranked Trinity team,” said Nedeau.

“It was a great opening meet for the team,” said co-captain Helen Dole ’04. Dole noted that the home race provided a moral boost to the women, relieving “the first race jitters.” In addition, “the course was in great shape and it was lined with lots of home-crowd cheerers,” added Dole.

As has become customary, All-American Carter Hamill ’05 led the women with a second-place finish overall. Alyson Venti ’04 took third place in the meet with freshman harrier Shauneen Garrahan finishing right behind her. Garrahan is currently in the running to becoming one of the top first-year runners in the region. Rounding out the top four finishes for the team was Margaret Davis ’06 in sixth place.

Sophomore Jenny Horowitz was the fifth Amherst runner to finish, followed by classmate Ginger Polich in sixth and senior co-captain Erinn White in seventh. On their heels were harriers Alison Rodriguez ’05 and Dole.

“None of the women wore racing spikes, but, instead, all opted for trainers, which are a little slower, but that way when we put our spikes on for the first time at UMass-Dartmouth in two weeks we’ll feel especially fast,” said Dole.

“It was the first meet of the season, as well as the first competition of the season for Amherst College and will hopefully bode well for the remainder of the season,” said Nedeau.

Dole expressed similar sentiments, “I think this meet bodes very well for the rest of the season. We have high expectations for our team, and Saturday gave us confidence that these are attainable if we keep working hard in practice and training smart.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams have this weekend off from competition to train for their next meet, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. With the squads off to blazing starts, expect the men and women to keep the fast times and big wins coming as the season continues.