The most interesting part of the race was the course, which Coach Erik Nedeau described as, “a mix of grass, hills, trails and woods, which combine to make an ideal cross country course that proved to be quite challenging.”
The course, while quite scenic, was also rather confusing. The top Williams female runner, who should have finished first, took a wrong turn and ended up finishing fourth. In addition, “The pace cart actually broke down midway through the race, so the frontrunners were left to maneuver the course on their own,” explained senior co-captain Helen Dole.
Women’s Cross Country
The women hit the trails in Maine to run their first 6k race of the season. Previously, the women had been running 5k races, but qualifying times for championship meets are based on the 6k.
The women ran without top team members Carter Hamill ’05 and Jenny Horowitz ’06. Despite these two absences, they still managed a top-three position, coming in behind Middlebury and Williams Colleges, with 80 points.
Dole commented on the dynamics of the competition. “We beat a full Wesleyan [University] squad that has been ranked nationally in early season polls. The course was longer than we’ve run all year, but the team responded well.”
First-year Shauneen Garrahan paced with senior Aly Venti throughout the race, but down the homestretch Garrahan was on her own to race a Wesleyan runner to the finish line. Garrahan surged forward, finishing first in the field of 134 runners and setting a new course record. Venti finished 20 seconds behind her teammate, earning third-place accolades.
Coming in third for the team was sophomore Margaret Davis, who ran an excellent time and placed 12th overall. Behind her was senior co-captain Erinn White, whose strong kick placed her in the top-30 with a 27th-place finish. Ginger Polich ’06, Alison Rodriguez ’05 and Dole completed Amherst women’s varsity seven.
“Coach Ned was very pleased with how we raced, noting that every Amherst runner had a tremendous finishing kick, passing whomever needed to be passed,” said Dole.
Men’s Cross Country
The men ran well, especially since they were missing many key components of the team. Coming in first for the Jeffs was senior co-captain John Stanton-Geddes with an eighth-place finish overall in a field of 164 men, including many of the best runners in the region.
“Running without Michael Page [’05] and Matt Katz [’05] and with Jack Morgan [’05] running in flats as a tempo, we weren’t expecting a banner showing,” said Stanton-Geddes.
Freshman Cooper Knowlton crossed the finish line second for the team, followed by Morgan, who, according to Nedeau, ran “comfortably,” treating the meet as a workout.
Brandt Tullis ’07, Dave Schreiner ’06 and Nate Freese ’07 finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, for the Jeffs. These men all clocked in within thirty seconds of each other. Evan Guiney ’06 and Robert Boley ’07 also raced strongly. Nedeau commented on the men’s rapid progress. “They each continue to improve and are all looking to be the guys who step up and close the gap,” he said.
The team’s next meet is not until Oct. 10, when the New England Open will be held at Boston-Franklin Park.