Mammoth Runners Qualify for NCAA Championships

The Mammoths are continuing to have an outstanding postseason, finishing with some of their best performances to date, with both teams qualifying for the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships.

After two weeks off from competition, the Mammoths were back in action this past Saturday, competing in NCAA Regionals at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Conn. With the men running the 8K and the women running the 6K, the Mammoths performed outstandingly across the board. Both teams qualified for NCAA Nationals, with the men’s team finishing in fifth place overall out of 26 teams, and the women’s team finishing third overall out of 24 teams.

In the 6K for the women, there were 172 total runners from 24 schools competing in the race. Despite a large pool of competitors, Amherst managed to place third out of the 24 competing teams. Mary Kate McGranahan ’23 was the top finisher for Amherst, with her time of 21:50.5 putting her in third place. Following close behind was Sidnie Kulik ’25, who finished in fifth place with a time of 22:03.9. Fellow first-year Julia Schor ’25 finished in 24th place with a time of 23:04.8, and Sophia Price ’25 was only 15 seconds behind Schor at 23:19.5, good for 32nd place. First-year Claire Callon ’25 finished another 15 seconds later, at 23:35.4, placing 38th. Rounding out the scorecard for the Mammoths were Eline Laurent ’22 and Maggie Drew ’22, notching times of 24:14.3 and 26:00.3, good for 61st and 126th place finishes respectively. Overall, the Mammoths’ average time was a very strong 22:46, an improvement of 16 seconds from their previous outing, and just five seconds behind Williams.

Laurent described the race and reasons for the Mammoths’ success: “It was a day where all our hard work from the past season came together and paid off. All the pieces fell into place on the perfect day. It was a course we had been on earlier in the season during the Conn. College meet so we knew the course and used that to our advantage. Everyone fought hard in the race and never gave up, we knew the places where we struggled last time and used that to our advantage. We ended up coming in third thus earning ourselves a spot at nationals next week!  We are super excited to go to nationals as a team!”

Moving on to the men’s 8K, the field featured a total of 174 runners from 26 schools running. The Mammoths finished in sixth place out of those 26 schools. Seven Mammoths competed for the team in this race, with Owen Daily ’23 being the first to cross the finish line, finishing in ninth place with a time of 25:21.6. Billy Massey ’22 finished just behind, at 25:35.0, which was good for 14th. Ajay Sarathy ’22 and Nick Edwards-Levin ’25 finished within 15 seconds of each other, with times of 26:03.7 and 26:16.7 and finishing in 29th and 37th place, respectively.  Theo Dassin ’24, and Oliver Spiva ’24 finished with respective times of 26:23.1 and 26:33.7 in 40th and 43rd place, respectively. Keon Mazdisnian ’23 was the final Mammoth to finish the race with a time of 26:43.5. The team’s average time was 25.56, a near 30-second drop from two weeks prior.

Daily commented on their incredible performances: “Regionals was the best team race we have had all season. With all the setbacks we have faced this season, it was incredible to see everyone run a race they can look back on and be proud of. We have a great opportunity to go back to nationals and prove that we deserve to run with the best teams in the country.”

This is the first time since 2014 that both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified for the National Championship meet. Specifically, for the men’s team, it marks their seventh consecutive season qualifying for the National Championships. With their performances this weekend, Sarathy, Massey, and Daily earned All-Region honors on the men’s side, while Price, Schor, Kulik, and McGranahan earned All-Region honors for the women. Next up for the Mammoths is the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky. The men will begin their race at 11:00 a.m. and the women will begin at 12 pm.