Men’s Track Earns Sixth Place at Nationals

The track and field teams closed out the indoor season with strong performances at the NCAA Div. III Indoor Championships last weekend. Ben Scheetz ’12 took home the title in the 800-meter run as well as the Most Outstanding Performer Honor. He led the men’s team to score 18 points for a sixth place national finish, which are both program highs. The women’s team was represented by just two runners, and scored a single point in the finals.

The NCAA team headed off to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio for last weekend’s meet. In the finals on Saturday, Scheetz finished fourth in the 400 with a 48.66. He became only the second male in program history to win a national title with his time of 1:51.26 in the 800. He edged out the runner-up by just .06 seconds and set a new Capital Center Track record. His outstanding performance in not one, but two individual events made him the logical choice for Most Outstanding Performer of the meet. Scheetz was also recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as the National Men’s Athlete of the Year for Div. III.

The Jeffs’ relay team (Scheetz, Matt Melton ’14, Andrew Reed ’12 and Tommy Moore ’11) placed sixth with a 3:20.87. The distance medley relay (Will Yochum ’11, Steve Corsello ’11, Melton and Patrick Grimes ’13) placed 10th overall with a time of 10:45.25. Yochum and Corsello also ran for the national record-setting DMR relay earlier this season. Both seniors were entered in the mile, seeded fourth and fifth with times of 4:08.16 and 4:08.48, respectively. Yochum qualified in the 10th spot but Corsello did not make it to Saturday’s finals. Yochum finished ninth in the finals with a 4:19.02. Amherst was closely followed by Bates, which racked up 17 points, but was far ahead of the rest of the NESCAC, with Williams coming in next at 26th with six points.

The women’s representatives were Melissa Sullivan ’12 and Ali Simeone ’13. Sullivan entered the mile as the 10th seed, after placing fourth in last year’s championship. She captured eighth place in the mile with a time of 5:02, earning the women’s only point for the meet. Simeone placed 10th in the 5,000 with a 17.26.96.

The day before the championship meet commenced, the USTFCCCA honored the Jeffs with three Regional Athlete and Coach of the Year Awards. Head coach Ned Nedeau and assistant coach John Adamson were named New England Region Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the year. The association also honored standout Scheetz, who shattered several program records during his phenomenal season. Scheetz was one of two athletes at the meet to earn three all-American certificates. Scheetz’s 4×400 relay teammates Melton, Moore and Reed also received all-American honors, as did Sullivan on the women’s side. After wrapping up a stellar indoor season, the Jeffs will head back outdoors for their first meet of the spring season on Mar. 26.