For the men, the meet was disappointing, exacerbated by their lack of a full squad; for the women, however, it was a testament to how dangerous a team they are.
In a race in which not a single senior finished in the top 10, the Jeffs’ numero uno, sophomore Ali Simeone, ran confidently to a fifth-place finish overall with a time of 22:33.
Although she finished behind both Williams sophomores Jennifer Gossels and Annie Dear, as well as behind two Middlebury freshmen, her strong position would give the other four scoring runners a solid foundation to build upon.
The first to start building was junior Melissa Sullivan, who took 14th with a time of 23:13.
After her came junior Liza Schalch, taking 21st place (20 points) in 23:31, closely followed by first-year Tori Sosnowski in 24th (23 points) at the 23:32 mark.
Senior captain Hallie Schwab wrapped things up for Amherst with a 32nd-place finish (26 points) and a time of 23:49.
The three of them did not finish until after the eventual winner and runner-up, Middlebury and Williams, had their entire top five over the line. But, because they ran in a close pack to each other, they boosted Amherst into a third-place finish overall, a solid position given that they were racing against two of the best teams in the country.
Given this result, if the women can place in the top five teams at Regionals in two weeks, they will likely be traveling to the NCAA meet.
Before that, however, they will first attend the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships (ECAC’s) next weekend.
In the men’s race, Hamilton senior Peter Kosgei took first overall, followed by junior Michael Schmidt of Middlebury and Josephat Koima of Williams.
Amherst’s star, Will Yochum ’11, finished within a second of the two men ahead of him with a time of 26:23 to take fourth place.
Not far behind came fellow senior Steve Corsello in 12th with a time of 26:42, showing off the Jeffs’ formidable one-two punch.
The next Amherst runner to finish was senior John McGrail, who finished in 27:35, good enough for 45th place (43 points). Sophomore Dillon Buckley was the fourth man to finish, as he took 70th (58 points) in a time of 28:09.
Another sophomore, Patrick Grimes, topped things off, finishing in 82nd (64 points) with a time of 28:23. The men were without one of their key varsity runners, sophomore Adron Pitmon, and against the very toughest runners the Northeast had to offer, they looked outmatched.
Nevertheless, the Jeffs have shown their individual potential time and again all across the board this season, showcasing their determination and deep talent. Overall, Middlebury and Williams took first and second while the Jeffs finished a distant eighth out of 11.
“It is proving to be very unlikely that the men will continue to Nationals as a team, but we certainly will be hoping that Will and Steve can make it as individuals,” said head coach Erik “Ned” Nedeau. “If the women finish in the top five at the regional meet, then they would most likely go.” In order to have a chance of placing fifth or higher at regionals, the men will need a strong effort to regroup, hopefully bringing the full squad in 14 days’ time. They too will be at the ECACs next weekend as the season slowly draws to a close.