Athletics

Amherst Looks to Snap 10-Year Title-Less Drought

Valentine2
Chris Valentine will highlight this year's senior class.

2007 Season Recap
Last season was a disappointment for the Lord Jeffs, who failed to place in the top half of any tournament and finished in the bottom third in five of six matches prior to the Little Three Championships. Contributing to Amherst’s struggles was the loss of Sean Jules ’07, a three-time All-NESCAC First Team selection, as well as Drew Russ ’07, a two-time All-NESCAC honoree. Jules finished third, second and tied for fifth in consecutive seasons at the conference championships, leading the Jeffs to a second place finish in 2003. In 2006, Russ finished in a tie for seventh to grab a First Team honor. At last fall’s championship qualifier, Amherst landed in seventh place and did not earn a spot in the spring’s championship final.

Losses
Amherst loses a pair of two-time NESCAC Fall All-Academic selections to graduation in Jesse Corradi and Judd Olanoff. Corradi served as last year’s team captain and competed in five of Amherst’s competitions as a senior. After wrapping up the fall season by shooting a 165 at the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championships for the Lord Jeffs’ second lowest score of the two-day event, Corradi kicked off the spring season by leading Amherst with an 86 at Bentley College’s Lou Flumere Invitational.

This Year’s Team
Chris Valentine will head this year’s senior class, which also consists of Will Collins, Marcus Bradley and Glenn Wong. Valentine competed in all seven of Amherst’s matches last year, finishing with the team’s second lowest score on three occasions and leading the Jeffs with a 162 at the Skidmore Invitational. After shooting a 159 at the Williams Invite last fall, Valentine tied for 24th place at the NESCAC Championship Qualifier with a season-best 158. Wong’s best performance was a 167 at Skidmore, while Collins shot a 168 at the conference qualifier.

Adam Shniderman highlights a junior class that also features Lee Banta and Sam Swenson. Shniderman finished with Amherst’s third lowest score in four tournaments last year and consistently shot in the 160s, with a 163 at Williams marking his best weekend. The lone returning sophomore is Trip Wray, who led the Jeffs in scoring in all four fall matches during his rookie campaign. In addition to averaging a solid 156 in the fall, Wray’s 153 at the NESCAC Championship Qualifier placed him tied for ninth and earned him an All-Conference Second Team nod.

Joining this year's team are sophomore Michael Belkin and first-years Nate Belkin, Matthew Parsons, Peter Theiss and Brian Kim, a group that head coach Jack Arena expects to make immediate contributions.

Season Outlook
With virtually the same schedule as last year, Amherst’s calendar will once again be marked for the NESCAC Championship Qualifier, which is set to begin Saturday, Sept. 27 at Middlebury College. The Lord Jeffs won eight conference titles between 1988 and 1997 but have not been crowned since. Despite missing the cut at last year’s qualifier by 24 strokes, Amherst returns its top players, which should inch the team closer to the front of the pack.