Women's Track Ready For 2011-12 Indoor Season
Contact: Ben Badua
Melissa Sullivan '12 placed eighth at last year's NCAA Indoor meet earning All-America honors.
Opening the season with a pair of first-place finishes at Brandeis and Smith, the Amherst women’s indoor track and field team placed sixth at the Division III New England Championships before putting forth a seventh-place showing at the ECACs. Making the program’s fifth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Indoor Championships (11th overall), the Lord Jeffs tied for 55th, recording the squad’s lone point in the mile run.
Headlining a talented crop of returnees is senior middle distance runner Melissa Sullivan. Finishing eighth in the mile (5:02) at last year’s indoor championships en route to All-America honors, the Dallas, Texas native will also look to excel in the 800 meter event while factoring into the team’s 4x400, 4x800 and distance medley relay teams.
Also among those looking to play a role in the squad’s 4x800 and DMR relays are cross country standouts Keri Lambert ’13, Lauren Almeida ’13, Amy Dao ’14 and Eliza Schalch ’12.
Enjoying arguably her best season, Lambert has had a fall to remember, leading the Lord Jeffs at all seven cross country meets in 2011. After a ninth place finish in the squad’s season opener at UMass, Lambert secured her first collegiate victory with a first-place finish at Williams’ Purple Valley Classic, crossing the tape 26 seconds before her nearest competitor.
Placing second at both the Little Three and NESCAC Championships, Lambert recently earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Cross Country Championships with a third-place finish at the New England Regionals with a time of 21:08.93. Looking to make an impact in the mile, Lambert has the potential to be one of the team’s best performers in the middle distance events while becoming a key contributor to the Jeff relay teams.
Leading a solid group of distance runners are Ali Simeone ’13 and Sarah Daly ’13. Placing 10th in the 5,000-meter run at last year’s indoor meet, Simeone will once again look to qualify for nationals in the event while also making an impact in the 3,000 - in which she posted a second-place finish at last year’s Division III New England Championships.
Anchoring the Amherst’s sprint events are junior Jade McKnight and sophomore Naomi Bates. McKnight competed in the 55, 200 and 400 meter dashes while also contributing to the 4x200 and 4x400 meter relay.
Competing in the 55-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash a year ago, Bates will look to factor into the 4x200 meter relay alongside McKnight. Setting a program record in the 100 and a first-year mark in the 200 with times of 12:35 and 25:56, respectively, Bates also narrowly missed setting first-year records in both the long and triple jumps.
Rounding out a deep lineup of sprinters are Shyloe Jones ’14, Beth Hall ’14 and Nia Harris ’14 who will each look to play a larger role this season.
Hoping to help fill the leadership void left by Amherst’s departing seniors are co-captains, Sullivan McKnight and senior Shannon McKenna. Under the tutelage of interim head coach John Adamson, Amherst will open its season at the Smith Invitational on Dec. 3. Joining Adamson’s staff this season are first-year coaches Beth Somerset, who will work with the squad’s distance athletes and Elaina Zizza, who will assist with sprints, jumps and hurdles.