Cross Country Set For 2012 Season

Contact: Ben Badua

Andrew Erskine '13

Despite losing a pair of outstanding senior classes, the 2011 men’s cross country team enjoyed another strong year, steadily improving throughout the season despite a relatively young roster. Culminating in a sixth-place finish at the 44-team ECAC Championships, the Jeffs put forth an eighth-place showing at the NCAA Regionals. With six of their top seven runners back in the mix, including NCAA individual qualifier Andrew Erskine ’13, the Lord Jeffs should enjoy another strong year under head coach Ned Nedeau.

Headlining Amherst’s senior class is Erskine, the squad’s lone NCAA Qualifier in 2011. Consistently the team’s top runner last season, Erskine led the Jeffs at the Open New Englands (26:27) and Little III Championships (27:01), before shaving nearly two minutes off his 2010 qualifying time at the NCAA Regionals (25.01). Amherst’s lone representative at the national meet, the Stamford, Conn. native clocked in at 25:49, finishing 183rd in a field of 279 harriers.

“Andrew is one of our leaders and could be a very formidable No. 1 runner,” said Nedeau. “He should capitalize on his recent success and we expect him to be one of the top runners in the region.”

Pat Grimes ’13, who was one of the Jeffs’ top-three finishers at the New Englands (26:25), Little III Championships (27:08) and NCAA Regionals (25:13) should also compete for one of Amherst’s top slots, while tri-captain Dillon Buckley ’13 will also battle for a spot in the top seven after a solid 2011.

Eli Howe ’13 will try to step up into the scoring seven after an up and down season, while Adron Pitmon, who had several strong showings before battling injuries, could prove to be a difference maker if healthy.

A borderline top seven runner a year ago, Gus Greenstein leads the Jeffs’ juniors and could factor into the scoring this year after a strong finish that culminated with a solid showing at the ECAC Championships (27:40).

Alvaro Morales, who got off to a fast start before dealing with a couple of injuries, adds depth to the Jeffs’ junior class, while Charlie Reighard could be in store for some big gains after making significant strides a year ago.

KC Fussell ’15 and Greg Turissini ’15 also return after stellar first years, along with classmates Romey Sklar and Lucas Lebovitz.

“KC and Greg were awesome last year,” said Nedeau. “We expect them to continue to develop and will factor heavily into our success this season.”

One of Amherst’s top three finishers at the New Englands (26.27) and Little III Championships (27:02), Fussell put it all together at the NESCAC Championships, leading all Jeff runners with a time of 27:07. Hoping to challenge for one of the team’s top three slots, he was the third Amherst runner to cross the tape at the NCAA Regionals with a time of 25:31. A consistent contributor last season, Turissini routinely cracked the top seven in 2011 and could slot into the Jeffs’ third or fourth scoring position this season.