Track & Field Teams Set for NESCAC Championships

Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College track and field programs will head to Somerville on Saturday for the 2013 NESCAC Championships, hosted by Tufts University at Ellis/Oval Dussault Track. After a second-place showing at last weekend’s Little Three Championship, the Lord Jeff men will look to improve on 2012’s seventh-place finish at the conference meet, while the women’s team also placed seventh a year ago and will look to rise higher as the squad nears full health in time for championship season.

Schedule of Events

Leading Amherst’s men in the shorter distances will be indoor All-American Matt Melton ’14. The junior already owns a pair of All-NESCAC awards in the 400 meters, where he notched third-place finishes at the last two conference meets.

After placing sixth in the 800 meters at March’s indoor national championship, however, Melton is poised to take the next step in the 400 on Saturday, as he enters with the NESCAC’s lowest time in the event this spring, a 48.75 turned in at the AIC Invitational. Challenging him will be Williams senior Jabulani Blyden, who is just three spots behind on the national leaderboard after running a 48.80 at the UMass Invitational, as well as Eph sophomore Emmanuel Daring, who won the event at Little Threes.

In the middle distances, Pat Grimes ’13 will look to pick up big points for the Jeffs. The senior took fourth in the 1,500 meters at last year’s NESCAC meet, but has also shone in the 800 this spring as his 1:53.77 at UMass enters Saturday as the conference’s No. 4 time in the event this spring.

Andrew Erskine '13 figures to anchor the Amherst long-distance corps as he enters the meet with one of the nation’s top-50 times in the 5,000 meters this spring and placed fifth in the 10k at the 2012 conference meet. Teammate K.C. Fussell ’15 took eighth in that race and enters Saturday fresh off a Little Three victory in the 5k, while Dillon Buckley ’13 will look to turn heads in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after notching a top-50 time of 9:35.50 at UMass.

In the relays, Amherst’s best chance at a top finish may well come in the Distance Medley Relay as the Jeffs return three-fourths of last year’s third-place unit in Grimes, Melton and Adron Pitmon ’13.

Finally, throwers Josiah Terrell Perica ’15 and Denzel Duncan ’13 will lead the Jeffs in the field events. Terrell-Perica notched a third-place, All-NESCAC performance in the javelin in the 2012 meet and also won the discus last week at Little Threes, where Duncan placed second in both the hammer throw and shot put.

The Amherst women figure to rely heavily on their distance unit as they seek to improve on a seventh-place showing in 2012. Sprinters Naomi Bates ’14 and Abbeh Shirley Anderson ’15 will also have a strong chance to put up big points, however, especially in the 200 meters, where Bates placed third last year and Anderson turned in a top-50 time of 25.52 at UMass two weeks ago. Anderson will also compete in the 100.

Headlining Amherst in the distance events will be Keri Lambert ’13, who will be in search of her first NESCAC individual outdoor title as she competes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. After runner-up performances in the event at both 2011 and 2012 conference meets, the senior went on to win a national title in the race last May and currently owns Division III’s third-fastest time of the spring, a 10:42.65 set at UMass which puts her well above Bates’ Kallie Nixon (11:05.23) and Williams’ Brianne Mirecki (11:05.41) on the national leaderboard.

Meanwhile, Lauren Almeida ’13 will look to improve on her fourth-place showing in the 1,500 meters at last year’s event, entering Saturday’s meet after turning in a top-30 time of 4:39.30 at UMass that ranks third among NESCAC competitors this spring. Amy Dao ’14 and Caroline Rose ’16 will also look to pick up points for Amherst in the event.

Sarah Daly ’13 has a chance to turn heads in the 5,000 meters, where her stock has risen dramatically as a senior. Her UMass time of 17:26.89 ranks 16th nationally and trails only Lambert -- who will not compete in the event on Saturday -- and Mirecki (17:25.71) among the conference field. Lizzy Briskin ’15 also figures to be strong in the 5k after grabbing fourth in the race in 2012, while Elodie Reed ’13 and Jessie Kaliski ’15 will look to score for the Jeffs in the 10,000 meters.

Leading the way for the Jeff relays will be the 4x800 unit which returns Almeida, Dao and Lambert from last year’s fourth-place squad, while the 4x100 group could also challenge the conference’s leaders.

Williams will look win its 13th consecutive women’s team title, while the Bates men will look to defend their 2012 crown which ended an 11-year Eph reign atop the conference. Meet Preview