Jeffs Poised to Improve at NESCAC Championship
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. -- With several key contributors showing strong improvements this fall, the Amherst men’s cross country team hopes to rise above 2011’s eighth-place showing in Saturday’s NESCAC Championship race at Bowdoin.
An improved team finish is there for the taking as the Lord Jeffs have already outrun a pair of opponents that finished above them at last year’s conference meet, topping Wesleyan (7th in 2011) at the Little Three Championships on Oct. 13 and Connecticut College (6th in 2011) at the James Earley Invitational on Oct. 6.
Greg Turissini ’15 has emerged as the lead harrier for the Jeffs and could be a huge difference-maker for Amherst with a strong race Saturday. After finishing third on the team in 27:16 at last year’s NESCAC Championship hosted by the Jeffs, Turissini has improved significantly this fall, taking sixth overall and leading the squad with a 26:23.9 on the same five-mile Amherst course at Little Threes. Even more impressive was his performance at the season-opening Minuteman Invitational: on an 8k route, Turissini finished seventh overall and first among Division III competitors in 24:38.09, a showing which earned him NESCAC Performer of the Week honors.
Also key to Amherst’s placement will be KC Fussell ’15 (pictured) and seniors Andrew Erskine, Dillon Buckley, and Pat Grimes. Along with Turissini, the four accounted for the Jeffs’ scoring at last year’s conference meet and each bested his time from that race at Little Threes two weeks ago. Fussell has improved as a sophomore after posting Amherst’s top time at NESCACs last year, while Erskine could be a hidden weapon for Amherst as the senior looks to return to the late 2011 form which saw him as the Jeffs’ lone qualifier for the NCAA Championship meet.
Juniors Gus Greenstein, Alvaro Morales, and Charlie Reighard could also factor into the Amherst scoring with strong races on Saturday.
Williams and Middlebury will likely battle it out for the team title. The men’s 8k race is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. from Brunswick, Maine.