Cross Country Ready For 2013 Season

Greenstein2Contact: Ben Badua

Coming off another solid season, the Amherst men’s cross country team hopes to vie for an NCAA Championship berth for the first time since 2009. Returning a capable group of veterans, the Jeffs stand poised to build on last season’s successes, which included a first-place showing out of 43 teams at the ECAC Championships and an 11th-place finish out of 50 squads at the NCAA Regionals.

“Our general expectations are to continue to see improvements,” said head coach Ned Nedeau. “We hope to build on our No. 7 preseason northeast regional ranking and our big goal, as always, is to qualify for nationals.”

One of Amherst’s top runners a year ago, Greg Turissini is back in the fold for his junior season and projects to be one of the Purple & White’s best performers. Getting off to a strong start in 2012, he placed seventh (24:58.40) out of 65 Division I, II and III athletes at the UMass Invitational, before coming in sixth (26:23.90) at the Little Three meet. Closing out the season in similarly solid fashion, he was the second Jeff to finish the course at the NCAA Regionals with a time of 26:04.81.

Looking to join Turissini in the scoring seven this year are senior captains Gus Greenstein, Charlie Reighard and Alvaro Morales. Coming in 14th at the Little Three’s, Greenstein factored into the scoring at the NESCAC Championships (26:05.51) and NCAA Regionals (26:40.74) while finishing fourth overall at the ECACs (26:42.07).

Amherst’s top harrier at the James Earley Invitational (26:46.52), Reighard put together an good junior campaign, placing in the team’s top seven at NESCACs (25:50.13), while also recording top-25 showings at the Little Three’s (27:28.60) and ECACs (27:26.60). Finishing 17th overall at the Little Three (27:29.00) and ECAC (27:12.23) Championships, Morales scored in the conference meet thanks to a time of 26:00.38.

“Our three captains have good experience and they all spent time in the top-seven last year,” said Nedeau. “Our strength will be our overall depth.”

Hoping to also contribute to a balanced Jeff roster are KC Fussell ’15, Dan Crowley ’16 and Romey Sklar ’15. Putting together a solid effort at the Little Three Championships, Fussell placed eighth overall (26:47.10). The third Amherst runner to finish at the NESCAC Championship and NCAA Regionals, he logged times of 25:42.07 and 26:24.15, respectively.

Breaking into Amherst’s top seven at NESCACs (26:17.13), Sklar was fifth overall (26:51.90) out of 287 runners at the ECAC Championships before also factoring into the scoring at regionals (26:48.07). Just missing out on the scoring at the league championship, Crowley placed 15th at the ECACs, clocking in at 27:08.87.

“We have seven guys with varsity experience from last year,” said Nedeau. “They provide us with a really good foundation and will push each other throughout the season.”

Also hoping to make an impact are junior Lucas Lebovitz and sophomore Jeff Seelaus, along with a talented crop of six first-years led by Ben Fiedler and Raymond Meijer.

The Jeffs open their 2013 campaign at the UMass Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14. The following weekend, Amherst will compete at the Southern Maine Invitational before partaking in Williams’ Purple Valley Classic on Saturday, Sept. 28.

After the NEICAAA meet on Oct. 12, the Purple & White will travel to the Little Three Championships before beginning November at the NESCAC meet hosted by Conn. College. This season’s ECAC Championship is scheduled for Nov. 9, with the NCAA Regionals slated for Nov. 16.