Lambert Paces Cross Country at NCAA Championships

Contact: Ben Badua

Keri Lambert '13 became the first Jeff since Elise Tropiano '09 in 2008 to record a top-five finish in the NCAA Championship.

WINNECONNE, Wisc. - Behind junior Keri Lambert’s (Amherst, Mass.) fifth-place showing, the Amherst women’s cross country team finished 11th amongst 32 teams at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships held at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, Wisc.

Earning an at-large bid to this weekend’s championship after a fourth-place finish at the NCAA’s New England Regionals, the 12-ranked Lord Jeffs narrowly missed out on recording their seventh top-10 finish since 2001.

Washington University, which had four runners finish in the top-15, took home the team title with a meet low 70 points, followed by six-time champion Middlebury (111) and fellow NESCAC rival Williams (153) - led by individual medalist Chiara Del Piccolo ’14.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps came in fourth (223), followed by MIT (276), Wartburg (281), Plattsburgh St. (328) and St. Lawrence (341). Carleton (341) and St. Olaf (368) rounded out the top-10 followed closely by Amherst (373).

Making her second NCAA Championship appearance, Lambert did not disappoint, putting the wraps on a breakout junior campaign with a fifth-place finish, clocking in at 21:12.68, to record the Jeffs’ first top-10 showing since Elise Tropiano ’09 was the national runner-up in 2008.

A two-time NESCAC Performer of the Week selection this season, Lambert has led Amherst at all seven of her races in 2011, winning Williams’ Purple Valley Classic in late September before placing second at both the Little III and NESCAC Championships and finishing as the top Division III runner at the NEICAAA meet.

Competing in her third NCAA Championship, Ali Simeone ’13 (Stoneham, Mass.) recorded the squad’s second best time, placing 43rd overall (22:03.04). Consistently one of the squad’s top runners having placed second in all seven of her races this year while cracking the top-12 on four occasions, Simeone led the Jeffs’ in the past two national races, earning All-America honors at last year’s championship meet with a 12th-place finish.

Senior Melissa Sullivan (Dallas, Texas) who narrowly missed out on All-America status last year posted the Jeffs’ third fastest time in 2011, crossing the tape in 22:28.46, while Sarah Daly '13 (wheaton, Ill.) and Lauren Almeida '13 (Reading, Mass.) finished with times of 22:31.92 and 23:02.41, respectively. First-year Jessie Kaliski (Wellesley, Mass.) and sophomore Angie Epifano (Glen Cove Springs, Fla.) rounded out the list of Amherst competitors with times of 23:16.62 and 23:19.42.

The Lord Jeffs’ lone representative on the men’s side, junior Andrew Erskine (Stamford, Conn.) earned an individual berth into the NCAA Championship by shaving more than two minutes off his 2010 qualifying time, placing sixth at last weekend’s New England Regional meet (25:01.03).

An All-Region honoree Erskine closed out a successful 2011 campaign, clocking in with a time of 25:49.76 to finish 183rd out of the championship field’s 279 runners.