Athletics

Lord Jeffs Earn Four Top-5 Finishes at NCAA Championships

GREENCASTLE, IN – The Amherst College men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams wrapped up competition at the 2010 NCAA Championships Saturday afternoon at DePauw University. The Lord Jeff men used three top-five finishes to land in a tie for seventh place, marking the team’s best finish since 1998. The Amherst women used a fourth place performance in the mile run to tie for 40th place.

This weekend marked only the third time in program history the Amherst men landed in the top 10 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, as the 1998 team tied for sixth with 14 points and the 1999 squad finished eighth with 16 points. This group’s 17 points marks a new program best at the national championships.

Amherst led all NESCAC schools on the men’s side, with Williams College tying for 18th (10 points) as the conference’s next best finisher. For the women, Williams tied for 12th with 17 points to lead all NESCAC schools. Wartburg College claimed the women’s team title, with North Central College won the men’s championship.

NCAA LogoKicking off the weekend for Amherst was the men’s distance medley relay team of Jimmy Swanson ’10 (New Orleans, LA), Steve Corsello ’11 (Skaneateles, NY), Tommy Moore ’11 (Marlborough, MA) and Ben Scheetz ’12 (Lancaster, PA). The Jeffs placed seventh in the event at last year’s NCAA Championships, but this year were able to move up to fifth place with a time of 10:05.11.

Amherst’s DMR team was a mere 0.39 seconds outside of the top three. Wisconsin-Stevens Point won the race with a 10:02.38, just barely ahead of Trinity University (10:02.45). Coming in third and fourth just ahead of the Lord Jeffs were Wisconsin-Oshkosh (10:04.73) and Williams College (10:04.99). Swanson, Corsello, Moore and Scheetz earned four points toward the team score.

The Jeffs’ top performance on the men’s side came from junior Will Yochum (Goleta, CA), who placed second in the mile run. Yochum ran an impressive 4:11.31, but it wasn’t enough to beat Nick Guarino of Fredonia State, whose 4:09.99 marked a season-best in Division III. Yochum ran a 4:12.79 on Friday to qualify for Saturday’s final heat, allowing him to earn eight points toward the team standings.

Rounding out Amherst’s competitors for the men’s team was senior Dan Murner (Crestwood, KY), who entered the weekend as one of the favorites to contend for a national title in the 5,000-meter run. Murner hung with the front of the pack to place fourth on Saturday with a time of 14:51.01, just three seconds behind the leader. Kyle Brady of North Central College won the race in 14:47.97, while Lee Berube of Geneseo State (14:49.96) and Jesse Faller of Tufts University (14:50.39) rounded out the top three. Murner’s performance gave the Jeffs five points, bringing the team total to 17.

Amherst’s lone representative on the women’s side was sophomore Melissa Sullivan ’12, who joined Yochum on Friday by qualifying for the final heat in the mile run. Sullivan ran a 5:01.89 Friday afternoon before breaking the five-minute mark with a 4:58.23 to place fourth on Saturday. Sullivan earned the team’s only five points to wrap up a stellar sophomore season.

Results, photos and other information from the weekend can be found on the NCAA Championship Website. The outdoor track and field season will begin Saturday, Mar. 27, when the Lord Jeffs head to Westfield State College.