Scheetz Nearly Sets National Record in 800 to Lead Amherst

BOSTON, MA – One week after setting a school record in the indoor 600-meter run, Ben Scheetz '12 (Lancaster, PA) nearly bested the previous Division III record in the 800 to lead the Amherst College track and field teams at the Open New England Championships. 

Scheetz helped the Amherst men tie for 11th in a field of 35 teams, marking the best finish among NESCAC schools and the second best result among Division III institutions. The Amherst women used a pair of top-five performances to tie for 21st among 34 teams. 

With the Amherst men having already set a national record in the distance medley relay this season, Scheetz continued what has been an outstanding winter for the Lord Jeffs. Last week Scheetz bumped Robert Mitchell '99 from the school record books by taking over the top time in the 600, and this weekend Scheetz completed the 800 in 1:48.08, more than two seconds ahead of Mitchell's standard of 1:50.19. 

Scheetz's time on Saturday would have been good enough to win the 2010 NCAA title by more than four seconds. He placed second only to UConn's Michael Rutt, who ran a 1:47.41 to set a New England record. The next fastest Division III competitor in the 800 on Saturday was Tufts University's Jeff Marvel, who completed the race in 1:55.78. 

Also standing out for Amherst were seniors John McGrail (Arlington, VA) and Will Yochum (Goleta, CA), who placed third in the 5,000-meter run and eighth in the mile, respectively. The 5k came down to the wire, as McGrail (14:38.54) and the top two runners finished within 0.27 seconds of each other. Yochum completed the mile run in 4:15.41, while classmate Steve Corsello (Skaneateles, NY) placed 18th (4:18.96). 

Chris Eaton '11 (Brooklyn, NY) once again represented Amherst in the field events, placing 13th in the weight throw with a toss of 16.57 meters. Rounding out the top performances from the Lord Jeff men was the 4x400 relay team of Scheetz, Andre Gary '11 (Exeter, NH), Matt Melton '14 (Wall, NJ) and Andrew Reed '12 (Riverside, CT), as Amherst placed sixth with a time of 3:16.67. 

Highlighting the Amherst women were Melissa Sullivan '12 (Dallas, TX) and Ali Simeone '13 (Stoneham, MA), who placed fifth in the 1,000-meter run (2:54.07) and 3,000-meter run (10:01.83), respectively. Lauren Almeida '13 (Reading, MA) finished 15th in the mile run (5:08.40) before leading off the 4x800 relay, joining Amy Dao '14 (Boxborough, MA), Keri Lambert '13 (Amherst, MA) and Eliza Schalch '12 (Bethesda, MD) to place ninth (9:25.71). 

Dao and Lambert would later join Jade McKnight '13 (Pasadena, CA) and Susan Wasserman '11 (Brooklyn, NY) to finish 10th in the distance medley relay (12:27.35), while Naomi Bates '14 (Washington, DC) had the 12th best performance in the long jump (5.11 meters). 

Select members of the Amherst team will return to action next weekend for the ECAC Championships, which will be held at Armory.