AMHERST, MA – One day prior to leaving for Columbus, Ohio, to take part in this weekend's NCAA Division III Championships at Capital University, three members of the Amherst College indoor track and field program were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year.
The Amherst men's indoor team is in the midst of a phenomenal season and is expecting big things this weekend, thanks in large part to Ned Nedeau and John Adamson, who were honored today as the New England Region Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively. The two coaches have helped the Lord Jeffs enter the national meet with the top seeds in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run, as well as the distance medley relay. Amherst is No. 3 in the USTFCCCA national rankings, while the DMR squad clocked the best time in Division III history with a 9:49.11 at Boston University's Valentine Invitational.
Standing out for the Amherst men throughout the season has been Ben Scheetz '12 (Lancaster, PA), who will be the only competitor to attempt both the 400 and 800 at this weekend's NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. Scheetz has a chance to pull off an incredible feat, as he enters with the top time in both events. His 1:48.08 in the 800 is the second-best performance all-time in NCAA DIII indoor competition, while his 47.47 in the 400 marks another school record.
Amherst earned a program-record 17 points at last year's national championships to tie for seventh place, marking the third time the Lord Jeffs have finished in the top 10. Robert Mitchell '99 is the only man in program history to win a title at the national indoor meet, as he claimed the 800 in 1998 and the 1,500 in 1999. Having already bested several of Mitchell's school records, Scheetz will look to join the former Lord Jeff on the distinguished list of champions.
The Lord Jeffs' DMR team placed seventh at the 2009 indoor championships and finished fifth a year ago, but the 2011 squad could finally break through with a spot atop the podium. Leading the way are seniors Steve Corsello (Skaneateles, NY) and Will Yochum (Goleta, CA), who will be joined by some combination of Patrick Grimes '13 (Mansfield, MA), Matt Melton '14 (Wall, NJ), Tommy Moore '11 (Marlborough, MA) and Andrew Reed '12 (Riverside, CT).
Yochum and Corsello will also take part in the mile run, as they enter the weekend as the fourth (4:08.16) and fifth (4:08.48) seeds, respectively. Yochum put in the team's best performance at last year's national meet, placing second with a time of 4:11.31. Rounding out the Amherst men's events will be the 4x400 relay team of Reed, Melton, Moore and Andre Gary '11 (Exeter, NH), with the possibility of Scheetz filling in for one of his teammates.
Representing the Amherst women will be Melissa Sullivan '12 (Dallas, TX) and Ali Simeone '13 (Stoneham, MA). Sullivan will take another crack at the mile run after placing fourth in the event at last year's NCAA Championships, as she enters the weekend as the 10th seed (4:57.52). Making her first trip to the indoor championships, Simeone is the No. 4 seed in the 5,000-meter run (17:04.61), an event an Amherst woman has won four times at nationals (2002, 2004, 2005, 2009).
Approximately 450 of the nation's top indoor track and field student-athletes are expected to compete. All events will take place at The Capital Center, located at the corner of East Mound Street and Pleasant Ridge Avenue on Capital's Bexley campus. Tickets will be available for purchase at the East Mount Street entrance of The Capital Center on Mar. 11 and 12.
Tickets for one day's events are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets for both days of competition are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are advanced sale only. For more information on ordering advanced sale tickets, contact Elizabeth Stanton at (614) 236-6920. Admission is free for children two and under who are accompanied by an adult.
2011 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships - Amherst Schedule of Events
Friday, Mar. 11
5:30 p.m. --- Women's 1 Mile Run (Prelims) --- Melissa Sullivan '12
5:50 p.m. --- Men's 1 Mile Run (Prelims) --- Will Yochum '11
6:55 p.m. --- Men's 400-Meter Dash (Prelims) --- Ben Scheetz '12
7:45 p.m. --- Men's 800-Meter Run (Prelims) --- Ben Scheetz '12
8:15 p.m. --- Men's Distance Medley Relay (Finals) --- TBD
Saturday, Mar. 12
4:45 p.m. --- Women's 1 Mile Run (Finals) --- Melissa Sullivan '12
4:55 p.m. --- Men's 1 Mile Run (Finals) --- Will Yochum '11
5:45 p.m. --- Men's 400-Meter Dash (Finals) --- Ben Scheetz '12
6:30 p.m. --- Men's 800-Meter Run (Finals) --- Ben Scheetz '12
6:40 p.m. --- Women's 5,000-Meter Run (Finals) --- Ali Simeone '13
7:40 p.m. --- Men's 4x400-Meter Relay (Finals) --- TBD