Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - Behind a solid crop of veterans, the Amherst men's track & field team hopes to return to the national stage under the tutelage of head coach Ned Nedeau.
With a couple of NCAA qualifiers back in the fold, the Jeffs should once again be competitive in 2013-14 as they open their indoor season at the Smith Invitational on Dec. 7. After taking a break for the holidays, Amherst returns to action on Jan. 18 at the Tufts Stampede before competing in Boston University's Terrier Classic on Jan. 25.
The Purple & White visit Pioneer Valley rival Springfield on Feb. 1 before returning to Boston University for the Valentine Classic on Feb. 8 and then back in Medford, Mass. the following weekend. The Jeffs will also participate in the New England Division III Championships on Feb. 22 at MIT and the All-New England's on Feb. 28-Mar. 1 at Boston University.
Amherst will pay one final visit to Tufts for the Last Chance Meet on Mar. 6 before the ECAC Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center on Mar. 7-8. This year's NCAA Division III Championships will take place in Lincoln, Neb. on Mar. 14-15.
"Everyone on our roster is going to get a chance to compete this season," says Nedeau. "We base our success on our individual progression and development and would like to see improvement across the board throughout the season."
MEET THE TEAM
On the forefront of this year's team are senior tri-captains Charlie Reighard, Javier Paulino and Matt Melton. Enjoying a strong cross country season this fall, Reighard was an All-Region Selection and was the third Jeff to cross the finish line at the NCAA Regional Meet helping Amherst to an eighth-place showing in a 50-team field.
One of the squad's top short sprinters, Paulino will look to build on a good junior year and could make an impact in the 60m and 200m events. Placing sixth in the 800m run at last year's NCAA Indoor Championships en route to All-America honors, Melton will once again set his sights on a qualifying time for the national meet as he drops down to the 400m run.
"Javier is one of our workhorses," says Nedeau. "He's a guy that others follow and he has put in incredible work in the weight room that we hope to see it pay off on the track. Matt has a chance at once again being an All-American and has the potential to be one of the top long sprinters in the country."
Also looking to contribute in their final seasons are Alvaro Morales '14 and Gus Greenstein '14 who will join Reighard in the 3,000m and 5,000m runs. Studying abroad last year, Greenstein had a solid cross country campaign this fall, as he led the Jeffs with a ninth place finish at the ECAC Championships (26:20.21). Morales was just as good on the trails earlier this year, factoring into the scoring seven at both the NESCAC Championship and NCAA Regionals.
KC Fussell '15 and Greg Turissini '15 headline a strong junior class as distance runners also coming off exceptional cross country seasons. Turissini held the squad's fastest 3,000m time a year ago and could be a factor in the newly minted 3K event at the upcoming national meet. A consistent performer, Fussell could carve out a niche in the 5,000-meter run. Romey Sklar '15 returns as one of the Jeffs' top 800m specialists and could also play a role in the mile run, whileNick Codola '15 and Alex Durkee '15 should build off of last year's success as mid-distance runners with a focus on the 800m.
Lucas Lebovitz '15 is also in the mix as a mid-distance runner, whileJosiah Terrell-Perica '15 will compete in the throws. Mark Cort '15and Steven Hetterich '15 will once again compete in the jumps. Hitting his stride toward the end of last year's indoor season, Hetterich should continue to develop and build on gains made in 2012-13, while Cort hopes to capitalize on a healthy start to this year's campaign and could also contribute in the team's relays.
Coming off a tremendous cross country season, Dan Crowley '16leads Amherst's sophomores and could stand out in the 3,000-meter run. Crowley paced Amherst at the New England Regionals (25:12.94) placing 18th, earning the Purple & White's lone berth into the NCAA Division III Championships where he posted a time of 26:25.
Jeff Seelaus '16 also stands poised to contribute as a distance runner, while Brent Harrison '16 and Judd Leibman'16 should continue to improve after big rookie seasons, with a focus on the 800m run. Returning from injury, Dennis Kennelly '16 could make an impact in the 400m, while Khalil Flemming '16 will look to join Cort and Hetterich in the jumps.
Rounding out Amherst's roster are eight first-years. Raymond Meijer '17 and Ben Fiedler '17 were welcome surprises during the cross country season and should bring depth to an already strong distance grouping. Kevin Connors '17, Steven Lucey '17 and Jesse Fajnzylber '17 could find a home in the 800m or mile run, whileJamie Sandel '17 gives the team another strong option in the hurdles and sprints.