NESCAC Preview: Men's XC Looks to Three-Peat at League Championships

NESCAC Preview: Men's XC Looks to Three-Peat at League Championships

NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
2019 AMHERST INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
DIGITAL PROGRAM

AMHERST, Mass. – Ranked No. 32 in Division III and No. 6 in the New England Region in the latest USTFCCCA National Coaches Poll, the Amherst College men's cross country team is set to travel to Williamstown, Mass. on Saturday, Nov. 2 to defend their back-to-back conference titles at the 2019 NESCAC Championships hosted by Williams College. Competitors in the 36th installment of the annual conference meet will hit the trails at Mount Greylock High School, with the men's eight -kilometer race scheduled to begin at 12 p.m.

SETTING THE SCENE
Two-time defending NESCAC Champions after winning the program's first two conference titles in 2017 and 2018, the Mammoths' enter the weekend looking to make it a three-peat after placing all five scoring runners inside the top-25 last fall. Outpacing the rest of the field with 60 points, Amherst was followed by runner-up Williams (86 points), Middlebury (88 points), Bates (111 points) and Connecticut College (148 points).

ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Kicking off the 2019 season at the Little III Championships, the Mammoths took second overall in the 6K race with a scoring order of 8-10-11-13-14(15)(18).
  • In the 19-team Purple Valley Classic two weeks later on Sept. 28, Amherst secured fifth overall with three runners finishing inside the top-40.
  • The Mammoths opened October at the mutli-division Paul Short Invitational, claiming 36th in the 45-squad, 389-harrier 'Gold' race.
  • Amherst's final tune up before the league meet took place on Oct. 19, with the Mammoths clocking a team average 8K time of 25:37 to finish ninth overall at the Connecticut College Invitational.

SCOUTING AMHERST

  • Amherst returns two of their five scoring runners from last season's Championship, including Ajay Sarathy '21 (26:11.8 / 16th) and Bill Massey '21 (26:23.1 / 25th), and eight harriers with experience at the conference meet.
  • Senior Ferguson-Dryden has paced the Mammoths in every race this year, finishing ninth at The Little Three Championship (29:26.20) to lead Amherst to runner-up team honors. He shaved 40 seconds off his personal best at the Paul Short Invitational Gold Race (24:29.7) and enters the NESCAC Championship race coming off a ninth-place finish at the Connecticut College Invitational (25:07.0).
  • Bill Massey '21 is primed to make an impact on the scoresheet, after setting a new PR at the Paul Short Invite (25:29.3) and clocking a 25:29.5 mark to earn 41st at the Connecticut College Invitational two weeks ago.
  • Braxton Schuldt '21 has posted solid times all fall, with his best time of 25:08.2 coming at the Paul Short Invite, while Jamie Mazzola '21 has twice posted sub-26 minute marks after stopping the clock in 25:06.2 and 25:50.5 in the last two races.
  • Hitting his stride down the stretch, Matthew Bradley '22 registered a 25:57.0 in his final tune up before the Championships, while first-years Keon MazdisnianBraedon Fiume and Wilson Spurrell have the potential to shake up scoring.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

  • Bates won its first four races of the year and placed fifth at the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble, the team's last competition before the conference championship. Sophomore Bart Rust and senior Justin Levine have led the Bobcats in two races each this season. Rust was the leader at the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble, finishing 11th with a time of 25:00.2. He also opened the season with a win at the Colby/Bates First-Year/Sophomore Class race (18:56). Levine was the runner-up at the Colby/Bates Junior/Senior race (19:19) and the Bates Invitational (25:51.1) to lead the Bobcats to the team victories in both events.
  • Sophomore Andrew Meredith has been the leader for the Bowdoin men's team in 2019. He started the season with a pair of top-10 finishes, placing fifth at the Bowdoin Invitational (26:49.50) and was seventh at the Maine State Meet (26:29.5). In the team's final tune-up for the NESCAC Championship, Meredith posted a time of 26:33.0 as the Polar Bears took first on their home course.
  • Senior Eli Decker and first-year Tyler Morris have combined to lead the Colby men's squad, which has three top-5 finishes this season. Decker won back-to-back races to start the year, finishing first at the Colby/Bates Junior/Senior race (19:12) and the Bowdoin Invitational (26:09.8). Morris won the Maine State Meet (25:56.8) and was runner-up at the Colby/Bates First-Year/Sophomore race (19:18). The Mules finished fourth at the Connecticut College Invitational, led by Decker's ninth-place finish (24:52.3), in their final tune-up before the NESCAC Championship.
  • Senior Danny Aschale has paced the Connecticut College men who have earned top-15 finishes in every race this season. Aschale opened the year winning the Bates Invitational (25:23.6) and posted an impressive eighth-place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic (24:39.8). At the Camels' own invitational, he recorded the program's fastest performance at Harkness Park, clocking a time of 24:17.4.
  • Hamilton junior Lucas Wright has been the top performer for the Continental men's team in 2019 with four top-20 individual finishes. He started the year with a 10th-place finish at the Hamilton Short Course Invitational, posting a time of 15:50.2 over five kilometers. He was 14th at the Rochester Invitational (26:31), earned runner-up honors at the Hamilton Invitational (26:05.9), and won the Hamilton Short Course Tuneup (4K) race with a time of 13:30.5, 19 seconds ahead of the runner-up. As a team, the Continentals have six top-10 finishes this season.
  • In seven races heading into the NESCAC Championship, the Middlebury men have had five different runners finish first among the team with seniors Henry Fleming and Theo Henderson posting two top performances each. Fleming won the Vermont Tech Invitational (28:04) to lead the Panthers to a season-opening victory and was the top Panther at the Paul Short Invitational Gold Race (24:50.9). Henderson finished 14th at the Purple Valley Invitational (27:10.0) and was seventh at the Connecticut College Invitational (24:50.0).
  • Senior Ace McCallister has been the leader for the Trinity men's team all season. He won the UMass Dartmouth Invitational (24:46.2) and the James Earley Invitational at Westfield State (25:42.60). He also posted the fastest time among non-Division I runners as the Louisville Classic, 24:26.70, which was Trinity's fastest time in 17 years. McCallister was also the runner-up at Trinity's own invitational to begin the year (16:12) and placed sixth at the Connecticut College Invitational (24:49.6). The Bantams won three races and have six top-15 finishes on the year.
  • First-year Evan Ensslin has led the Tufts men's cross country team in four of five races heading into the NESCAC Championship and the Jumbos have three top-15 finishes in 2019. Ensslin's highest finish was eighth at the Bates Invitational (26:17.2) to open the year. He was also the team leader at the Purple Valley Invitational (27:34.2), the Paul Short Invitational Brown Race (25:32) and the Connecticut College Invitational (25:56.4).
  • Senior Kevin McMorrow was the leader for Wesleyan in the final two races heading into the NESCAC Championship. He was third at the Paul Short Invitational White Race (25:36.2) to lead the Cardinals to a team victory. He added a time of 25:08.1 at the Connecticut College Invitational. Senior Grant van Inwegon paced Wesleyan at The Little Three Championship (19:28.70).
  • Junior Aidan Ryan enters the NESCAC Championship coming off a course-record winning time of 23:56.0 at the Connecticut College Invitational to help the Williams men's team claim its fifth victory in five races. Ryan also won the Monmouth Invitational (18:29.6) to begin the season and was the top runner at both The Little Three Championship (18:52.96) and the Purple Valley Classic (26:07.3).

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2019 NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Hosted by Williams – at Mount Greylock High School - Williamstown, Mass.

Men's 8K Race: 12 p.m. Start Time
Women's 6K Race: 1 p.m. Start Time