Women's Track & Field Season Preview: Mammoths Gear Up for Strong 2017-18

Women's Track & Field Season Preview: Mammoths Gear Up for Strong 2017-18

Fresh off a season that saw the Mammoths post four top-10 finishes and send five student-athletes to compete in the NCAA Championships, the 2017-18 Amherst College women's track & field team enters their first meet of the winter poised for a successful year under the guidance of sixth year head coach Cassie Funke-Harris.

Despite the departure of nine senior class members from a year ago, the Mammoths are set to return a bevy of veteran leadership in addition to 15 first-years who will look to make an immediate positive impact on the scoresheet.

Amherst boasts a talented core of 15 distance runners, with Lela Walter '19 (1000M, 1500M, mile), Leonie Rauls '18 (800M, 1000M) and Kristin Ratliff '20 (1000M, 1500M, mile) all returning after posting some of the Mammoths top-performances a season ago.

During the indoor season, Rauls registered Amherst's top-time in the 1000M at DIII New England's with a 3:05.19 mark, while Walter was second overall on the team with a 3:07.27 mark at the Valentine Invitational. Ratliff logged the third best time in the mile on the year at the Pioneer Invite, clocking a time of 5:24.28. Transitioning outdoors, Rauls continued to impress during her junior season, recording the top-time of the year in the 800M for the Mammoths at the New England Championships (2:16.41). 

After closing out last season with a collegiate-best time of 4:45.80 in the 1500M at NESCACs and putting together a sensational year on the cross country trails, Nicky Roberts '18 (1500M, mile, 3000M, 5000M) is positioned to produce formidable results for Amherst, while Veronica Rocco '19 (mile, 3000M, 5000M) and Christina Scartelli '19 (800M, 1000M) both have shown good momentum heading into the winter.

The Mammoths middle & long distance roster will also feature Gaby Doran '19 (mile), Sylvia Frank '20 (800M), Adele Loomis '18 (800M), Kaeli Mathias '18 (800M), Jenny Mazzella '20 (400M, 600M, 800M), Amy Pass '20 (1500M, mile, 3000M), Monica Nimmagadda '18 (1500, mile) and Maya Bhandari '19.

Anna Buford '20 (60M, 100M, 200M) anchors the sprinters after an impressive rookie campaign that saw her steadily improve on her times and record marks of 8.47 seconds, 13.16 seconds and 27.19 seconds in the 60M, 100M and 200M races, respectively. 

Joining Buford is Julia Asin '19 (200M, 400M), whose focus on longer distance sprints is highlighted by times of 27.99 seconds in the 200M and 1:00.48 in the 400M a season ago, while Danielle Griffin '18 (200M, 400M, 600M) is known to tackle hurdles – clocking a 1:09.68 mark in the 400 hurdles at the 2017 NESCAC Championships.

Lexi Stern '19 (Jumps, Sprints) and Molly Carleton '19 (400M, 600M) enter the year looking to add depth to the scoresheet, with the juniors poised to have an impact in the 200M, 400M and 600M races after proving their ability in 2016-17.

In the indoor season, Amherst posted their best relay times at the Pioneer Invite, D3 New England's and the Wesleyan Invitational, clocking a 1:51.02 mark in the 4x200, a time of 4:09.23 in the 4x400 and a 9:53.86 mark in the 4x800.

Improving on their finishes as they entered the spring, the Mammoths notched a time of 50.39 in the 4x100 at the NESCAC Championships before crossing the finish line in 4:02.90 in the 4x400. Amherst's best time in the 4x800 came at D3 New England's, with the relay squad registering a 9:52.30 mark.

Emily Flaherty '19 (Jumps), Kaitlyn Siegel '20 (Jumps) and Yrenly Yuan '19 (Jumps) lead a talented unit in field events. Flaherty's distance of 10.50m in the triple jump at the BU Invite stood as a team-best score on the year, while her top score in the long jump came during the indoor season as she logged a 4.63m mark at the Little III's. A steady contributor in the high jump, Siegel's 2016-17 season-best mark stood at 1.61m, while the sophomore posted a 1.58m jump at the NESCAC Championships. Yuan rounds out Amherst's consistent competitors in jumps, with the Davis, Calif. native registering a 9.67m mark in the triple jump at the Amherst Spring Fling and a 4.41m mark in the long jump at Wesleyan. 

A versatile athlete, Caroline Ferguson-Dryden '20 (Sprints, Throws) specializes in throws – recording a distance of 8.54m in the shot put and a 31.48m mark in the javelin a season ago – but can also step in when needed in short distance events, clocking a time of 8.90 seconds in the 60M at the Pioneer Invite and crossing the finish line in 28.44 seconds in the 200M at BU.

Sophomores Annabelle Gary (Jumps, Hurdles, Javelin), Lizzie Kobelski (Hurdles, Jumps) and Isabel Park (Jumps, Sprints) return to the squad with a year of experience under their belts, with Kobelski earning a team-high mark of 4.79m in the long jump a season ago, while Becki Golia '18 (Jumps) is set to provide leadership as one of the conferences most experienced high jumpers.

In addition to last year's returners, the Mammoth also welcome 15 newcomers, including: Katie Crum '21 (Distance), Sophia Friedman '21 (Sprints), Dana Frishman '21 (Jumps, Sprints), Sarah Gayer '21 (Mid-Distance), Haley Greene '21 (Distance), Grace Haase '21 (Sprints), Kasia Krosnia '21 (Jumps), Lauren Lamb '21 (Hurdles), Ava Podell '21 (Hurdles, Sprints), Olivia Polischeck '21 (Distance), Paige Reddington '21 (Distance), Jordan Rhodeman '21 (Sprints), Ella Rossa '21 (Jumps, Hurdles), Rachel Ruderman '21 (Mid-Distance) and Sarah Tam '21 (Sprints, Hurdles).