The NESCAC Cross Country Championships were held at Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn. this past Sunday, Oct. 31. Each race consisted of 11 different teams, with the men’s team finishing in sixth place and the women’s team finishing in fifth place. Owen Daily ’23 and Mary Kate McGranahan ’23 both finished in eighth place and left the course with All-NESCAC honors.
Starting with the men’s race, the Mammoths finished in sixth place overall, recording an average time of 26:13.18. There were 146 runners who completed the eight kilometer course, and Daily finished in eighth place with a time of 25:24.0.
Daily’s performance is even more impressive given the fact that his time improved by over 24 seconds since his last race at the Connecticut College Invitational (25:48.5). Daily commented on the race and his performance: “NESCACs was a true cross country course with difficult hills and muddy terrain, but I felt prepared from all the work I put in this summer and fall. My finish proves that all the effort I put in for years was worth it, and despite [the] setbacks I was able to run my best race when it counted most.”
Two seniors in their final NESCAC Championships, Billy Massey ’22 and Ajay Sarathy ’22, finished strong and crossed the finish line together with times of 26:16.5 and 26:18.9 for 26th and 28th place, respectively. Not far behind them, Oliver Spiva ’24 finished in 39th place with a time of 26:33.0, Nick Edwards-Levin ’25 came in 40th with a time of 26:33.5, and Braedon Fiume ’24 crossed the line right after in 41st place with a time of 26:33.9. Spencer Davis ’22 finished in 74th place with a time of 27:20.3, and Daniel Martin ’25 notched a time of 27:24.6. Fellow first-year Alex Rich ’25 was the last Mammoth to place in the top 100 runners, recording a time of 27:50.2.
Next across the line were Keon Mazdisnian ’23, Fritz Lalley ’25, Bobby Innes-Gold ’22, and Luke Munch ’25, who finished with times of 27:57.0, 28:03.9, 28:07.0, and 28:28.4 respectively. Ben Callon ’25 was the final Mammoth for the men to cross the finish line, with a time of 30:01.5.
Moving on to the women’s race, 144 runners completed the six-kilometer competition, with one top 10 finish from McGranahan. McGranahan’s stellar race helped the women’s team finish in fifth place overall, with an average time of 24:59.06.
McGranahan was awarded All-NESCAC for her impressive time of 23:53.2 and her eighth place finish. McGranahan reflected, “It was one of the toughest courses I’ve ever seen, it was very hilly and the whole course was muddy from the week of rain so you sank into the mud especially on the hills. It was really a day where you just had to keep your head up and keep pushing through it because the course never let up.”
“NESCACs is always a meet with a lot of energy so that helped a lot out, Amherst had a lot of people out cheering which I really appreciated and to be running against some of your biggest rival schools/best schools in the country, as well as knowing that every place I passed would help my teammates is really what kept me moving on a tough day,” she added. “I was excited about my finish, my goal was to go out hard, try to not lose sight of the lead pack and just be competitive with them because I knew this was a pack I’d been chasing this season. I’m hoping to carry the competitive energy into regionals and know the rest of the squad has some big races ahead of them too.”
Sophia Price ’25 and Julia Schor ’25 followed close behind McGranahan with logging times of 24:50.7 and 25:58.4. Sole senior finisher Eline Laurent ’22 claimed 42nd place with a time of 25:26.5. Claire Callon ’25 ran a 25:46.5 time for 53rd place, and Annika Paylor ’24 crossed the finish line at 26:30.2.
About the race, Paylor noted, “The course and conditions were super tough, very hilly and muddy. Since the guys raced first, it was pretty torn up by the time the women were on the course. It definitely wasn’t our best day as a team, but we also had some solid individual performances.”
Rounding out the scoresheet for Amherst in 85th place, Sidnie Kulik ’25 crossed the line in 26:43.7; soon after, Margo Pedersen ’25 finished in 26:53.0, and Sylvan Wold ’25 finished with a time of 27.33.4.
In two weeks, the top seven highest scoring runners for Amherst will be competing in the NCAA Regionals at Harkness Park in Waterford, Conn. On the women’s team, Kulik, McGranahan, Schor, Price, Laurent, and Callon are set to run, with the seventh spot still up in the air, with the runner to fill it depending on injuries and how training goes this week. On the men’s team, Daily, Sarathy, Massey, Mazdisnian, Dassin, Spiva, and Edwards-Levin will be competing. Having just run the same course two weeks ago at the Connecticut College Invitational, the Mammoths are more than prepared to record excellent times once again.