Zach Emerson enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Franklin Pierce University men's and women's cross country and track & field programs in 2018-19.
In 2015-16, the Ravens continued their ascent as one of the top programs in the East Region. In the fall Colton Ham and Dage Minors led the Ravens to a third-place finish at the Northeast-10 championship. Ham placed seventh in the 156 runner field while Minors placed ninth. Ham was selected to the All-Northeast-10 First Team while Minors, Jon Holmes, and B.J. Smith were selected to the All-Second Team. At the NCAA East Regional, the men finished fourth for the second straight season with Ham placing sixth and earning a trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championship. The women's cross country team finished 12th at the conference championships with Alyssa Lambert finishing ninth and earning All-Conference Second Team honors and the Raven women placed 15th at the NCAA East Regionals.
In the spring, the men's track and field team placed fourth at the conference championships with Vinny Blunno capturing the title in the high jump and Andre Wooten taking home first in the triple jump. At the NEICAAA Championships, Wooten and John Delahanty placed second and seventh in their respective events and earned All-New England honors as well. The women's squad finished in eighth place at the championships. Nicole Galewsky, Lillan Baah, and Alexa Cassara competed at the NEICAAA Championships and finished their events in eighth, 13th and 26th place. Emerson coached the first woman in program history to earn All-America honors as Alyssa Lambert placed 12th in the 1500 meter race at the NCAA Championships.
In the classroom, four Ravens earned USTFCCCA National All-Academic selections, while both the men's and women's cross country programs earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award (fourth straight for the women). Two athletes were also selected for CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, two for Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference honors and one to the Academic All-Conference team.
In 2014-15, the Ravens began to establish themselves as a regular competitor across the board in the East Region, showing the prior season's success had been no fluke. In the fall, the cross country program played host to the Northeast-10 Championship on campus and co-host to the NCAA East Regional in Nashua, N.H.; the men's squad finished third and fourth, respectively, in those races. The crimson and grey did its best work a year ago on the track, however. The men claimed four indoor Northeast-10 titles and a pair of outdoor crowns, while Dage Minors qualified for the NCAA Championships during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. For its part, the women's squad finished seventh in the outdoor Northeast-10 Championships, the program's highest finish yet. In the classroom, a total of five Ravens earned USTFCCCA National All-Academic selections, while both the men's and women's cross country programs earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award.
In 2013-14, Emerson's sophomore year at the helm in Rindge, his four Ravens squads continued their climb towards the top of the East Region. In the fall, three men's cross country All-Region selections and five All-Northeast-10 finishes led Franklin Pierce to second place finishes at both the Northeast-10 Championship and the NCAA East Regional, with the latter allowing the program to make its first trip to the NCAA National Championship race, where it finished 25th. On the women's side, Alyssa Lambert posted the first All-Northeast-10 finish in program history. In the classroom, the cross country programs combined for three USTFCCCA National All-Academic selections, with the women earning their second straight USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award.
The success continued through the winter and spring, as the men's track & field squads put together eight All-Region indoor performances and eight All-Region outdoor performances before Antoine Gisore and Dage Minors capped the season by earning the program's first berths in the NCAA Championships. Gisore became the first Raven to advance to an event final, where he finished 10th in the 1500 meters. Meanwhile, for the women, both Nadine Hyde and Miranda Gagnon put together All-Region performances during the outdoor season.
During the 2012 fall season, the men's harriers were led by freshman Colton Ham, who under Emerson's guidance, earned Third-Team All-Northeast-10 Conference honors, while also picking up USTFCCCA All-East Region accolades. The women's cross country team produced the highest GPA (3.4) out of any female thinclad group in the NE-10 and earned the league's Team Academic Achievement Award. All of those accomplishments were impressive, considering both squads were comprised mainly of true freshman student-athletes.
Following the cross country season, the Franklin Pierce cross country programs were well represented once again, as both Ham and Alyssa Lambert competed in the prestigious U.S. Cross Country Junior National Championships in St. Louis, Mo.
The track & field season proved to be a special one as well, as Emerson guided Franklin Pierce to a fifth-place showing at the NE-10 outdoor championships, including mentoring rookie Vinny Biunno, who claimed the first individual league title in program history by winning the decathlon.
Emerson came to Franklin Pierce after spending the 2010 and 2011 seasons in the same capacity at New England College of Henniker, N.H. Emerson led the men's cross country team to the 2011 North-Atlantic Conference team championship; the first title in school history. The women's team had a fifth-place showing at the conference championship, as well as producing multiple performances on the school’s all-time list. The 2010-11 cross country teams had five student-athletes earn All-Conference Academic distinctions and tied for the highest GPA of any team at NEC for the entire school year.
In addition, coach Emerson guided 17 All-Conference first-team award winners, four individual conference champions, the 2011 ECAC individual men’s cross country champion, as well as an individual qualifier for the 2011 NCAA DIII National Cross Country Championship in Oshkosh, Wisc.
Emerson came to NEC after serving three successful seasons as the head coach of both the boy's cross country and track programs at Concord High School (NH). Emerson made a tremendous impact while at Concord leading the cross country team to the 2009 Manchester Invitational Championship large school division and qualifying for the New England Championships as a team twice. In addition to his success in cross-country, Emerson led the Tide to back-to-back state championships in the 4x800m relay, as well as individual class state champions and medalists in nearly every event on the track.
The cornerstones of the Franklin Pierce University Track & Field/Cross Country programs are commitment and continuity. As a distance coach, Emerson utilizes a modern take on the Arthur Lydiard Model, with an influence of the Dr. Daniels’ Running Formula. The goal is to evolve week-after-week into the most efficient distance running machines as possible. The result is a year-round focus on healthy high-mileage/aerobic capacity, with a heavy emphasis on each athlete's individual long-term threshold development. “Every day, you are a better runner than you were the day before— living in a constant state of in-betterment.”
Emerson was a four-year captain of both the cross country and track teams at Division I Mount St. Mary's University (Emmitsburg, Md.). While at Mount St. Mary's, Zach was a multiple conference champion and qualified for the NCAA Regional in the steeplechase. Zach finished his career leaving a mark on the school's all-time record list in the 3000m, 5000m, distance medley relay and the 3000m steeplechase. Emerson graduated from Mount St. Mary's in 2007 with a degree in computer information systems and is currently working towards the requirements for a master's degree in sports and recreation management. Zach is a USATF level 1 certified coach and he appears on the USATF coaches' registry list and currently resides in Hopkinton, N.H. with his wife, Kimberly, their daughters, Maisie and Ruby, and their son, Azar Wallace.