Men’s track prepares for New England Championships

The Williams College Men’s Track and Field team used this weekend’s MIT Invitational to prepare for the all-important New England Championships, which will take place at Wesleyan on Saturday. A number of athletes achieved strong marks, including tri-captain David Stuhlsatz ’99, who solidified his high seeding in the shot put with a winning throw of 53 feet 1 inch. Brian Hennessey ’99 ran the fourth fastest 1000 meter race in Williams history to win (2:32.10). Super seniors Trevor Bayliss and Aaron Decamp went 1-2 in the 400 meter in a very close race (51.42 and 51.43). John Berry ’99 staked his claim to the title of fastest Eph this season by running a personal best 6.69 seconds in the 55 meter, in which he placed first. Tim Campbell ’01, who has been plagued by injuries this season ran a fine 3000 meter race against a slew of talented MIT men. His time of 8:42 was good for second. Finally, the 4 x 800 meter relay team of Kevin Reilly ’02, Dan McCue ’99, Yuneng Li ’99 and Hennessey came through with a fine effort to blow away the competition and notch a strong time of 7:56, making them a favorite for New Englands.

On Saturday February 6, the team traveled to the University of Southern Maine for the last of the season’s four Quad Cup meets. After having crushed arch rival MIT the week before, the Ephs had to face a very deep and determined squad from Tufts University which led for nearly the entire meet before falling to Williams by a very narrow margin. The final team scores were: Williams 233, Tufts University 226, Southern Maine 67.5, Worcester Polytechnic Institute 57.5.

Williams would not have prevailed without heroic performances from a number of its top athletes. Ed Rossier ’01 won three events on the day, the 55 meter high hurdles (8.33), the 400 meter dash (51.21), and he was a member of the victorious 4 x 400 meter relay along with Tri-captain Decamp, Bayliss, and Valentin von Arnim ’02 (3:24.59). While Rossier has been leading the Eph sprinters all season, the other standout in the short races was comeback kid Berry, who has returned from serious knee surgery to post his best indoor times ever. Berry won both the 55 meter dash (6.70 PR) and the 200 meter dash (23.31 PR). But perhaps the most impressive performance of the day was put in by Hennessey, who tore up the track in winning the 600 meter run in a New England leading time of 1:22.71. Other outstanding Eph sprinters were Eric Getty ’02, who placed second in the hurdles and fifth in the 400. Jon Pearson ’00 was second in the 55 and fourth in the 200, and von Arnim placed third in the 200. Decamp ran a strong time of 51.73 to finish third in the 400, and Dan Williamson ’01 and Clifton Covington ’01 placed fourth and sixth respectively in the 600.

The list of heroes would not be complete without mentioning the many distance men who were forced to double or even triple up on Saturday in the face of stiffer competition than was found in the sprints. Jay Slowik ’01 was one of the hardest working Ephs, as he placed first in the 1000 meter run (2:33.79) after having already run the mile, in which he finished fourth (4:25.75). Tim Campbell ’01 ran both events as well, placing a close second in both, and Wes Reutimann ’02 pulled the same double, finishing eighth and fifth respectively. Three Williams athletes placed in a slower than usual 800 meter run, led by first-year standout Reilly who placed second (2:00.59). Bayliss finished fourth (2:02.29), and Miguel Fernandez placed eighth (2:07.21 PR). McCue dominated the 5000 meter run. Leading by a wide margin seemingly from lap one, McCue ran away with the race and won with a time of 15:02.56. Jeff Edmonds ’99 ran a personal best time of 15:10.13 for second place, and Geoff Hutchison ’99 put in a gutsy effort as he edged out a Southern Maine runner for seventh place and secured some much needed points. The distance men clinched the victory in the 4 x 800 meter relay as Slowik came back for his third race of the day and was joined by Hennessey, Reilly, and Williamson.

The Ephs managed to secure a number of hard fought points in the field events despite being thin in a number of them due to injuries and absences. Without a doubt the strongest event for the Ephs in the field was the shot put, where four Ephs placed. Stuhlsatz won the event with a throw of 50’ 5 1/2”. Places three through five were captured by Bob Blackstone ’00, David Nemeskal ’99, and Dave Fontes ’02 who threw a personal best 44’ 2”. In the 35 lb. weight throw, Matt Campanelli ’00 was the top Eph, placing third (47’ 5”). Carter Wilkinson ’99 notched an important sixth place. Williams was only able to place one athlete in each of three jumping events, Malcolm Perry ’02 finished a strong third in the pole vault, clearing 12’ 6”. Jason Wilson ’99 was eighth in the high jump, and Josh Wakeham ’02 captured the same position in the long jump. Finally, the triple jump was much stronger for the Ephs. Jason Mirach ’01 continued his fine season by placing second with an excellent leap of 43’ 9 3/4”. Alex Wong ’99 had one of his best recent performances and was fourth (40’ 8 3/4”); Wilson took seventh.

By winning this meet, Williams finished its eighth consecutive unbeaten season in dual, tri and quad meets and continued its mastery of the Quad Cup series, in which the team had never been defeated.