Men’s track flies at invites

On Saturday, men’s track and field headed to Boston, where half of the team competed at Boston University’s Valentine Invitational and the other half at the MIT Co-ed Invitational. The two meets represented the last chance for individuals to hit qualifying standards for the Div. III New England Championships, which will be held next weekend at MIT. In addition, Saturday was the first chance for the team to respond to the defeat suffered at the hands of MIT last weekend, so motivation and intensity were high at both meets.

At MIT, Josephat Koima ’12 won the 800 and qualified for Div. III New England’s with a time of 1:59.84. Eric Jonash ’09 and Tomas Kearney ’12 then took first and second places respectively in the high jump, clearing heights of 6’3.25” and 5’11.25.” Jonash’s jump was the ninth highest jump in Williams’ history. Isaac Nicholson ’11 was another standout performer, jumping 21’2” to win the long jump. In the weight throw, Matt Farley ’12 collected a fifth place finish to end a strong meet for the Ephs.

The rest of the Ephs were at Boston University’s annual Valentine Invitational, one of the largest track meets in the country. The meet pitted the Ephs against the best competition they will see all season. Taking advantage of BU’s fast track and capacity crowd, the Ephs ran a string of personal bests in addition to many New England qualifying times, and the team even gained one National qualifying time. The sprint squad showed its depth, with both Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 and senior co-captain Alex Hoerman ’09 running fast times in the 200 and 400. Co-captain Deividas Seferis ’09 joined Hoerman and Fitzgerald in running under 50 seconds for the 400, while Rich Fusco ’12 continued his solid rookie season, covering 500 meters in a quick 67.38 seconds. The sprints concluded with a huge season best for the 4×400 relay team of Fitzgerald, Seferis, Hoerman and Viktor Nagy ’12. All four ran well to finish in a time of 3:16.04, good enough for sixth place overall.

On the middle distance side, Edgar Kosgey ’10 ran a season best 1:54.83 over 800 meters, and the trio of Geoff Rodriguez ’11, Dan Waters ’11 and Brooks Van Udelsman ’09 put themselves amongst the best in New England with great races in the 1000 meters. Rodriguez’s time of 2:31.56 ranks him eighth fastest in New England this year. Not to be outdone, co-captain Macklin Chaffee ’09 and sophomore sensation Brian Cole ’11 dominated their heats of the mile, with Chaffee clocking 4:10.01 and Cole 4:18.93, a strong provisional qualifying time for the National Championship meet.

The long distance runners also had a string of personal bests at 3000 and 5000 meters. In the 3000, freshman Anthony Raduazo ’12 led Aaron Schwartz ’09, Connor Kamm ’10 and Cullen Roberts ’10 under the New England qualifying standards of nine minutes. The 5000, which was the last event of the day, saw the duo of Corey Watts ’10 and All-American Jeff Perlis ’10 qualify for Div. III New England’s, with Perlis running a personal best time of 15:04.

“This weekend saw a whole new level of performance across the board for the team,” Chaffee said.

“I saw a lot of guys really pushing to win their heats, and those are the kinds of efforts we need next weekend if we’re going to win Div. IIIs,” said Mitch Baker, assistant coach.

Next weekend, the men will return to Boston for the Div. III New England Championships held at MIT. From the start, the men have worked to prepare for this meet and hope to build off the inspired performances at BU and MIT last weekend to reclaim the New England title.