On Saturday men’s track and field headed to Middletown, Conn. for the Little Three Championships. Coming off a strong team performance at last weekend’s UMass Invitational, the Ephs went into the Little Three meet hoping both to win the title and to gear up for the fast approaching NESCAC and Div. III New England Championships; they were successful on both counts. With a final score of 185, Williams easily outpaced rivals Wesleyan and Amherst, who finished with scores of 102 and 91.
An Eph placed first in 13 of the 19 events, and many athletes posted qualifying marks for the New England and National Championships over the course of the day to extend the more than two decade streak of little three titles.
Before anyone even set foot on the track at the Little Three meet, the duo of Eric Jonash ’09 and Isaac Nicholson ’11 picked up second and third place finishes in the decathlon at Holy Cross and Tufts, respectively. Both Jonash and Nicholson accumulated enough points to qualify for Div. III New Englands. Jonash then joined the team at Little Threes, where he finished first in the pole vault and high jump and second in the javelin.
The rest of the field team also put together solid performances in the winning effort. Steve Rubin ’11 and Tomas Kearney ’12 took first and second place in the long jump and second and third place in the triple jump. Matt Farley ’11 made a nine-foot improvement from last week’s second place finish at BU and a victory in the hammer throw. Also impressive was Rusty Cowher ’12, who threw the discus a full thirteen feet farther than he did last week to win the event in dominating fashion. Cowher’s mark of 43.69 meters would have placed first at last year’s NESCAC Championships.
Pierre-Alexandre Meloty-Kapella ’10 successfully defended his 100 meter title from last year with an 11.18 run and also picked up another victory in the 200, performances which qualified him for ECACs. Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 was second in both events.
In the hurdles, Matt Sullivan ’11 won the 110 meter in 15.55 seconds while Stew Buck ’09 finished third. Buck would then go on to win the 400 meter hurdles for the second consecutive week, improving on last week’s time by a half second, with Sullivan finishing second in the event.
In the 400 meter dash co-captain Alex Hoerman ’09 and Rich Fusco ’12 finished in first and second before the 4×100 relay finished first and the 4×400 relay finished second.
The middle distance runners turned in their most impressive performance of the season, with four Ephs running faster than the Div. III standard of 1:58 for 800 meters; the squad also ran well in the 1500 meter. Brian Cole ’11 built on last weekend’s impressive double with a wire to wire victory in the 800, running a lifetime best time of 1:53.83. In the 1500 co-captain Macklin Chaffee ’09 ran uncontested to victory in a time of 3:52.99, over six seconds ahead of second place finisher Jeff Perlis ’10. Chaffee’s time is a strong provisional qualifier for the National Championships and, according to Assistant Coach Mitchell Baker, “shows that Chaffee is ready to run even better races when the competition is there.”
The longer distances struggled in the heat compared to the rest of the team but still managed some good performances. Sam Blackshear ’10 finished second in the steeplechase, and Corey Watts ’10, Ryan Ford ’09, Brooks Van Udelsman ’09 and Steve Van Wert ’09 finished fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth in the 5k.
Next weekend the men head to Conn. College to compete in the NESCAC Championships. NESCACs is the most important team meet of the season, one which Williams has won 16 out of the past 17 years, including the last eight consecutively. Coming off of two outstanding weeks of racing the men are in a good position to challenge for the title but will still have to perform above expectations to hold off Tufts and other rivals.