One week after winning NESCACs, men’s track and field headed to Springfield, where it pulled out yet another victory, this time in the Div. III New England Championships. This year’s outdoor Div. III New England title is the sixth consecutive for Williams and the 17th of the last 19 years.
Going into the meet Williams was favored to finish first, but seeded only slightly ahead of MIT. As has been the case in every important meet this year, the Ephs rose to the occasion on Saturday, winning with the higher-than-expected total of 136.66. MIT finished in second place with 108, while Springfield’s score of 56 placed them a distant third.
Eric Jonash ’09 and Isaac Nicholson ’11 got things started well for Williams on Thursday in the decathlon by placing third and fifth to collect 10 points. Nicholson went on to finish seventh in the long jump and eighth in the high jump. The Ephs flexed their muscle again in Friday’s 10k, which saw Anthony Raduazo ’12 kick to victory in a time of 32:20, followed closely by Corey Watts ’10 in third place and Mark Springel ’12 in eighth.
Saturday was the main day of competition, and began with the trio of Tomas Kearney ’12, Jonash, and Nicholson all scoring points in the high jump – Kearney finished second and Jonash and Nicholson tied for eighth. Steve Rubin ’11 later picked up a point by finishing eighth in the triple jump, and Rusty Cowher ’12 scored three points with his sixth place finish in the discus.
The Ephs scored most of their points on the track, with particularly good showings from the middle distance runners and the sprinters. Matt Sullivan ’11 had a breakthrough meet, improving on his time from the last two weeks by a full half second in the 110 meter hurdles to finish in 15.05 seconds and second place. Sullivan also improved his season best time in the 400 meter hurdles by almost a second to finish fourth. However, Stew Buck ’09 clearly provided the highlight of the 400 hurdles, winning the event in 54.08 seconds, a lifetime best. Buck has improved his time in the 400 hurdles every meet this season, dropping from 56.23 to 54.08 seconds – his latest time is not only a personal best but also a provisional qualifier for Nationals. Buck went on to anchor the fourth place 4×400 meter relay team with Moyukh Ghosh ’11, Rich Fusco ’12 and Sam McManama ’12. Sullivan was part of the second place 4×100 meter relay team along with Jonash, Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 and Pierre Meloty-Kapella ’10.
After a dominating performance at NESCACs, Fitzgerald only got better this weekend, finishing first and third in the 400 and 200. Fitzgerald’s winning time of 48.42 seconds in the 400, the only time under 49 seconds in the field, is a lifetime best and provisionally qualifies him for Nationals. Hoerman also ran well to finish fourth in the 400.
Co-captain Macklin Chaffee ’09 scored a staggering total of 18 points at the meet, better than the scores of 11 entire teams. Chaffee began the day with a first-place finish in the 1500 in a time of 3:51.21 – a season best time for Chaffee which virtually guarantees him a spot in the field at Nationals. Chaffee then went on to capture second place in the 800 meter run in a personal best time of 1:53.32. Brian Cole ’11 also ran well in the 1500 to finish second in 3:53.36, another provisional qualifying time for Nationals.
Steve Van Wert ’09 ran the 3k steeplechase in 9:42.11, an eight second personal best, en route to a sixth-place finish. Later, the 5k saw the return of Brendan Christian ’09 and Jeff Perlis ’10, both of whom had taken off NESCACs because they raced in Penn Relays the Thursday before. At the Penn Relays Christian ran the 10k in a blistering time of 30:14, which is second on the Williams all-time list and only eight seconds slower than the school record. Christian’s time of 30:14 equates to 4:52 per mile for the 6.2 mile race and is 92 seconds faster than his previous best time. Christian placed sixth in that race, only losing to one other Div. III runner and beating five Olympic development athletes in the process. In this week’s race, Christian and Perlis battled through the heat and erratic pacing to finish third and fifth, locking up the team title for Williams.
Williams will now take on all comers at next weekend’s Div. I All New England Championships. The meet will be held at UMass Amherst, and the Ephs will look to improve on last year’s fourth place team finish and hope to qualify more athletes for the National meet in three weeks.