Men’s and women’s track and field are looking forward to an incredibly successful upcoming indoor season. The teams will be led by Head Coach Fletcher Brooks and captains Katie Dupre ’10, Nora Mitchell ’10 and Elise Johnson ’10 for the women and Cullen Roberts ’10 and Jeff Perlis ’10 for the men.
The men look to defend their Div. III New England Championship title despite graduating some incredibly talented performers. “We return a lot of guys who have performed well on the regional and national level,” Roberts said, “so we’re all looking forward to a really successful season and hopefully . . . to send a strong group to the National Championships.”
In the 400, Taylor Fitzgerald ’11, Viktor Nagy ’12 and Rufus Fusco ’12 will be necessary contributors for the Ephs. On the distance side, the men look to fill the shoes of Macklin Chafee ’09, who placed fifth in the mile at NCAAs and was a top scorer for the team last season. Edgar Kosgey ’10 will look to build on his fantastic cross country season to score for the Ephs as well as Brian Cole ’11, whose stellar sophomore season last year is a promising indication that he will be crucial in helping the team defend the Div. III Championship title. Perlis was especially positive about the outlook for Cole. “I’m really excited about Brian,” Perlis said. “He has all the tools to become the next Macklin.”
From the field team perspective, Brooks noted the important gains and losses that the team will face this season. “The contribution of Eric Jonash ’09 [will be a] huge [loss] for the team,” Brooks said. “He scored points in the decathlon and would come back to score more points in events like the high jump and 4 by 100.” The return of John Dingee ’10 who is coming off a knee injury and the leadership of Isaac Nicholson ’11 will help the team fill the gap from Jonash’s departure. The success of key rookies will also boost the field team’s scoring for both the men and women.
On the women’s side, after coming in second at Div. III New England’s last season, DuprÃ© believes the most important “goal this season is to take back the New England Div. III title from MIT.”
Last season’s sprinting corps remains largely intact and looks to Hillary Higgs ’12 and Johnson to continue their domination of the 100 and 200 as well as the relay for Higgs and the hurdles for Johnson. “We have the talent to become one of the top teams in the nation; we just have to work on putting everything together,” DuprÃ¨ said.
One of the most important aspects of assembling a truly formidable team will be accounting for the loss of a big scorer in Lauren Philbrook ’09, the former distance team captain and All-American in the 5k. To lead the distance squad this season the Ephs will look to their developing talent and Ariel Williams ’10 and Lizzie Danhakl ’11 who both had fantastic outdoor seasons last year.
“With Fletcher Brooks in his second year as Head Coach, we have made it through a few transitional years and are ready to dominate once again,” Mitchell said. “Our incoming first-years will provide strength in areas where we have struggled in the recent past, and help us to achieve our goals at the regional level and beyond. We should also have a strong representation at the National meet this year, not only in relays but also individual events.”
Both the men and women are ready to defend the title of Div. III New England Champions. The season kicks off on Dec. 5 with a meet at Smith College. Mitchell summed up the necessary components for success as a unifying team effort. “It is crucial for the team to find unity across genders and event-groups . . . individuals, and training groups, etc.,” she said. “Our success depends on everyone.”