Ephs qualify for NCAAs as track and field hosts meet

Men’s and women’s indoor track and field had an excellent start to the season with standout performances last weekend in their non-scored meet against St. Rose, Hamilton and Union. The team displayed talent both on the track and field and won first place in each of the 15 events.

“It is nice to open up in January at home,” Head Coach Fletcher Brooks said. “Participation for our team is not limited by the department’s travel roster and the team members have an opportunity to compete in front of friends and others from the Williams community.”

Co-captains Cullen Roberts ’10 and Jeff Perlis ’10 were happy with the way the team competed, especially their men in the field. “The team looked really good overall,” Roberts said after the meet. “All of the event groups had good days, but I think the field team was the most exciting today.”

Thomas Kearney ’12, for example, proved dominant with a 13.93 meter triple jump, a result which earned him a berth in the Div. III New England meet. Isaac Nicholson ’11 also qualified for New Englands with his 6.65 meter high jump. “Thomas and Isaac were great today,” Roberts said. “Thomas’ triple jump was a huge PR. He went over 45 feet. Isaac had a monster jump to win the long jump.”

Williams’ impressive home debut in the field was not limited to the jumpers. Rusty Cowher ’12 established himself as the top weight thrower on Saturday with a 14.79 meter toss. Matt Farley ’11 placed second with a 13.78 meter throw, while Stephen Simalchik ’13 threw a distance of 13.19 meters to earn third place. Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13, the Ephs’ only pole vaulter, vaulted 4.12 meters en route to placing first in the meet. Both Cowher’s and Hinojosa’s performances qualified them for New Englands.

The team’s sprinters were not quite as dominant as they would have liked, but nonetheless raced well. Jabulani Blyden ’13 placed second in the 300 meter with a time of 36.96 seconds.

The first-year men stepped up to the challenge presented by their first collegiate meet, especially Brandon Abasolo ’13 and Scott Rodilitz ’13. Abasolo placed first in the mile with a time of 4:34.73, and Scott Rodilitiz won the 3000 meter in 9:14:85.

Perlis was also particularly impressed with the team’s first-years. “It was really great to see Johnny Ray and Stephen make their home debuts in the field,” he said after the meet. “Brandon, Jabulani [and] Scott performed very well on the track in their second collegiate meet.”

According to Roberts, the future looks bright for men’s indoor track and field. “I think everyone’s pretty positive about our chances this season. We want to get in some good races in the coming months and eventually defend our New England title,” Roberts said.

Perlis seemed equally optimistic. “Our team’s number one goal for the indoor season is winning the Division III New England Championship,” Perlis said. “We put on a very impressive performance last year to win and we will need a strong day from every athlete if we wish to do the same again.”

Both Perlis and Roberts emphasized the importance of remaining injury-free throughout the season. “As always, one of the big keys to success will be staying healthy,” Perlis said. “We have a couple key guys still nursing some injuries, but I’m sure they will be back when it really counts.”

In addition, Perlis noted that the new talent will shape the remainder of the season. “A big factor will be how the class of 2013 performs in a collegiate championship. They had a great home debut and we can certainly expect big things from them come February,” he said.

The women also enjoyed success in both the track and field events.On the women’s side, the high jump saw Sara Turner ’11 and Julie Paschal ’13 both place first with distances of 1.55 meters. In the pole vault, Casey Evans ’13 placed second with a distance of 2.67 meters. Turner continued her strong performance in the long jump, capturing second with a distance of 5.00 meters.

Eileen Becker ’12 and Madeline Watson ’12 took charge of the shotput event, grabbing first and second place, respectively. Watson also led the weight throw event with a 12.66 meter throw. Becker earned third in the weight throw.

Tri-captain Elise Johnson ’10 led the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 8.61, followed by Karyn Moss ’12, who placed second with a time of 9.31. Johnson again led the 55 meter dash, tying with teammate Hillary Higgs ’12 by running a time of 7.65. In the mile, Jennifer Gossels ’13 placed first with the impressive time of 5:20.00, while Anne Kerth ’11 was the first athlete to finish the 400 meter dash. Kerth placed second with the time of 1:04.00.

Excitement rose as Higgs once again won her event, the 300 meter dash, which she finished in 43.00 seconds. Emily McTague ’12 led the 3000 meter run, placing first with her time of 11:10.00. In the 4×400 meter relay, the Williams ‘A’ team placed first. The team, comprising tri-captain Nora Mitchell ’10, Rebecca Fine ’13, Katherine Belk ’13 and Ceci Davis-Hayes ’11, led the six-team heat with the time of 4:24.

In the 600 meter run, Mitchell placed first with her time of 1:41.00. The Williams ‘A’ team, which included Belk, Brooke Pfister ’13, Annie Dear ’13 and Olga Kondratjeva ’10, placed first in the 4×800 meter relay.

Ariel Williams ’10 swept the 400 meter dash for the Ephs with a scorching time of 65 seconds, while teammates Mitchell and Fine managed first and third place finishes, respectively, in the 600 meter run. Mitchell clocked a winning time of 1:42. Finally, after matching each other almost pace for pace throughout the mile run, Tina Meade ’11 inched out Gossells for the first place position and finished in a mere 5:20.

“We had a lot of impressive performances at our first and only indoor home meet this year,” Mitchell said. The tri-captain was particularly struck by the newcomers’ showing this weekend, who were just as strong as their counterparts on the men’s team. “The first-years especially proved themselves to be very strong in events where we have been weak in the past,” she added.

Tanasia Hoffler ’13 was one of those standout first-years, proving herself with a second place in the 55 meter hurdles and first place results in both the triple and long jumps. Brooke Johnson ’13 also had a notable showing, as she followed her teammate with a second place result in the triple jump and a third place in the long jump.

Brooks expressed good feelings about his team’s effort. “It was especially encouraging to see the competitive and athletic maturity of certain individuals,” he said. “This, along with some talented first-years, puts us ahead of where we were a year ago, especially in some areas we have been working hard to improve.”

Brooks also realized that this complete domination of the competition isn’t something the team can just expect throughout the season. “I’m looking forward to [seeing] how we compete against two of he strongest teams in our region next Saturday,” he said. “It will be a good test early in the season.”

Williams will compete in six more meets before the men’s Div. III New England Championships in February. The team’s next stop is Wheaton, where it will compete against Tufts, a major rival, and other New England teams on Saturday.

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