At Tufts this past Saturday, men’s track and field claimed its 10th consecutive NESCAC championship. The win marks the team’s 20th title in the event’s 25-year history. Williams, with 167.5 points, prevailed over host Tufts, which posted 155.5 points for second place, and third place Bates, which finished with 129 points on the day.
“The team had a great performance on Saturday. We had athletes step up in the field and on the track throughout the day,” co-captain Jeff Perlis ’10 said after the meet. Assistant Coach Patrick Wales-Dinan agreed. “[The team] responded to a great performance by Tufts and came out victorious,” he said.
In one of the first events of the day, Stephen Simalchik ’13 had an astounding performance in the javelin, breaking not only the school but also the 25-year-old NESCAC record with a 65.86 meter throw, an NCAA automatic qualifier and second longest throw in the country this year. Simalchik would later place fourth in the hammer throw, while Matt Farley ’11 also placed well for the Ephs, finishing in sixth. Rusty Cowher ’12 added in a fourth place finish in the shotput, in which he recorded a new personal best by one centimeter, and a sixth place finish in the discus.
In the first running event of the day, Corey Watts ’10 got the team rolling with a gutsy third place finish in the 10,000 meter. Connor Kamm ’10 had an off-race, finishing fifth, but soon made up for it by claiming first in the 1500 meter against a star-studded field. Edgar Kosgey ’10 had a remarkable double as well, running to fourth place in the 1500 meter and third place in the 5000 meter behind the Div. III national leaders in the latter. Perlis also competed in the 5000 meter, finishing sixth in 15:12.83.
In another multievent day’s feat, Jabulani Blyden ’13 inspired many a spectator with his quadruple: A leg on the fourth place 4×100 meter relay, third place in the 110 meter hurdle final, fourth place in the 400 meter and second place in the 400 meter hurdles rounded out an impressive day for the rookie. Isaac Nicholson ’11 had a rousing quadruple as well, with a leg on the 4×100, a sixth place finish in the long jump, a runner-up finish in the high jump – an event in which he tied his personal best – and a leg on the fifth-place 4×400 meter relay with Tomas Kearney ’12, Sam McManama ’12 and Chris Fogler ’13.
In the jumps, Kearney won a hotly contested triple jump with an NCAA provisional mark. In addition, he tied for sixth place in the high jump. Steve Rubin ’11 set personal bests on his way to third and fourth place finishes in the long jump and triple jump, respectively.
Rich Fusco ’12 contributed to the team effort with his fifth place finish in the 200 meter, in a time just off his personal best, and with a surprising and extraordinary second place finish in the 400 meter in personal-record-setting fashion.
Brian Cole ’11 and Josephat Koima ’12 teamed up for first and fourth place finishes in the 800 meter. Cole, hot off his dazzling nation-leading run in the 1500 meter last week at Princeton, took control of the race a quarter of the way through and held on for a tight victory by only .02 seconds.
Anthony Raduazo ’12 suffered his first loss of the season in the 3000-meter steeplechase, finishing second in the event behind Middlebury’s Jack Davies. Raduazo would perhaps have fared better had he had not run a NCAA provisional time in the 10,000 meter at the 115th Penn Relay event less than 36 hours before.
Tufts ultimately posted five wins on the day, but it was not enough to best Williams.
“Winning NESCAC’s is a big goal every year,” co-captain Cullen Roberts ’10 said. “We needed a full team effort, from the coaches who arranged a lineup that put us in a position to win to the athletes in all event groups.”
Beyond NESCACs, Perlis spoke optimistically about the team’s prospects. “This meet really sets us up for a great [New England Championship] next weekend,” he said. “It really hurt us losing to MIT indoors and we have a great chance to exact some revenge. I know that this team is going to go out next weekend and prove that we are the best team in New England.”
The team will compete at the Div. III New England championships at Tufts this Friday and Saturday in the hopes of retaining its title this season.