Men’s track and field had to summon a complete team effort in order to claim the Div. III New England title this past weekend. The team garnered 159 points over the three-day affair, just five points more than second-place MIT in what co-captain Cullen Roberts ’10 deemed “definitely the most exciting track meet of [my] four years at Williams.”
“Going into the New England championship, the meet was extraordinarily close,” co-captain Jeff Perlis ’10 said. “We knew it was going to be a battle between us and MIT, and we wanted to do everything in our power to obtain a different result than from indoors.” Williams placed second behind MIT in the Div. III New England indoor championship in February.
Prior to the main day of competition on Saturday, Isaac Nicholson ’11 and Chris Fogler ’13 competed in the two-day decathlon on Thursday and Friday. Despite sustaining a groin injury in the midst of competition, Nicholson was able to finish in an impressive second place, with Fogler just behind in sixth.
Starting the Ephs off right on Saturday, Stephen Simalchik ’13 maintained his winning streak in the javelin with a throw over eight feet longer than that of his nearest competitor. Simalchik also placed sixth in the hammer throw, two spots in front of Matt Farley ’11, who came in eighth. Rusty Cowher ’12 threw for a remarkable personal best in the shot put, throwing a distance of 13.97 meters for tenth place. Steve Rubin ’11 once again gave a clutch performance with a sixth-place finish in the long jump, notching a personal best 6.74-meter leap. He added another sixth-place finish in the triple jump later on the weekend. Tomas Kearney ’12 stepped up in the jumps with second place finishes in the triple jump and high jump.
“We had an extraordinary number of athletes step up and deliver alarmingly impressive doubles, triples, quadruples,” Perlis said when asked about the team’s success in the field.
On the track, Corey Watts ’10 won the 10,000 meter, his first individual New England title, in a time of 31:48.49. Scott Rodilitz ’13 was far back in the pack early on but moved up during the later stages of the race to eventually place seventh in the same event. In addition to his win in the 10,000 meter, Watts placed fourth in the 5000 meter. Meanwhile, Kamm did his part for the Ephs, claiming first in the 5000 meter and barely getting edged out in the 1500 meter. Kamm finished second in the 1500, improving upon his NCAA qualifying mark from earlier in the season. Anthony Raduazo ’12 also improved his qualifying mark in the steeplechase en route to a second-place finish; he then doubled back for sixth in the 5000 meter. Edgar Kosgey ’10 supported the team with his sixth-place finish in the 800 meter and leg on the winning 4×800 meter relay. Kosgey’s relay teammates Brian Cole ’11 and Josephat Koima ’12 also tallied a number of top finishes on the day: Cole ran to fifth place finishes in the 1500 meter and 800 meter, while Koima competed in the same events, scoring valuable points with his eighth-place result in the 1500. Rich Fusco ’12 finished fourth in the 400 meter, as well as leading off the winning 4×400 meter relay.
Williams’ MVP of the meet, however, was Jabulani Blyden ’13. He ran his way to second in the 110-meter hurdles, first in the 400-meter hurdles, second in the open 400 meter and also contributed a leg on the 4×400 meter relay.
Going into the last two events of the meet, the Ephs were down three points to the Engineers. However, victories in the next two events clinched the victory for the men: Cole, Dan Franck ’11, Kosgey and Koima won the 4×800, while Fusco, Sam McManama ’12, Kearney and Blyden demolished the competition in the 4×400 relay. Koima held off the anchor leg of the MIT team to take the win and make up two points in the first race, while the second Eph squad finished in a time just off the NCAA provisional mark but well ahead of MIT to pull away for an impressive meet victory.
Roberts praised the team’s performance at the meet. “The team stepped up huge when it mattered most with tons of clutch performances down the stretch,” he said. “Everyone worked hard all season and it feels great to have that pay off with the New England title.”
With the conclusion of the Div. III New England championship, the majority of the team’s season is over. Athletes with qualifying marks and times will compete this weekend at the All-New England championship at Northeastern University.