Men’s track earns NCAA cuts at invites

Men’s track and field journeyed east this weekend to the MIT Co-ed Invitational and the Valentine Invitational at Boston University. The men sought to attain or improve upon their individual qualifying marks before the start of the championship season. While no team score was tallied at either venue, the Ephs were able to score several individual successes.

“These two meets gave people a final chance at hitting regional qualifiers before our biggest team meet of the season, Div. III New Englands,” said co-captain Steve Rubin ’11. “The focus this week was on qualification, besting personal bests and gaining competition experience rather than on performing well as a team. We’re going to need every last drop of talent, teamwork and dedication from our team to beat Amherst, MIT, Bates and the rest of New England next weekend.”

At the MIT Co-ed Invitational on Saturday, Tomas Kearney ’12 won the high jump competition in 1.93 meters, followed by Ben Atkinson ’11 in third with a personal best jump of 1.86 meters. Both marks were good enough to qualify for the Div. III New England Championship this weekend. Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 claimed second in the pole vault with a personal best of 4.45 meters.
Williams was buoyed by throwing stalwarts Rusty Cowher ’12 and Syvad Young ’12. Cowher placed third in the shot put and second in the weight throw, while Young muscled to fourth-place finishes in both the shot and the weight; his shot put throw of 13.38 meters marked a personal best.

At the Valentine Invitational on Friday, the distance medley relay team of co-captain Dan Franck ’11, Alex Rich ’13, Jabulani Blyden ’13 and Josephat Koima ’12 combined to run a 10:16.97 and finish 18th overall.

In the second day of competition at the Valentine Invitational, the Ephs brought home fast times amidst some of the top competition from throughout the northeast. Rich Fusco ’12 ran season bests in the 200 meter and 400 meter, as did Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 in the 400 meter. Fusco and Fitzgerald both provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championship and are currently ranked 14th and 16th in the nation in the 400 meter.

Blyden set a new school record in the 500 meter en route to a first-place finish in his heat, which was good enough to earn him second place overall. Blyden and Matt Sullivan ’11 set personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles.

In the 800 meter, co-captain Brian Cole ’11 and Peter Young ’13 both turned in times well under the Div. III New England qualifying time of two minutes. Cole also raced well enough in the mile to qualify for the New England Championships in that event as well. In one of the most impressive races of his career, Will Palmer ’11 set a personal best in the mile, posting a time which also qualified him for New Englands. Koima, coming off a day’s rest, won his heat in the 1000 meter, in which he currently holds the third-best time in New England.

“The team added more qualifiers for the Div. III regional next weekend, and we will need all the help we can get to have a shot at winning the meet,” Cole said.

The team will next compete in the first meet of the indoor championship season as the men travel to Springfield, Mass. for the Div. III New England Championships on Friday and Saturday.