Men’s track bests field at UMass Invitational

Men’s track and field made its East coast outdoor season debut at the UMass Invitational hosted by UMass-Amherst on Saturday, winning the meet with 159 points. Williams was able to prevail over Div. I and Div. III competition including SUNY Albany, UMass-Amherst, Amherst and Trinity. The team also competed in two meets in California over spring break.

“Winning the meet was not our goal, but it indicates [the team’s] depth,” co-captain Steve Rubin ’11 said. Seventeen Ephs contributed to scoring points in 16 different events.

The action started with Jason Rapaport ’11, Matt Wyatt ’12, Steve Mendoza ’13 and Max Laberge ’14 sweeping fifth through eighth in the 10,000 meter race and all qualifying for Div. III New Englands. In the steeplechase, Brandon Abasolo ’13 ran away from the field from the onset to win handily and also qualify for All New England competition.

The second event on the track was the 4×100 meter relay: The quartet of Chris Fogler ’13, Taylor Fitzgerald ’11, Rich Fusco ’12 and Jabulani Blyden ’13 combined to place second in a time that qualifies them for the NEICAAA Championship. Fusco and Fitzgerald came back in the 400 meter to claim fourth and fifth, respectively; their times qualified them for Div. III New Englands. Blyden ran a fantastic race in the 800 meter to finish third and qualify for All New Englands. Fusco, Blyden, Peter Young ’13 and Nehemiah Paramore ’14 joined efforts to claim second in the 4×400 meter relay.

Matt Sullivan ’11 ran to a personal best in the 110-meter hurdles for fifth place and raced to fourth in the 400-meter hurdles. Both performances qualified him for All New Englands.

The Ephs scored several points in the jumping events. Co-captain Isaac Nicholson ’11 won the high jump, while Tomas Kearney ’12 placed sixth. In the long jump, Rubin jumped to second, Nicholson took third, Kearney claimed sixth and Fogler brought home eighth. Rubin and Kearney went 1-2 in the triple jump.

The men also performed well in throwing events. Rusty Cowher ’12 placed second in the shotput, fourth in the discus throw and fourth in the hammer throw. Syvad Young ’12 claimed fourth in the shotput and eighth in the discus throw. Stephen Simalchik ’13 posted victories in both the hammer and javelin throws. His throw in the hammer was good enough to provisionally qualify him for NCAAs, while his throw in the javelin was an automatic qualifier for NCAA competition.

“This team effort displayed the strength of the team across all events and the high prospects of the team for the championships ahead,” Assistant Coach Pete Farwell said.

On March 25, Williams competed at the Titan Twilight hosted by Cal State-Fullerton. No team score was recorded, but there were several notable performances.

Fitzgerald and Fusco placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 400 meter. Blyden finished second in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles; Sullivan also placed fourth in the 110-meter  hurdles. The relay team of Fitzgerald, Fusco, Rubin and Blyden won the 4×400.
Josephat Koima ’12 ran to a strong fifth in the 800 meter in a personal best and All New England qualifying time. Co-captain Brian Cole ’11 won the 1500 meter in electrifying fashion, with Koima following in fourth, Dan Silver ’13 in sixth and Will Palmer ’11 in seventh; all four qualified for the Div. III New England Championship.

Cowher threw to third in both the shot and discus, while Simalchik secured fourth in the hammer throw and first in the javelin.

On March 19, the men competed at the Trojan Invitational hosted by the USC, the first of two meets at which the team competed over spring break. No team score was kept, but the team was able to post exceptional times and marks.

Fitzgerald ran to 16th in the 100 meter and 12th in the 200 meter; both times qualified him for Div. III New England competition. Fusco placed 20th in the 200 meter and 11th in the 400 meter, while Blyden placed ninth in the 400 meter. Both athletes qualified for Div. III New Englands in their respective events. Cole placed 11th in the 800 meter in a Div. III New England qualifying time. Palmer finished sixth in the 3000 meter, though the event is not contested outdoors at any championship meet. Simalchik earned second for his javelin throw.

“We’ve been exceptionally lucky with weather this spring, and the athletes have taken advantage by getting a healthy chunk of qualifying performances out of the way for our regional competitions later this month and in May,” Assistant Coach Mitchell Baker said. “We’re excited for the additional events contested in the outdoor season and think [we] have a chance to defend regional crowns and bump up in the NCAA standings by spring’s end.”

The men will next compete this Saturday at Brown’s home meet, the Brown Invitational.

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