Men’s track blazes past rivals Amherst and Wesleyan

Men’s track and field headed to Amherst on Saturday for the Little Three Championship. Williams sought its 23rd consecutive victory over Amherst and Wesleyan. The men prevailed with 161.5 points, as Amherst tallied 109 points and Wesleyan finished with 94.5 points. The men also earned NCAA provisional qualifying times in the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton on Friday.

“We were pleased to score well in all event groups and handily defeat Amherst and Wesleyan,” Assistant Coach Pete Farwell said. “There were some tight finishes and PR performances as highlights of a spirited day, boding well for the NESCAC and Div. III New England showdowns the next two weeks.”

The action began with the 4×100 meter relay in which Don Polite ’13, Tomas Kearney ’12, Rich Fusco ’12 and Jabulani Blyden ’13 combined efforts to win the event and get the Ephs off to an auspicious start.
Will Palmer ’11, doubling back from racing at Princeton the night before, claimed second in the 3000-meter steeplechase. He was followed by Steve Mendoza ’13 and Max Heninger ’14 in third and fourth, respectively. Palmer and Mendoza qualified for the Div. III New England meet in the event.

In the 1500 meter, Brandon Abasolo ’13 and Chris Cogswell ’13 finished second and third, respectively.

In the 110-meter hurdles, Matt Sullivan ’11 and Blyden led the way with their one-two finish. Sullivan also placed third in the 100 meter, while Blyden took first in the 400-meter hurdles.

Fusco and Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 blazed to second and fourth, respectively, in the 400 meter. Fusco placed second in the 200 meter, while co-captain Steve Rubin ’11 finished third.

In the 800 meter, Dan Waters ’11 finished third in a personal best and Div. III New England qualifying time. Geoff Rodriguez ’11 was fourth and Peter Young ’13 was fifth.

Several Ephs finished on top in the 5000 meter, all in personal best times that qualified them for Div. III New Englands. Co-captain Dan Franck ’11 claimed fourth, Matt Wyatt ’12 took fifth, Max LaBerge ’14 grabbed sixth and Jason Rapaport ’11 placed seventh.

Last on the track at Amherst was the 4×400 meter relay, where Rodriguez, Nathaniel Sutton ’14, Young and Waters placed third.

Competition in the field events began with the long jump: Kearney led the way in first, matching his season best. Rubin and Richie Beaton ’14 finished in third and fourth, respectively. In the triple jump, Rubin placed second and Beaton finished in third. Kearney claimed victory in the high jump as teammate Demarius Edwards ’14 finished second.

All of the Ephs in the field finished in third or better. Stephen Simalchik ’13 threw his way to victories in the javelin and hammer throws and a second-place finish in the discus, while Rusty Cowher ’12 powered his way to victories in the shotput and discus and third-place finishes in the javelin and hammer. Syvad Young ’12 picked up third in both the shotput and discus.

“We fought through less than optimal weather to win,” Rubin said. “It was a good tune-up for the coming weeks, and … I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’re ready to explode!”

Co-captain Brian Cole ’11 ran an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 1500 meter at the Larry Ellis Invitational on Friday. His time is currently the fifth-best in the nation. Josephat Koima ’12 ran to a provisional time in the 5000 meter that is seventh-fastest in Div. III.

The men will travel to Wesleyan on Saturday to compete at the NESCAC Championship, hoping for their 11th consecutive title since 2001.

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