Men’s track dominates NESCACs

Men’s track and field traveled to Wesleyan this weekend to compete in the NESCAC Championship. After the 21 events had been contested, Williams claimed its 11th consecutive NESCAC title with 188.5 points. The men were followed by Bates in second with 122.5 points and Middlebury in third with 112.5.

“We came to dominate, and we did, winning the meet by 66 points, our greatest margin of victory at the NESCAC Championship since 2006,” co-captain Steve Rubin ’11 said. Co-captain Dan Franck ’11 also emphasized the importance of wining the meet: “We go into each season with the expectation that we will [win], but that doesn’t change the fact that we beat out several teams who very badly wanted to win.”

Competition started with the 10,000 meter. Jason Rapaport ’11 placed seventh in a personal best and NEICAAA-qualifying time of 32:18 minutes. Next on the track came the 3000-meter steeplechase in which Brandon Abasolo ’13 placed second in a NCAA-provisional qualifying time of 9:17.25. The quartet of Don Polite ’13, Matt Sullivan ’11, Rich Fusco ’12 and Jabulani Blyden ’13 combined efforts to finish sixth in the 4×100 meter relay.

In the 1500 meter, Williams was bolstered by fourth and fifth place finishes by co-captain Brian Cole ’11 and Josephat Koima ’12. Blyden then claimed his first victory of the day in the 110-meter hurdles, followed by Sullivan in fourth, Fogler in fifth and Nicholson in eighth. All ran to or almost equaled their respective personal bests. Just a few minutes later, Blyden claimed his second NESCAC victory, this time in the 400 meter and in a personal best time of 48.76; Fusco placed sixth. Despite sustaining injury in the preliminary rounds of the 100 meter, Taylor Fitzgerald ’11 reported to the final and finished eighth, albeit whilst walking.

“As always, the team rose to the occasion and made great things happen,” Assistant Coach Joel Williams said, remarking particularly on Fitzgerald’s performance. “It’s tough when you see [an athlete] go down in one of the first events, but I think the team was able to quickly put that behind them and in some cases use it to motivate each other.”

At the same time, the men’s hammer throw was underway just outside the track. Stephen Simalchik ’13 improved upon his NCAA-provisionally qualifying throw with his 54.42-meter mark and runner-up placing, while Rusty Cowher ’12 placed fourth. In the pole vault competition, Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 vaulted to fourth, tying his personal best result of 4.45 meters. The Ephs had a great showing in the high jump: Tomas Kearney ’12 tied his personal best of 1.96 meters, jumping to third, while co-captain Isaac Nicholson ’11 followed in fourth and Chris Fogler ’13 tied for sixth.

Rubin demonstrated his ability to rise to the occasion by winning the long jump competition in 7.11 meters, a personal best and NCAA provisional mark. Richie Beaton ’14 jumped to fifth with a personal best of 6.50 meters, and Nicholson followed in sixth. Rubin and Beaton also competed in the triple jump, placing second and eighth. Simalchik overcame an off day to win the javelin competition. He also threw to seventh in the discus with a personal best mark. Cowher placed sixth in the shotput and third in the discus.

Nehemiah Paramore ’14 ran to a personal best time of 1:55.24 in the 800 meter for sixth, and Koima ran to seventh. Blyden won the 400-meter hurdles, his third victory of the day, in an NCAA provisional qualifying time. Sullivan followed in second and Fogler in fifth, both in personal best times. Rubin recovered from a slow start to finish in third in the 200 meter, and Fusco placed third overall.

“Jabulani Blyden is finally starting to hit his stride, literally,” Williams said. “Anchoring the 4×100, winning the [110-meter hurdles], 400 and [400-meter hurdles] were all impressive. Hitting the times he did was the result of doing whatever it took to get points for his teammates.”

The makeshift 4×400 meter relay team of Peter Young ’13, Dan Waters ’11, Nathaniel Sutton ’14 and Paramore managed second place overall in one of the final events of the day. The quartet of Chris Cogswell ’14, Geoff Rodriguez ’11, Cole and Will Palmer ’11 ran to fourth.

Williams will next travel to MIT for the Div. III New England Championship on Saturday, with host MIT being the team’s chief competition. The Ephs will hope to avenge their loss to the Engineers at the indoor championship.

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