Men’s track posts qualifiers prior to championship season

Men’s indoor track and field traveled to Boston last Saturday, seeking  qualifiers for the Div. III New England Championships. The majority of the team competed at Boston University’s Valentine Invitational, while a smaller contingent traveled across town to MIT for the Coed Invitational.

The prestigious Valentine Invitational presented an opportunity for many runners to face the toughest competition from around the East coast.

The men posted multiple qualifying times to cement themselves as a top contender heading into next weekend’s Div. III New England Championships. Emmanuel Daring ’15 continued his top form in the 200 meter, running a blistering 22.61 seconds and placing 38th overall. In the 400 meter, Rich Fusco ’12 broke the 50-second barrier, posting a 49.77 to set himself up nicely for Div. III New Englands. As the season wraps up, his time could potentially qualify him for Div. III NCAA Championships on March 9-10. Fusco’s time also put him first in his heat and in 45th overall.

In one of the day’s highlights, Jabulani Blyden ’13 flew to a sixth-place overall finish in the 500 meter in 1:04.91. This time qualifies him for Div. III New Englands. Blyden also had a stellar effort in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 8.61 and taking 15th in the preliminary heat. Despite his results, Blyden did not qualify for the 60-meter hurdles final.

The men’s mid-distance squad had a number of competitors this weekend, with an especially large contingent in the 800 meter. Eric Schneider ’15 qualified for Div. III New Englands in the event with a time of 1:59.01. Andrew Beaudoin ’15 made his track debut with a time of 2:00.16 and was closely followed by Nick Wolf  ’14 in 2:00.66.

The 1000 meter saw Tommy Gaidus ’13 and Matthew Wyatt ’13 post more qualifiers, running times of 2:32.39 and 2:33.05 and placing 35th and 40th, respectively. In the mile, Postyn Smith ’15 came away with an impressive 4:22.11, and Brandon Abasolo ’13 ran to 4:24.00.

In the 3000 meter, co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12 improved on his seed time to run 8:39 and take fourth in his heat, placing 65th overall. Finally, the 4×400 squad of Fusco, Blyden, Daring and Edwin Maina ’15 won its heat in 3:20.19 to take 19th overall.

The contingent of men at MIT also had a strong showing. Henry Koster ’14 returned to the track for the first time since last winter and posted an impressive 15:34 in the 5000 meter, taking second overall. Daniel Seigel ’15 was close behind in fourth place in 15:37, giving the Ephs two strong showings in the event.

“Henry Koster led the way in the running events at MIT, running a career-best [time] in the 5k,” Assistant Coach Ben Raphelson said. “Last year, Koster suffered a freak injury, breaking a bone in his foot while competing in a 5k at MIT, knocking him out of competition for the rest of the year. Returning to that same track and running so well was quite the accomplishment for him.”

Last weekend was the last chance for the Ephs to tune up before their championship season begins on Saturday. The men will travel to Springfield this weekend to compete in Div. III New England Championships. The heptathlon kicks off on Friday at 12 p.m., while the rest of the events will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Last year, Williams narrowly lost the meet to MIT. The men hope to exact revenge this Saturday.

“MIT presents a strong challenge in the men’s meet next week,” Raphelson said. “On paper, they may be the favorite, but we pride ourselves on consistently out-performing our seed times. We plan to give them all they can handle this weekend.”