Men’s track notches qualifiers at ECACs

Men’s track and field finished 27th in the ECAC Championships last weekend in its final  competition before Div. III NCAAs. The men’s NESCAC rival Bates won the meet, adding hardware to its New England title, which the Bobcats claimed on Feb. 17-18.

The Ephs that competed at the meet were searching for qualifying times for the Div. III NCAA championships, which will take place this weekend. Co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 were the first athletes to compete, racing in the 5000 meter. Each turned in quick times under 15 minutes. Raduazo was among the leaders for most of the race, even dictating the pace at times. Going into the last lap, he was within striking distance and kicked hard to take fourth overall in 14:38.32. Abasolo finished 14th in a time of 14:59.44. Unfortunately, Raduazo’s time placed him 22nd nationally, and just outside the top 13, which would automatically qualify him for NCAAs.

In the field events, Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 nearly equaled an earlier season-best result in the pole vault, jumping 4.56 meters and securing 11th place for the Ephs. Co-captain Tomas Kearney ’12 also had a strong performance, taking fifth in the triple jump with a leap of 14.11 meters. Co-captain Rusty Cowher ’12 earned the Ephs a point by taking eighth in the weight throw with a distance of 17.60 meters. Cowher has provisionally qualified for Div. III NCAAs, but he will hear later this week whether he will qualify for the meet.

Chris Fogler ’13 also competed in the pentathalon for Williams last weekend, but after a distant finish in the pole vault, he dropped out of the competition. This could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Ephs, who will look for a fast time from Jabulani Blyden ’13, Richard Fusco ’12, Kearney and Fogler in the 4×400. Going into Nationals, the 4×400 is fourth nationally with a qualifying time of 3:17.71, roughly a second behind North Central at 3:16.62, Wisconsin Eau Claire at 3:16.76 and McMurry at 3:16.94. The men have a difficult task ahead of them, as each of the aforementioned teams has an anchor runner ranked in the top five nationally in the open 400 meter.

Head Coach Fletcher Brooks was “excited to see the 4×400 match up against the top competition at the Div. III level.” He went on to comment that “with all four athletes running fresh, the team is looking for a quick time and a high spot on the podium.”

For now, the Ephs will wait to hear from the NCAA selection committee to see who else will join the 4×400 team at Nationals. The meet will be hosted at the Charles Benson Bear Athletic Center in Grinnell, Iowa, on March 9-10. North Central, two-time defending national champion and national No. 3, will look to secure another national title, but the squad will likely face stiff competition from a slew of Wisconsin teams led by national No. 1 Wisconsin-La Crosse and No. 2 Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

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