Men’s track sends 4×400 to NCAAs

Men’s track and field wrapped up its indoor season at the NCAA Championships last weekend in Grinnell, Iowa. Only the 4×400 team of co-captain Rich Fusco ’12, Chris Fogler ’13, co-captain Tomas Kearney ’12 and Jabulani Blyden ’13 competed at the meet.

Fusco, Fogler, Kearney and Blyden were appropriate representatives for the team at NCAAs: The four athletes  led the men throughout the season in their individual events but came together to form the 4×400 relay team at NCAAs. Fogler traditionally competes in the heptathlon, but joined the 4×400 relay squad after a quick split at the All-New England Championships. Similarly, Kearney is a national-caliber jumper, but posted a quick  400-meter time in order to qualify to join his teammates at NCAAs. Blyden specializes in the hurdles, but has anchored the 4×400 for the past two years. Finally, Fusco competed in his strongest event, the 400 meter, as a member of the 4×400 relay team.

After finishing first in its heat at all New-Englands, the men entered the meet seeded fourth. The team faded to ninth, just one place behind the All-American qualifying positions.

The team had a difficult indoor season. The men took a distant fourth at New Englands – a meet Williams usually dominates – and sent few runners to the ECAC and All-New England Championships. After the men’s fourth-place finish All-New Englands, Fusco told the team to “remember this feeling and use it as motivation.” Williams will look to do just that heading into the outdoor season.

The outdoor season will rely on the same athletes that competed in the indoor season. In the sprints, Fusco will continue to garner points in the 400 and the 200 meter. He will be joined by Jared Nowell ’15 and Emmanuel Daring ’15, who both demonstrated their talent during the indoor season, earning All-New England Div. III honors at the conclusion of the winter.

The team expects big things out of rookies Jean-Luc Etienne ’15 and James Marvel-Coen ’15 in the hurdles. Blyden can also be relied upon to pick up points where needed in hurdles events as well as others.

Kearney, who participated in the NCAA outdoor championships last spring, will compete in the triple or long jump. Co-captain Rusty Cowher ’12will make the switch from the weight throw, where he just missed a bid to Nationals this winter, to the hammer throw, where he aims to compete both regionally and nationally. Syvad Young ’12 had a breakout season and should be a force alongside Cowher in the throws. Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 is looking to improve on his indoor vaults as well. Nate Saffold ’14, Richard Beaton ’14 and Demarius Edwards ’14 will also contribute to the field team.

The mid-distance athletes will work to improve on their solid indoor times with breakout performances during the outdoor season. Rookie Andrew Beaudoin ’15 is mounting a comeback this spring after an injury. Eric Schneider ’15 also had a fine race at Boston University, where he broke the two-minute barrier in the 800 meter. Tommy Gaidus ’13, Ben Schneider ’15, Postyn Smith ’15 and Matthew Wyatt ’12 hope to return to the track in top form after setting personal bests during the indoor season. The group also looks forward to the returns of milers Chris Lee ’14 and Chris Cogswell ’14 and hopefully a comeback by 800-meter specialist Peter Young ’13.

The distance events look promising, as last year’s regional champion Brandon Abasolo ’13 will return in the steeplechase to complement a deep group led by co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12 and cross country stand-outs Scott Rodilitz ’13, Mark Springel ’12, Henry Koster ’14, Max LaBerge ’14, Nick Wolf ’14, Josephat Koima ’12 and Wade Davis ’13. These men will be joined by rookie talent Aldis Inde ’15 and Cole Townsend ’15.

Head Coach Fletcher Brooks is looking forward to starting the outdoor season this spring. “The key to the outdoor season is improvement,” he said. “Williams expects to be a top team on not only the regional but also on the national level and it will take strides from each event group to make that happen.”

The men will start their outdoor season with a meet against Bertklasse Meeting at High Point on March 24.