Ephs race to 4th at NESCACs

Men’s track and field finished fourth at last weekend’s NESCAC Championships at Bates. The Ephs, who finished in fourth with a total of 111.75 points, were unable to defend their 11 straight titles. The men fell to first-place Bates, which scored 156.25 points.

A number of seniors notched solid performances for the Ephs, especially in the field events. Co-captain Rusty Cowher ’12 continued his stellar form with 17 points in three separate events. He took second in the discus throw with a toss of 45.96 meters. He also earned fourth place in the shot put with a 13.97-meter result and fifth in the hammer throw with a toss of 50.99 meters. Syvad Young ’12 also scored a point for the Ephs in the shot put with his eighth-place finish.

Co-captain Tomas Kearney ’12 was a force for the Ephs with 16 points in the jumps. He took second in the high jump with a leap of 1.90 meters and also placed fourth in the triple jump with 14.09 meters and sixth in the long jump with a 6.52-meter mark. In the pole vault, Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 scored six points with his impressive third-place finish.

The distance men led off the track races for the Ephs with a brilliant finish in the 10,000 meter. Wade Davis ’13 and Scott Rodilitz ’13 took turns at the front of the pack en route to second- and third-place finishes, respectively. The only runner ahead of them was Middlebury’s national leader, Michael Schmidt. The distance crew returned to the track in the 3000-meter steeplechase, where Brandon Abasolo ’13 took fourth place in a star-studded race.

Jabulani Blyden ’13, Chris Fogler ’13 and Laye Samoura ’15 had strong races in the hurdles. In the 400-meter hurdles, Blyden took third in 55.75. Running in the slowest heat, Fogler stunningly took fourth place right behind his teammate. Samoura’s second-place finish in 14.88 in the 110-meter hurdles marked an impressive NESCAC championships career debut.

Co-captain Rich Fusco ’12 was the lone member of the team to score in the sprints. He ran an impressive race in the 400 meter to take second place behind Middlebury’s Peter Hetzler.

The lone win of the day for the Ephs came in the 4×400 relay where Fogler, Fusco, Blyden and Emmanuel Daring ’15 dashed to a time of 3:20.85. In the other relays, the 4×100 meter team took fourth place in 43.40. The distance medley relay closed the meet with an eighth-place finish of 10:29.40.

Overall, the men were disheartened by the performance. “It was a disappointing weekend,” Assisstant Coach Ben Raphelson said. “We knew that defending our title would be a tough goal, but we felt we were at least positioned to outperform our projected fourth-place finish.”

Despite the men’s result, the senior captains still showed poise in the face of adversity. “Rusty Cowher, Tomas Kearney and Richard Fusco – three of our senior captains – had stellar days, leading by example,” Raphelson said. “Rusty and Tomas were our top point scorers despite having to overcome various injuries that would have held back less-poised performers.”

The men have the week to prepare for the New England Championships, which will be hosted by MIT on Friday and Saturday.