Men’s track and field rode a blistering start to second place at the New England Div. III Championships last weekend. Host MIT won the meet with a 115-point total and was followed closely by the men, who finished with 99.5 points. Led by the team’s senior captains, Williams stunned a number of schools, including NESCAC champion Bates, to take the runner-up trophy.
Heading into the meet, the men were seeded a distant seventh after an underwhelming fourth-place performance at the NESCAC championships. However, from Day One, the Ephs outperformed their seed times and emerged as a contender for the team title. The men entered the final day of the meet on Sunday in first place, and though they did not claim the regional crown, the team did turn in a number of top performances. Jabulani Blyden ’13 and Laye Samoura ’15 dominated the 110-meter hurdles, catapulting the men up in the standings with 18 additional points. Blyden finished with a season-best 14.86 seconds, while Samoura was just behind with a time of 15.02 seconds. Blyden also posted a strong time in the 400-meter hurdles, winning his heat and taking third overall in 54.25. Blyden currently sits at 27th on the national ranking list, but he will seek to improve his standing in the upcoming weeks.
Junior standout Brandon Abasolo ’13 ran a courageous race in the steeplechase to take fourth place for the Ephs in 9:06. Not only did Abasolo establish a new personal best in the event, but he also likely qualified for nationals with the performance. Currently, he is ranked ninth nationally; 20 athletes are invited to Div. III NCAAs in the event at the conclusion of the season.
Senior co-captain Richard Fusco ’12 went out on a high note in his last New England Championship. He set a personal record in the 200 meter with a sixth-place finish in a time of 22.46 seconds. He also took fifth in the 400 meter with a time of 49.62 seconds.
The Ephs scored no points in the 5000 meter but still notched a few personal records. Sophomore Max LaBerge ’14 demonstrated good race strategy, positioning himself in the pack for much of the race before using a strong kick to take ninth place in 14:53.79. Aldis Inde ’15 continued his top form with a 12th-place finish in 14:55.42.
In the field events, co-captain Rusty Cowher ’12 built on his second place finish on Friday with fifth- and seventh-place finishes in the hammer throw and shot put, respectively. In the former, he threw 50.44 meters, while he launched the shot put 14.71 meters. Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 leaped 4.55 meters in the pole vault, earning a tie for fourth place and a valuable five points for Williams.
The final relays were a highlight of the meet for the men. The team of Eric Schneider ’15, Christopher Cogswell ’14, Matt Wyatt ’12 and Andrew Beaudoin ’15 took fourth place in the 4×800 with a time of 7:50.59. Each of the runners split under two minutes, with Cogswell blazing to a personal-best relay split at 1:55.
The relay squad of Blyden, Fusco, co-captain Tomas Kearney ’12 and Emmanuel Daring ’15 closed out the meet with a victory in the 4×400. After a dominant opening leg by Blyden, the Ephs ran to a time of 3:17.92, dusting the field en route to a gold finish.
On Friday, the first day of competition, Chris Fogler ’13 started the Ephs off with a herculean performance in the decathlon. He took second place, scoring 6067 points and positioning himself in 20th place on the national performance list.
In the throws, Cowher seized second place in the discus with a toss of 48.20 meters. This marked a new personal best for Cowher and sets him up nicely for a run at an NCAA berth. Currently, he sits in 31st place nationally, but he will have another opportunity to qualify at the New England All-Divisions Championship this weekend or at the ECAC Championships on May 19.
Kearney took eighth in the long jump on Friday, earning a valuable point for the men with a leap of 6.34 meters.
Co-captain Anthony Raduazo ’12 and Wade Davis ’13 took to the track on Friday night, scoring 14 total points in placing second and third, respectively, in the men’s 10,000 meter. Davis ran the event in 31:26.14, a new personal best by 12 seconds, coming in just behind Raduazo who finished in 31:25.13.
Overall, the team was exuberant about the team’s result on the weekend. “Every athlete competed with total conviction and benefited from strong vocal support of his teammates,” Assistant Coach Ben Raphelson said. “Finishing second after fourth-place finishes at the indoor championships and outdoor NESCACs just last weekend is a testament to the resiliency of this team.”
The men will compete next at the New England All-Divisions Championship at MIT on Saturday. A select number of athletes will be competing, as the qualifying times cutoff limits team entries. On May 17 and 18, the Ephs will travel to RPI to race in the ECAC Championships. The final competition of the season will take place in Claremont, Calif., as Eph qualifiers will compete in the Div. III NCAA Championships on May 24-26.