Men’s track and field returned to competition last Saturday at the 31st annual Yale Invitational, turning in a number of season bests and qualifying marks in the process.
The Ephs, loaded with talented underclassmen and seasoned veterans alike, demonstrated their depth in the sprint events. Don Polite Jr. ’13, Jared Nowell ’15, Kevin Person ’16, Oladeji Odewade ’15 and Katakyie Ofori-Atta ’16 each raced the 60 meter. Ofori-Atta sped to a time of 7.14 seconds, earning him eighth place, while Nowell was close behind in a time of 7.22 seconds earning him 16th place. The dynamic duo of Jabulani Blyden ’13 and Laye Samoura ’15 earned sixth and ninth places, respectively, in the 60-meter hurdles, while tri-captain Chris Fogler ’13 continued his return to form after an injury, placing 16th.
Emmanuel Daring ’15 made his presence felt in the 400 meter, pushing himself to a time of 51.25 seconds and an 11th-place finish, while John Sutton ’15 had a breakout race in the 800 meter, finishing second in his heat with a season best time of 2:00.52.
The distance team, fresh off a 12th-place finish at the national cross-country meet, fielded a strong pack in both the mile and the 3000 meter. Tri-captain Scott Rodilitz ’13 led a group of four Ephs in the former, finishing first in his heat in 4:26, while Aldis Inde ’15 trailed close behind in 4:28.19. Bijan Mazaheri ’16 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 also had impressive showings despite their affinity for longer races.
Max LaBerge ’14 flew to the finish to earn fourth place in the 3000 meter in a time of 8:45.79. Wade Davis ’13 took 10th place in 8:55.48, while Peter Watson ’13 and Steve Mendoza ’13 also posted quick times.
Johnny Ray Hinojosa ’13 was the highest placer for Williams on the day, earning third in the pole vault. John Martin ’16 and Nolan Raimo ’16 each took eighth place in the triple jump and the long jump, respectively. Martin jumped 12.45 meters, while Raimo jumped 6.42 meters. Chris Sheahan ’13 competed well in the shot put, earning 12th place with a toss of 12.60 meters.
Williams also fielded a number of strong relays squads. In the distance medley relay, the coaches put together two even teams to race each other. The ‘A’ squad took ninth in 10:35, while the ‘B’ team took 11th in 10:45. The Ephs also sealed up seventh in the 4×800 meter relay, with a time of 8:03.58. The 4×400 team closed out the meet, racing to a time of 3:32.10.
“I thought that as a team we stepped up and performed well against primarily Div. I competition,” Rodilitz said. “Almost everyone had great season openers and this meet sets a great tone for our winter campaign. It was clear everyone worked hard during the holidays and [was] ready to pick up where we left off at the end of the first semester. We hadn’t missed a beat since leaving on break.”
Up next, the team will travel to Harvard this Saturday to take on five squads, including rival MIT. Events begin at 12 p.m. As championship season draws near, Williams aims to sustain the high effort and team spirit that sparked the team at Yale. “These early season meets are just the blocks upon which qualifiers and championship performances will be built,” Rodilitz said.