Utilizing a diverse array of scoring options, men’s track and field captured second place at the UMass Minuteman Invitational last Saturday. The Ephs knocked off four Div. I and Div. II teams to finish with 101 points. Northeastern edged the men out, taking home first with 110.5 points.
Bijan Mazaheri ’16 raced first for the Ephs in the 10k run. Quickly jostling to the front of the pack, Mazaheri gamely held off his opponents for 23 laps before being overtaken with one to go. He still earned second place with a time of 32:08 that places him just outside the top 50 performance list nationally.
Next up, Steve Mendoza ’13 battled a strong group of challengers to finish fifth in the 3000 meter steeplechase in 10:19.40. Chris Lee ’14 raced the event for the first time and finish third in 9:51.99. Kyle Kistinger ’16 led the Ephs in the 1500 meter, coming back from an injury to finish 21st with a time of 4:09.12. Tommy Gaidus ’13 finished seconds behind in 4:13.37, while Daniel Siegel ’15 competed for the first time this year and finished in 4:17.46.
Jabulani Blyden ’13 and Laye Samoura ’15 starred in the hurdles. Samoura first took fifth place in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.35. Blyden bettered his teammate in the 400-meter hurdles, seizing second place in 54.04. Tri-captain Chris Fogler ’13 crossed the line next for the Ephs, finishing eighth in 57.44. Samoura finished 12th in 58.83.
In the jumps, Greg Payton ’14, Nolan Raimo ’16 and John Martin ’16 added to the Ephs’ point total. Payton, jumping for the first time, leaped to a height of 1.75 meters and narrowly missed scoring with a ninth-place finish. Raimo, competing in the long jump, launched himself 6.50 meters to earn fourth place. Martin did his teammate one better, taking third in the triple jump with a distance of 13.19 meters.
In the 400 meter, Blyden tussled with Emmanuel Daring ’15 and a strong heat of Div. I competition. Both athletes cruised around the first turn in the thick of the field. Central Connecticut’s Jamal Fruster opened up a gap midway through the backstretch, but Blyden never doubted his speed and quickly answered. Fruster narrowly edged Blyden, but the Eph managed a season-best time of 48.80 and captured second. He qualified for the ECACs, Div. III New Englands and All-New Englands in the process. Daring took seventh place with a time of 50.02.
John Sutton ’15 put on a show in the 800 meter. Sutton dropped six seconds to establish a new personal record of 1:56.67. Christopher Cogswell ’14 also bettered the two-minute mark for the first time this season with a time of 1:59.32.
Stephen Simalchik ’13 represented the Ephs in the throws with a toss of 54.06 meters, good for a fourth-place finish in the javelin throw. He tacked on another fourth-place finish in the hammer throw with a distance of 48.63 meters.
Jared Nowell ’15 and Daring continued the scoring efforts in the 200 meter. Daring edged his teammate at the line to finish fifth in 22.47. Nowell, unfazed by elite competition, earned seventh place with a personal best time of 22.65.
In the 5000 meter, Wade Davis ’13, Aldis Inde ’15 and tri-captains Scott Rodilitz ’13 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 piled on 23 points for the Ephs. Rodilitz and Abasolo stuck together for much of the race with Rodilitz finding a late gear to break the tape in 14:57. Abasolo tailed close behind in second with a time of 15:01. Davis earned sixth place in 15:12, while Inde seized seventh place in 15:17.
The 4×400 relay of Kevin Persons ’16, Fogler, Blyden and Daring returned to the track and took second place in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:18.10, ranking them 11th nationally.
“We had a day of some great breakthroughs, individually and [as a] team,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “Placing second in a strong, primarily Div. I competition puts us on course and ‘on the map’ for our upcoming championships.”
“It was quite a surprise that we were able to place second overall as a team amidst caliber Div. I and II [and III] competition, as that was a not goal coming into the meet,” Abasolo said. “Nevertheless, it speaks to both the depth and quality of athletes on this team. I hope it bodes well for the coming weeks as we face off against the best teams New England has to offer.”
The Ephs will host their first home meet in three years this weekend. This Saturday, racing for the last time on the old Weston Field track, the team will look to dispatch Amherst and Wesleyan for a 25th straight Little Three title.