Men’s track slips to 4th at NESCACs

Men’s track and field came up short at the NESCAC Championship, earning fourth place with 108 points against its conference rivals. Tufts captured its first outright title since 1991 with 213 points, Bates took second with 166 points and Middlebury came in third with 140 points.

Stephen Simalchik ’13 pocketed his third NESCAC title in as many years, slinging the javelin 57.92 meters to outperform his competitors by nearly two meters.

Nolan Raimo ’16 nearly added another early victory in the long jump. In his first conference bout, Raimo put a scare into his competitors with a leap of 6.83 meters and finished second. John Martin ’16 tacked on more points in the triple jump, reaching a distance of 13.25 meters, which was good for sixth place.

In the 10,000 meter, Wade Davis ’13 made his rivals work for all 25 laps with a gutsy race plan. Davis ticked off even splits to hit 5000 meters at the front of the pack and nearly held on to his advantage over the second half of the race. Bates’ Ken Whitney collected his first NESCAC title in 31:06, with Davis close behind in 31:09. Davis earned his second-straight runner-up finish at the NESCAC meet and positioned himself in 42nd on the NCAA list. Bijan Mazaheri ’16 gamely fought off a challenge from Middlebury to take seventh place in 31:58.

Tri-captain Brandon Abasolo ’13 battled to sixth place in the steeplechase with a time of 9:23, while Steve Mendoza ’13 took 13th place in 9:58.

The team of Alex Deaderick ’15, Jared Nowell ’15, Kevin Persons ’16 and Raimo nudged closer to a Div. III Nationals qualifying time in the 4×100 relay, earning fourth place in 42.74.

Jabulani Blyden ’13 quickly made his mark in the 110-meter hurdles with a second-place finish and time of 14.83. Laye Samoura ’15 took third place in 14.96. Blyden jumped up the Div. III performance list to 15th, with Samoura just behind in 27th. Blyden returned in the 400 meter and added eight more points to the board with a time of 48.66. Emmanuel Daring ’15 sped under the 50-second barrier for a second straight meet in a fourth-place effort.

Nick Wolf ’14 sped through the first 200 meters to gain an early advantage in his heat of the 800 meter. Though Wolf eventually faded to second place, he established a strong qualifying time and can look forward to racing at Div. III New Englands this weekend. Wolf finished 10th overall in 1:55.74. Todd Ford ’16 won his heat with a time of 1:58.54 and took 18th place.

Blyden harnessed a late kick to edge tri-captain Chris Fogler ’13 in the 400-meter hurdles. The pair took first and second, respectively. Blyden’s time of 54.04 should make him the favorite going into New Englands, but Fogler will look to challenge as well after a time of 54.36.

Nowell and Persons excelled in the sprints, earning 10th and 12th places, respectively, in the 200 meter. Nowell finished in 22.55, with Persons just ahead in 22.46.

Chris Lee ’14 hung with the leaders for much of the men’s 5000 meter before fading to fifth in a stacked field. Lee finished in 14:51 and Aldis Inde ’15 took ninth in 15:01.

The 4×400 just missed its season best, falling to Tufts in a nail-biter. Fogler and Persons got the Ephs off to a roaring start, placing them just behind the Jumbos after two laps. Blyden accelerated dramatically on the backstretch to take the lead but handed the baton to Daring in a dead heat. Daring competed admirably against Tufts’ Graham Beutler, the individual 400-meter champion, but came up just short. The Ephs finished in a time of 3:18.32.

“It was a real barn-burner of a 4×400, with Daring dueling the Tufts star down the entire final straightaway,” Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said.

John Sutton ’15 provided the highlight of the distance medley relay with a determined 1:56.9 split in his 800-meter leg. Eric Schneider ’15 and Chris Cogswell ’14 both posted solid times in running the 400-meter and 1600-meter legs of the relay. Wolf, doubling back from his 800 meter, also helped the men best Wesleyan and Tufts with a time of 10:31, good for sixth place.

“We have a history of elevating ourselves to the next level and outperforming our seeds at the Div. III New England Championship,” Abasolo said. “Using this and the results of the NESCAC championship as motivation, we hope to recapture the outdoor New England title that eluded us last year.”

The Ephs travel to Colby next weekend for the Div. III New England Championships.

“The men are looking to take a big step forward at this week’s Div. III New England Championships, going for season’s bests, marks on the NCAA lists and some first class, and place, finishes,” Farwell said.