Men’s track hits home stretch with 4th place at Div. III New Englands

A heavy dose of gutsy performances lifted men’s track and field to fourth place at the Div. III New England Championships with 60 points. In a down-to-the-wire finish, Bates captured its first title with 144 points. MIT walked away with the runner-up trophy and 143 points. Tufts, the NESCAC Champions, took third place with 71 points.

On Friday night, tri-captain Scott Rodilitz ’13 took on the region’s best in the 10,000 meter. Rodilitz out-leaned MIT’s Benjamin Xie to pocket third place and an All-New England certificate in 31:20. “Scott Rodilitz ran a true championship race of the huge ‘negative split’ variety,” Interim Co-Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73 said. “He patiently paced, made surges and forged a speedy kick to snare an excellent third-place finish for us.”

Stephen Simalchik ’13 took home a second-place finish in the javelin. The senior just missed his season best with a toss of 57.85 meters, but he still vanquished all of his NESCAC rivals. “Stephen Simalchik is a great team member, and it’s been wonderful to have him back as a clutch thrower for us,” Farwell said.

Nolan Raimo ’16 battled through a lower leg injury to take eighth place in the long jump. With a leap of 6.46 meters, he earned his first All-New England certificate. Thanks to his performance at NESCACs, Raimo can look forward to two more weeks of competition at ECACs and at All-New Englands. John Martin ’16 also made his New England debut and earned 12th place in the triple jump with a distance of 12.28 meters.

Back on the track, the 4×100 relay seized sixth place in a time of 42.75. Alex Deaderick ’15 and Jared Nowell ’15 ran their best races of the season and completed a smooth exchange to give the Ephs an early lead. The duo of Kevin Persons ’16 and Raimo brought home the baton safely to win the second heat and take sixth place overall.

Meanwhile, Johnny Hinojosa ’13 earned 12th place in the pole vault, reaching a height of 4.20 meters. Hinojosa qualified for both ECACs and All-New Englands over spring break, so he can take time to recover from an ankle sprain before looking for a Div. III NCAA mark.

Laye Samoura ’15 continued his steady improvement in the 110-meter hurdles. With his third-place performance in 14.86 seconds, Samoura sits in 22nd on the Div. III NCAA performance list.

Chris Lee ’14 and Brandon Abasolo ’13 established NCAA marks in the steeplechase, garnering third and fifth places, respectively. Lee sped away from the field at the halfway mark and nearly held on for the victory. He finished in 9:07, with Abasolo close behind in 9:12. “Although a novice in this event, Chris Lee jumped into the steeple Saturday like a veteran – hurdling expertly, navigating the water jumps and fearlessly taking the lead at points and kicking with the best of them,” Farwell said. “We were all excited to see his third-place finish, with our stalwart Brandon Abasolo close on his heels in fifth.”

Jabulani Blyden ’13 lost the 400 meter in heartbreaking fashion. In a photo finish, Blyden fell by .01 seconds with a time of 48.21 seconds. The silver lining for the senior was a season-best time and 19th position on the Div. III NCAA performance list. “Jabulani Blyden is a thrill to watch when he is in full flight, whether over hurdles or on the flat,” Farwell said.

John Sutton ’15 starred in the 800 meter, biding his time before unleashing a kick to finish in a personal record time of 1:56.61. Sutton has quietly established himself as the team’s premier 800 specialist and was the lone Eph to compete in the event.

The 400-meter hurdles saw tri-captain Chris Fogler ’13 seize fifth place in 54.08 seconds.

Bijan Mazaheri ’16, Aldis Inde ’15 and Wade Davis ’13 tallied more points in the 5000 meter. Inde used a late surge to take sixth place in 14:58, with Mazaheri in tow at 15:00. Mazaheri took eighth place in 15:00, while Davis captured earned ninth place in 15:04.

The 4×800 relay captured seventh place in 7:53 thanks to strong performances by Eric Schneider ’15 and Nick Wolf ’14. The quartet hopes to give the race another shot next weekend at All-New Englands. The 4×400 relay wrapped up the day for the Ephs with a second-place finish in 3:18.04. “The men’s 4×400 is our signature event, and this crew is following up on their stellar indoor season with an equally great outdoor campaign,” Farwell said. “We anticipate a big performance this weekend and next to vault them into the Nationals meet again.”

The Ephs will continue to look for Div. III NCAA qualifiers at the All-New Englands Championship hosted by Stonehill this Saturday. Much of the team concluded its season last weekend.

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