Men’s track strides to personal records

Last weekend, men’s track set its goals for the finish line and aimed to qualify for Div. III Nationals at the the All-New England Championship at Westfield State. The men raced against competitors from Div. I, Div. II and Div. III, and took advantage of one of their last chances to earn some qualifying times for Nationals.

Todd Ford ’16, who raced the mile at Div. III Indoor Nationals earlier this year, had a breakout race in the 1500, finally conquering the four-minute barrier that he had been dancing around all season. Ford crossed the finish line with a huge nine-second personal record of 3:50.85. Ford placed fifth, and his time may qualify him for Nationals. Also running mid-distance were the 800-meter specialists consisting of co-captain Nick Wolf ’14, Steven Yannacone ’17 and Andrew Beaudoin ’15, who all continued their solid seasons in the event. Wolf was the first over the line for the team in 1:52.93. Yannacone was close behind in 1:53.48 and Beaudoin finished in 1:54.67. “The 800 runners ran solid times, each coming close to their personal best,” Head Coach David Thompson said.

Katakyie Ofori-Atta ’16 competed admirably in the 100 meter, winning the preliminaries in 10.94. However, he was forced to drop out of the final due to injury.

The distance trio of Bijan Mazaheri ’16, Aldis Inde ’15 and Colin Cotton ’17 raced around the oval once again after taking the week off from racing the previous weekend. All three men competed in the 5k and Mazaheri lead the pack, placing fifth overall with a time of 14:39. Inde placed eighth with a time of 14:42 and Cotton was on his heels to finish in 14:44 for ninth place. Peter Hale ’17 continued his consistent campaign in the steeplechase with a time of 9:44.33.

In the relays, the squad of Wolf, co-captain Manny Daring ’15, Eric Schneider ’15 and Kevin Persons ’16 came together in the 4×400 to earn a season’s best time of 3:18.76. “All four legs ran really well,” Thompson said, highlighting the 49-second split run by Schneider, yet another complement to his amazing season.

Thompson was positive about the team’s performance this week. “This meet was an opportunity to continue to lower season best marks for some, and for others an opportunity to better their qualifying marks for NCAA [Div. III] Championships in two weeks. I thought we were able to do both. As the weather warms up, our performances continue to get faster.”

This weekend, the men will have their last chance to qualify for Nationals at the ECAC Championships held by RPI. The 4×400 team will be competing, along with Wolf, Yannacone, Beaudoin and Ford in their respective events.

At the conclusion of the season the men will graduate six seniors: Wolf, Richard Beaton ’14, Chris Cogswell ’14, Benjamin Fischberg ’14, Max Laberge ’14 and co-captain Chris Lee ’14. Both Lee and Wolf received All-NESCAC honors, along with 15 other Eph runners.