Men’s track sends top qualifiers to Nationals

A week after a strong showing at Div. III New England’s, men’s track and field sent some of its best athletes to compete against the rest of the region at the NEICAAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at Boston University. This significantly more competitive meet featured the best athletes from across all NCAA divisions. and provided a great level of competition for those who participated in the meet.

Youle Chen ’17 was the only field competitor for the Ephs. He finished in a tie for fifth overall with a 1.99-meter jump, placing behind Steven Vazquez of Rhode Island College and Jack Kahrs of the University of Rhode Island, who each had 2.14-meter jumps, Matthew Jeune of the University of New Haven with a 2.09-meter jump and Tylor Hart of the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a 2.04-meter jump at the championship meet.

Head Coach David Thompson was content with Chen’s performance this weekend and said, “Youle was competing in hopes of improving his mark to earn a trip to the NCAA meet in two weeks,” he explained. “I thought Youle did well considering he had some difficulty getting a consistent approach. There was no pressure in a meet like this – no team championship on the line. This was a meet where he was looking to achieve individual goals.”

In the running events, Tobias Muellers ’18 had another strong showing this week, running the 400 meter in 50.08 seconds, placing 22nd in a field of 29 racers.  Kebba Nasso of URI ultimately won the event in the finals with a time of 47.84 seconds.

The only other individual competitor for Williams was Peter Hale ’17, who just missed scoring by finishing ninth in the 3000 meter with a new personal best of 8:29.05. Stephen Sollowin of Northeastern came out on top, finishing with a time of 8:19.64 and adding 10 points to his team’s meet score.

The Ephs also entered a relay team into the 4×800 meter. The team of Luke Hinz ’17, Justin LeAndre ’18, Matthew Tarduno ’16 and Lucas Elek ’17 finished in a season-best time of 7:48.91. The relay team came in 13th out of the 19 competing schools. A URI team consisting of John DiGangi, Alexander McGrainer,  Kevin Lochard and Zach Campo came out on top with a time of 7:35.63. A team from University of Vermont came in second with a time of 7:36.20 and Northeastern with a time of 7:37.57.

Although the Ephs only entered a small contingent of racers into the championships, the team was very impressed with the collective results.

“A lot of our guys were taking this weekend off, resting after last weekend’s Div. IIIs and gearing up for next weekend’s Last Chance Meet at Tufts,” co-captain Aldis Inde ’15 said. “The guys who did compete had some strong performances, especially Peter Hale with a big PR in the 3k. The guys in the 4×800 all had some of their best performances so far this season, so that combined for a solid time as well.”

Thompson has decided not to send any athletes to the ECAC Championships at the Armory in New York City this upcoming weekend. Some athletes will be competing at the Tufts Last Chance Meet in an effort to improve their NCAA Div. III Championship seeding, and the rest of the team is done competing until the outdoor track season begins. The NCAA Championships will take place March 13th-14th. The team will compete for the first time outdoors at the Point Loma Invitational in San Diego, Calif.  on March 28 before then racing at the UC San Diego Invitational on April 4.