Men’s track gets on the board at Nationals

Men’s track and field competed in the NCAA Div. III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. last weekend. The men finished the Championships with stellar performances from all three participating athletes. The championship is formatted so that in each race the top eight finishers score points for their team and return to their school with All-American status.

First up was Katakyie Ofori-Atta ’16 in the 60-meter dash prelims. From the prelims, only eight athletes would go on to advance to the final. Ofori-Atta flew out of the blocks but ended up ninth overall in 6.915 seconds, narrowly missing the eighth place time of 6.912 seconds.

Cobleskill’s Winston Lee would emerge as the event’s strongest performer, earning first place with a time of 6.73 seconds. Also placing in the top five for the 60-meter dash were David Paynotta from Wisconsin-River Falls, Bruce Gray from Greenville,  Gavin Colley from Widener and Victor Banjo from Wittenberg.

Next and last for the first day of competition for the Ephs was the 5000 meter. Bijan Mazaheri ’16 spent most of the race battling for position and running between the outside of lane one and lane two, but he powered through to take seventh overall in 14:35.75.

As a result, Mazaheri scored two points for Williams overall score and earned himself All-American status. The top finisher in the race was Travis Morrison from North Central with a time of 14:23.94. Patrick Jenkins from Wisconsin-Stout, Geno Arthur from Oberlin, Jake Campbell from St. Olaf and Ian LaMere from Wisconsin-Platteville rounded out the top five positions in the event.

On the final day of the NCAA Div. III Indoor Track & Field Championships, the men were represented in the 3000 meter. Co-captain Aldis Inde ’15 ran a hard fought race to finish eighth in 8:21.14. He earned All-American honors and also scored a point for Williams.

Overall, the Ephs came in 55th place against all  schools competing in the championship meet with three points, tied with Central College, Nazareth, Olivet and Benedictine (Ill.). Wisconsin-Eau Claire ultimately emerged as the NCAA Div. III Champions with 62 total points. Rounding out the top five were Wisconsin- La Crosse with 60 points,  Mount Union with 40 points, St. Olaf with 33 points and North Central  (Ill.) with 31 points in the meet.

With the indoor season now wrapped up, the men turn their attention towards competing in the outdoor track season. Some Ephs will be traveling to Southern California during spring break to compete at the Point Loma Invitational and the University of California at San Diego Invitational. The entire team will open the season back at home at the Dick Farley Invitational on April 11.

Heading into the outdoor season, the team looks fondly upon the work it accomplished on the indoor track. “It’s been a while since we’ve had an individual all-American at indoor nationals so to have two this year and to have Kat come within less than .01 seconds as well was awesome,” Inde said. “Our team executed well, keeping our composure with the added pressure of the national stage.”