Men’s track and field sprints to seventh

March 2, 2016 by Jahangir Habib, Sports Writer

In their return to the fast banked track at Boston University, the men’s track and field secured a seventh place finish at the All New Englands Championships. The Ephs were paced by strong performances and personal bests from several runners and continued to improve as they move towards the NCAA Championships.

Co-captain Nolan Raimo ’16 wasted no time on the first day of competition, flying out to a fast start and breaking his own school record in the 60-meter hurdles, which he had set in his previous meet. Raimo executed every step with precision and advanced to the semifinal with a time of 8.32 seconds. Raimo finished competing with a semifinal mark of 8.43 seconds, turning in two excellent races.

Co-captain Katakyie Ofori-Atta ’16 raced out to a 6.99 second finish in the 60 meter and qualified for the semifinal. Ofori-Atta advanced to the final in the 60 meter and finished fifth overall in 6.94 seconds, showing improvement in all three races.

Manny Daring ’16 also competed on the first day, running his preliminary 400 meter in a season best time of 48.80 seconds. This was the first meet of the year where he had to run a preliminary and a final in the 400 meter, but he was not deterred by the extra race. Daring came back on the second day shooting an even better time. With 150 meters to go in the final, Daring had himself in a great position and used every last ounce of energy to win fifth overall in 48.65 seconds, tying the school record with his performance.

Todd Ford ’16 was the lone competitor for the Ephs in the mile. Ford performed well in his heat and finished 20th overall (sixth in his heat) in a time of 4:17.78. The 3000 meter was a hotly contested race in which individual performers for the Ephs shined. They were lead by co-captain Bijan Mazaheri  ’16 and Peter Hale ’17, who entered with the mindset that they were going to punch their tickets to NCAAs. To qualify for NCAAs, a runner must finish in the top 15 in his event nationally. Griffin Colaizzi ’18 found himself towards the front early on, while Mazaheri and Hale found themselves towards the back of the pack. Colaizzi settled in a little as the race calmed, while Mazaheri and Hale went around to the front of the pack. Liam Simpson ’18 ran with his eye on Colaizzi as the race unfolded.

Hale fought off his competition to settle into fifth place about halfway through, while Colaizzi stayed a little further back. As the race began to near the finish and the lead pack eyed Mazaheri, Hale picked off every competitor besides Mazaheri, kicking to a second place finish. Mazaheri was the winner in 8:14.02, smashing the school record in the 3000 meter by over 4 seconds. Hale finished in 8:14.21, positioning him for a strong run in the postseason meets. Mazaheri and Hale’s times currently hold them fourth and fifth place seeds in the national standings, respectively.

Not to be left out of the pursuit for a spot at NCAAs, Colaizzi made his own stellar moves and picked off plenty of people as the race closed to take sixth overall in 8:20.02. His time is the fastest ever by an Eph sophomore and earned him 11th in the national seeding.

To conclude the Ephs’ performances, the 4×800 meter relay team of Alex Cowen ’18, Justin LeAndre ’18, Elliot Fong ’19  and Steve Yannacone ’17 gave it their all and brought home a seventh place finish.

“The level of focus and intention that this group competed with was fantastic,” Head Coach Ethan Barron said. “Each man went in with a purpose and willed themselves to a great performance.”

Next weekend, the Ephs will compete their final weekend before NCAAs at the ECAC Championships and the Tufts Last Chance Meet.

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