Men’s track sends four to Nationals

March 9, 2016 by Jahangir Habib, Sports Writer

For the final meet before the NCAA Championships, men’s track and field sent a handful of athletes to compete at the Tufts Final Qualifying Meet last Friday. Most of the athletes were looking to secure a spot at the NCAAs by finishing in the top 15 national marks in their respective events.

First on the track was the distance medley relay (DMR) team. Kyle Kistinger ’16 led off and ended up pressing on without one of his shoes for half of his relay leg. Manny Daring ’16, Steve Yannacone ’17 and Todd Ford ’16 fought hard to try to keep the race close and finished the relay in 10:11.92.

“The [distance medley relay team] all came off strong individual performances and wanted to run a relay to take a shot at a national qualifying time,” co-captain Katakyie Ofori-Atta said. “Every one had a solid race day. They ran the fastest Williams DMR time in the last two years.”

Ben Decker ’18 was the sole competitor for the Ephs in the 5k. The race went out fast, and Decker stayed with the leaders through the first mile. He lost contact with the lead pack shortly after but still finished with a respectable time of 15:08.72.

In the mile, Alex Cowen ’18 gave a solid effort and moved very strongly through his first 600 meters. He held on to his place and finished hard to come through the line in 4:23.23.

Griffin Colaizzi ’18 and Zeke Cohen ’19 represented the Ephs in the 3k. Colaizzi battled hard against a top-notch field looking to secure spots for NCAAs. He finished in a cluster of runners – including one from archrival Amherst that he held off at the end – in 8:36.41. Cohen, meanwhile, worked from the back and ran his own race despite the fact that this was the fastest race he has been in this season. Not to be deterred by running 10 seconds behind the leaders at the 800 meter mark, Cohen ran consistent splits through the race and set a new personal best in 8:56.66.

Pole vaulter Pierceson Brown ’18 was the only field competitor for the Ephs on Friday. He finished with a mark of 4.41 meters and just missed setting a new personal best at the 4.56 meter bar.

On March 2, co-captain Bijan Mazaheri ’17 was named the ECAC New England Div. III Athlete of the Week. He earned this award as he broke his second indoor school record of the season by winning the 3k at the All-New Englands Track & Field Championships at Boston University (BU) last weekend. Mazaheri clipped over four seconds off the Williams record that had stood for 21 years by finishing in 8:14.02. Mazaheri beat seven Div. I runners in his race.

The previous Williams 3k best was 8:18.16 by Marzuki Stevens ’96 in 1995. Mazaheri’s time is currently the fourth fastest run this winter season for Div. III.

On Feb. 13, Mazaheri broke the Eph indoor 5k record running at BU when he was timed in 14:11.49, establishing the fastest 5k Div. III time of the season.

The final rosters for NCAAs were set on March 7. Ofori-Atta, Colin Cotton, and Mazaheri have all competed for the Ephs in the past at an NCAA Championship event, but this year Peter Hale ’17will join them.

Ofori-Atta will copmete in the 60-meter dash, an event at which he holds the school record with a time of 6.88 seconds. Mazaheri will compete in both the 3k and the 5k after establishing school records in both events this winter. Hale will join Mazaheri in the 3k and Cotton will join Mazaheri in the 5k.

The meet will take place this week in Grinnell, Iowa starting tonight until Saturday.

[QUOTE – REED]

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