Men’s track and field places second at Div. III New Englands

Co-captain David Folsom ’17 ran a 4:20.78 mile, finishing eighth. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Last weekend, men’s track and field competed at the Div. III New England Championship, hosted by Tufts. In a meet of the highest caliber athletes and teams in the area, Williams performed admirably, finishing second with 92 points. Tufts won the meet with 127 points, while MIT was third with 84 points.

The meet began on Friday, when Tom Riley ’18 and co-captain Tobias Muellers ’18 started the heptathlon, a two-day affair. Muellers broke his own school record, scoring 4890 points and easily pulling away from the rest of the field. Riley battled closely with an athlete from Tufts and an athlete from WPI before sealing a one-two finish for Williams with an exceptionally strong 1000 meter race.

Muellers, not satisfied with just seven events, returned shortly after to compete in the long jump along with Connor Harris ’18 and Christian Holway ’19. All three Ephs far outperformed their seeds. Harris jumped 6.96 meters, a new personal best, for third place. Just behind him in the standings was Holway, who notched his own personal best of 6.94 meters to get fourth place. And Muellers, not yet exhausted, jumped 6.66 meters for seventh place.

These results gave the Ephs the early lead, but while the men continued to perform well, other schools, notably Tufts, began to strike back. 

However, the Ephs were not deterred. Jeremy Thaller ’19 matched his personal best 60 meter dash time of 7.02 in a preliminary heat and came back with a time of 7.03, a consistent performance that was good enough for fifth overall. In the 1000 meter run, a duo of first-years, Nick Gannon ’20 and Kevin LaFleche ’20, fared strongly. Gannon made a strong mid-race push to get into scoring position while LaFleche waited until the final 300 meters to pounce and finished with a new personal best of 2:31.21 for seventh overall. On top of that, Gannon finished ninth in 2:32.90. In the mile, a race that featured numerous surges and lulls, co-captain David Folsom ’17 ran tactfully, finishing eighth overall in 4:20.78. In the pole vault, Pierceson Brown ’18 had a seasonal best of 4.55 meters and finished fourth overall.

Despite these performances, Williams dropped significantly in the standings and was in fifth heading into the 3000 meter, 5000 meter, shot put and relays. Leading the change of momentum was Sam Wischnewsky ’20, who ran a personal best of 8:46.22 in the 3000 meter, finishing fourth in his heat.

In the fast heat, co-captain Peter Hale ’17 continued his streak of dominant victories, pulling away from a national-caliber field after the first mile to finish in 8:17.37, the second fastest time in the nation this year and a new Div. III New England meet record. Hale has not lost a race this season.

In the 5000 meter, Noah Williams ’17 and Austin Anderson ’19 worked together and led the chase pack after two runners had separated from the rest. Their team tactics worked successfully, and they finished in third and fourth respectively with times of 14:59.01 and 15:03.34. Behind them, Mitchell Morris ’19 was in last place during the first mile but moved into position to strike and kicked hard over the final mile to finish in 15:10.45, good for seventh overall.

In the shot put, Magnus Herweyer ’20 continued the momentum, throwing a mark of 15.52 meters for second place.

During the relays, Williams was in a tight battle for second place with MIT. Despite having to compete from the slow heats in the distance medley relay and 4×800, a considerable disadvantage, the Ephs held their own. Chasing only the potential marks of a later heat, the distance medley team of Jacob Kahrs ’19, Justin LeAndre ’18, Luke Hinz ’17 and Peter Kirgis ’20 managed to beat every team from both heats, winning in a time of 10:21.66. In the 4×800, LaFleche, Alex Cowen ’18, Robert Delfield ’20 and Folsom ran a time of 7:59.36, finishing in fourth overall and sealing second place over MIT.

“Personally, it was one of the most exciting meets I’ve ever been to,” Folsom said. “The energy the guys on our team brought to the meet was awesome to watch. We had our eyes on first place, but ultimately all we wanted was for everyone to throw down their best performance.  We were thrilled to get out there and compete against teams we had been watching all season, and we came away with a second place plaque that we are very proud of.”

This Friday and Saturday, the men continue their season at the All New Englands, held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass.