Men’s track and field upsets Tufts, earns second straight NESCAC title

Men’s track and field edged Tufts by 11 points to win the NESCAC Championship on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s track and field upset No. 10 Tufts last Saturday to win the NESCAC Championship for the second year in a row. Going into the meet against a formidable opponent in the Jumbos, the Ephs needed a strong team effort to defend their title.

In Brunswick, Maine, James Heinl ’19 and co-captain Chris Lyons ’17 started the day with a bang in the hammer throw. Heinl and Lyons smashed their personal bests, finishing in fouth and fifth with marks of 49.99 meters and 48.66 meters, respectively.

In the 10k, Noah Williams ’17, Ben Decker ’18 and Zachary Dulabon ’18 propelled the Ephs to an early lead. Williams and Decker led the chase pack for much of the race, finishing in third and fourth with personal bests of 31:07.40 and 31:08.12, respectively, before Dulabon finished eighth in 31:44.22. 

Jacob Kahrs ’19, Zeke Cohen ’19, Kenneth Marshall ’20 and William McGovern ’20 then competed in the 3000m steeplechase. Working as a pack in the last third of the race, Kahrs, Cohen, and Marshall fed off of each other’s energy to all score points, finishing in fourth, fifth and seventh, with personal bests of 9:32.37, 9:35.85 and 9:37.32, respectively. McGovern finished 15th with his own personal best of 9:57.54. Even though a Jumbo won the event, the Ephs increased their lead. 

The Ephs maintained the pressure on the field. In the high jump, Ian Outhwaite ’17 matched his personal best of 1.98 meters to finish second, capping a successful return from a career-threatening injury. Ian Kagame ’19 had a strong showing as well, jumping a season-best 1.88 meters to finish fourth. In the pole vault, Pierceson Brown ’18 cleared 4.40 meters to finish third. 

In the 4×100, the Ephs’ new lineup competed well. The team of Amyhr Barber ’19, Jeremy Thaller ’19, Tom Riley ’18 and Dysron Marshall ’20 finished sixth overall in 43.02. 

In the 1500m, co-captain David Folsom ’17 set a fast early pace, working with co-captain Peter Hale ’17. Hale took over in the second half, and the duo finished first and second in 3:50.34 and 3:50.69, respectively. 

Christian Holway ’19 won the long jump, missing his personal best of 6.94 meters by a centimeter. Just behind him was co-captain Tobias Muellers ’18, who finished second with a mark of 6.82 meters. In seventh, Riley jumped 6.48 meters. 

In the javelin, Ian Mook ’18 threw 51.90 meters to finish sixth. In the 110m hurdles, Riley finished seventh in a personal-best 15.48. Muellers, who would contest five separate events on the day, finished second in the 400m with a personal best of 48.46. 

Despite these performances, Tufts clawed away at the Williams lead with fine performances in the 100m, 400m and 400m hurdles. 

The Ephs rebounded in the shot put, as Magnus Herweyer ’20 won the event with a mark of 15.90 meters. Lyons followed in fourth with 14.39 meters. Liam Pembroke ’18 snagged a point by finishing eighth with a mark of 13.56 meters. 

In the 800m, co-captain Steve Yannacone ’17 beat his seed, finishing seventh in a season-best 1:54.85. In the 200m, an event where Tufts had been favored on paper, the men managed to cut the deficit, as Muellers finished seventh in 22.23. 

Herweyer finished second in the discus with a mark of 45.73 meters. Heading into the last four events – 5k, triple jump, 4×400 and 4×800 – the Ephs led the Jumbos by one point. 

Hale returned to compete in the 5k, joined by Austin Anderson ’19 and Mitch Morris ’19. The race went out at a slow pace before Hale took command, stretching out the field to win his second title. He finished in 14:51.23. Anderson ran the race of his life, challenging Hale in the final lap before ultimately finishing third in 14:54.77.

In the triple jump, Holway shook off a twisted ankle to jump 14.28 meters for second. Heading into the relays, the Ephs had a five-point lead. In the 4×400, the relay of Marshall, Kevin LaFleche ’20, Yannacone and Muellers had a consummate performance. The Ephs moved up each exchange, and Muellers finished his day strong, splitting a 47 to anchor the team to a second-place finish in 3:20.12. 

In the 4×800, the Ephs sealed the deal. Nick Gannon ’20, Lucas Estrada ’19, Tristan Colaizzi ’20 and Folsom continually moving up through the pack. Colaizzi handed the baton off to Folsom with a slight lead, and Folsom brought the meet to a close, anchoring the team to victory in 7:44.69. 

The men finished with 175 points to Tufts’ 164. Host Bowdoin was third with 110 points. 

“We had nearly 40 points to make up on Tufts from the indoor season, and that wasn’t going to come via one or two athletes,” Head Coach Ethan Barron  said. “In a number of events, we put three or four Ephs up against an All-American Jumbo and came out on top. 

“Every guy who scrapped for one extra place here and there – it added up. I’ve been to 20 NESCAC championships, and I’ve never seen a NESCAC meet that neck-and-neck. We did a great job focusing on our own execution and not worrying about the competition.We ended up coming out ahead because there’s strength in numbers. It seemed that as the meet went on throughout the day, the energy and intensity continued to rise.

“The magnitude of the events became motivating for us. That happens when you’re able to stay myopically focused on your own purpose and block out the distractions of the competition. This team embodied that beautifully on Saturday,” Barron said.

The Ephs will return to competition tomorrow as they host Div. III New England Regionals on Lee Track. The meet will continue through Saturday and Sunday.