Princeton, NJ – On a perfect Friday night at Princeton University, two of the best athletes from the Williams track and field team left it all on the track for two record breaking performances. The Larry Ellis Invite brings athletes that both are and are no longer in college together and the Eph coaching staff was confident that Aldis Inde '15 (Edina, MN) and Bijan Mazaheri '16 (Wellesley, MA) would perform extremely well in the fast field. Needless to say, Inde and Mazaheri proved them right, further establishing themselves as two of the best athletes Williams has ever had.
Inde was first up in the 5000m. He was in a heat with 29 other athletes, including Division I athletes, track club athletes, and even some unattached athletes. Assistant coach Colin Young admitted that Inde was not initially going to be in the fastest heat, but he was able to secure Inde's spot after making a strong case to the Princeton coaching staff. Inde certainly proved he belonged in the fastest heat. Coming through the 2000m mark, Inde was sitting right in a large group of runners and came through in 5:43, just about 14:20 pace. About 3200m into the race, he was sitting tight in the middle of the field at 9:14. The pace sagged a little after that point until the finish, but Inde still managed to kick in his last two 400s and last 200 in 69, 67, and 31 seconds, respectively, to finish in 14:22.11. His record time replaces that of Paul Alsdorf, who ran 14:22.27 in 1999.
"We were lucky to get Aldis into the fast heat," coach Young explained, "and Aldis was very patient in going out near the back. He moved up consistently as the race went on and was smart not to move with the guys trying to run 14 minutes flat." Young believes that Inde will have a good chance at qualifying for the NCAA Division III National Championships with his current mark, a 15-second personal best.
Mazaheri took to the track at 10:00pm to race the 10000m. The field of 15 runners included distance runners from Princeton and Navy who were likely looking to qualify for Division I regional meets of their own. Mazaheri took full advantage of the great weather and lack of wind. He went out right behind the leaders and stayed comfortable, feeling out a pace of about 72-74 seconds per lap. He never had to take the lead and stayed right with the two leaders from Princeton. Every 2000m was faster than the last, and he closed in a 4:37 mile and 65 second last lap, for a final time of 29:39.27. His time sits just outside the top 10 times in Division III history, which rounds out at 29:30.22. Mazaheri is only a junior, and it will continue to be incredibly exciting to see how he races for the next year.
"Bijan should be extremely confident," coach Young proudly said. "Come nationals, he will be tough to beat. Tonight was perfect weather, perfect competition, and Bijan raced perfectly." Mazaheri will certainly qualify for the NCAA Championships in the 10000m and may look to also try and qualify in the 5000m.
Coach Young and the rest of the team have seen how Inde and Mazaheri developed into the great athletes they have become. "Those guys have been putting in the work, not just this season, but for 4 and 3 years for Aldis and Bijan, respectively. It's great to see that work pay off and it inspires the whole team. We'll be looking towards them to pull everyone up at NESCACs and to bring some more guys to the national meet."
NESCACs are on Saturday, April 25th, and will be hosted at Williams.