Williamstown, MA – This Saturday marks the start of a new track season for the Ephs, and the hard work they have been putting in during the offseason to get stronger and faster will soon show. Fired up from two very competitive track seasons last year, the Ephs will look to build on their previous successes under new leadership. New Williams College men's track and field head coach Ethan Barron joins the Ephs after a very successful 10 year term at Tufts University, where he coached 89 athletes who received national All-Academic Honors and 59 athletes who received All-American honors.
Even with the change in the coaching staff, Barron doesn't fear the adjustment for his athletes. "Admittedly, I've always felt that head coaches were a small piece of the puzzle," he explained. "Having gritty, dedicated athletes and caring, knowledgeable assistants, that's the key."
Last year, Williams took 3rd overall at the Division III New England Championships. Returning scorers from that meet are Katakyie Ofori-Atta (60m, 1st), Tobias Muellers (400m, 5th), Steven Yannacone (800m, 6th), Peter Hale (3000m, 7th), and Bijan Mazaheri (5000m, 1st). The Ephs also return several members of scoring 4x400m, 4x800m, and distance medley relay teams. To conclude last indoor season, the trio of Katakyie Ofori-Atta, Aldis Inde, and Bijan Mazaheri went to NCAAs. Inde and Mazaheri walked away with All-American honors, and Ofori-Atta was only 1/100th of a second off from doing so.
In the sprints, Katakyie Ofori-Atta '16 will lead the team after his 9th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year in the 60m dash. His personal best time of 6.88 seconds is also a school record. Ofori-Atta was also the top 200m runner on the team last year. Tobias Muellers '18 will return to the 400m after steadily progressing to break 50 seconds last year. Manny Daring '16 and Kevin Persons '16 will also be big parts of the equation for the Ephs.
The middle distance squad was arguably the deepest last year, and will return key members such as Steven Yannacone '17, Luke Hinz '17, John Sutton '16, Kyle Kistinger '16, and Todd Ford '16. Yannacone went to the Outdoor NCAA Track & Field Championships last season after running a personal best 1:50.60 in the 800m. Ford is the school record holder in the mile (4:09.80).
The distance runners will be led by Bijan Mazaheri '16 and Peter Hale '17. Mazaheri and Hale are coming off 3rd and 16th place finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, respectively. Mazaheri also took 7th overall at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year in the 5000m. Colin Cotton '16 will also be a factor for the distance squad. Cotton was injured last indoor season but returned for the outdoor season, where he took 7th in the outdoor 5000m at NCAAs.
The throws team, which has steadily been improving over the last two seasons, shows much promise. Their depth has been increasing and they did not graduate any of their top throwers. Liam Pembroke '18, Chris Lyons '17, and Lloyd Campbell '18 led the Ephs in the weight throw and shot put last indoor season. Pembroke and Campbell qualified for Division III New Englands last indoor season and placed 15th and 16th, respectively.
Over in the jumps, Ian Outhwaite '17 and Nolan Raimo '16 will lead the group after both having stellar outdoor seasons last year. Raimo returned to the long jump last season and captured a key 3rd place finish at NESCACs, and Outhwaite was a 13th and 8th place finisher in the high jump at Division III New Englands in the indoor and outdoor seasons, respectively.
Highlighting the hurdle squad this season is Conor Dunham '18. Dunham was a standout freshman in Division III New England last year and went to NCAAs in the outdoor track season.
Pierceson Brown '18 returns after a stellar first season of collegiate pole vault. Brown was the top finisher at Little 3s last indoor season and at NESCACs last outdoor season.
When asked about the first-years on the team, Barron stated "Only time will tell [how they will contribute]. There is a big difference between high school and collegiate track. We'll have to wait and see how they fully adjust to life at Williams before we can start to talk about anything relating to track and field."
"The question now is what type of team we want to be; better put, what type of team we want to build," Barron concluded. "I believe that if we can become a group that is willing to truly sacrifice for each other then we'll be a fun team to watch."
The Ephs will start the competition season on Saturday, December 5th at the Smith College Invitational. They will then go to winter break and resume competing at the Little 3 Championship on January 16th.