Cambridge, MA – The Ephs kicked off championship season in dramatic fashion, charging from behind in the projections to snag second place at the Division III New England Indoor Track and Field Championships. The team was propelled forward by a series of athletes stepping up and scoring despite not being seeded to do so. Eph head coach Ethan Barron's squad made a furious charge towards the end of the meet, and were held off by MIT in the closing events.
The final score was host MIT 138, Williams 132. Tufts took 3rd with 74 points.
Sophomore Tommy Riley was the first competitor for the Ephs. He traveled to Cambridge a day early to start competition in the heptathlon. Riley had an absolute standout performance across both days. He set a personal best in 6 of 7 events of the heptathlon, and the heptathlon itself, to blow his 9th seed score out of the water. He finished 2nd overall with 4474 points.
Riley is closing in on the heptathlon school record of 4498 set by Reid Pryzant in 2015.
Junior Chris Lyons did it again, outperforming his previous bests in both the weight throw and the shot put. Despite not being seeded to score in either event, Lyons came up big and snagged 4 points for the Ephs. He finished 8th in the shot put with a 14.05m mark, and 6th in the weight throw with a 15.71m mark.
Sophomore Connor Harris had a huge day in the long jump, beating his seed twice in the final two jumps. After fouling on his 4th jump, Harris flew on his 5th to a 6.77m finish to secure 3rd place. He was seeded 10th, and ended up scoring a crucial 6 points with his huge personal best.
Senior captain Nolan Raimo had a day for the record books. En route to a 5th place finish in the final, Raimo set a school record in the 60m hurdles. He very narrowly edged out a competitor from MIT to win his prelim in 8.34 seconds.
Sophomore Justin LeAndre stepped up today to secure a few points of his own. LeAndre won his 800m heat with a time of 1:56.67, a mark that would hold a scoring spot through the final and fastest heat. Also stepping up in a middle distance race today was fellow sophomore Alex Cowen, who crushed his 6th place seed and took 3rd in the 1000m with a 2.5 second personal best.
The distance medley relay team had the biggest jump of the day, greatly outperforming what most people might have expected. Racing in the slower of two heats, the team of freshman Lucas Estrada, sophomore Ian Mook, junior Luke Hinz, and senior Kyle Kistinger went from their 9th seed to finishing with the fastest time of the day, capturing 10 points in the closing events of the meet to keep it close. Their time won their heat by over 22 seconds, and held off the fastest time from the faster-seeded heat by a little over 2 seconds. Kistinger in particular had a standout performance, running a 4:18 1600m leg all by himself.
The veteran sprinter duo of Katakyie Ofori-Atta and Manny Daring excelled today as well, coming in as reliable scorers and leading the charge for the back half of the day. Ofori-Atta won the 60m dash in 6.91 seconds, just 0.03 seconds off his own school record, and took 2nd in the 200m in a similarly impressive 22.33 seconds. Daring ran the fastest flat-track time in the 400m in school history (49.97) to secure 3rd overall.
The Eph distance runners excelled on the day with senior Bijan Mazaheri winning the 3K and senior Colin Cotton taking first in the 5K. Mazaheri won in 8:26.33 and just behind him was junior Peter Hale, who was clocked in 8:26.72. Sophomore Liam Simpson was seventh in the riace finsihing in 8:34.37.
Cotton clocked a time of 14:55 to take first in the 5K and he was joined in the final eight by sophomore Griffin Colaizzi who was 5th (15:03.33) and sophomore Ben Decker in sixth (15:09.20). Senior Todd Ford ran 4:26.36 and captured second place in the mile off a big finishing kick.
On a day where almost every Eph outperformed his seed mark, coach Barron saw his team–centered approach as the catalyst for success. "A lot of people believe track & field to be an individual sport–we couldn't disagree more," he explained. "At a meet like this, we have 1 entry, Williams Track & Field. I was incredibly pleased with the team's focus and grit over a long two day meet. The energy level and support was on point from the first event to the last."
"Personally, I hope we don't myopically focus on the results of this meet," he concluded. "Yes, we got after it. Yes, we did well. But that was just the obvious outcome when a team invests in each other, when they give themselves permission to struggle and fail over and over again in order to improve. I hope we take less away from this singular day, and more from the months that led us up to this individual moment."
The Ephs will continue forward in their championship season next week at Boston University, where they will compete at the All New Englands meet.