Bijan Mazaheri breaks Eph 3K Record; Previously Broke Eph 5K Record Earlier this Season at BU
Boston, MA – In their return to the fast banked track at Boston University, the Williams men's track and field team showcased some of the best times and efforts we have seen all season. The eight individuals plus one relay team who competed over the two day meet put up great performances all around and secured a 7th place finish at the All New Englands Championships.
Nolan Raimo '16 wasted no time this weekend, flying out to a fast start and breaking his own school record in the 60m hurdles that he set just last week. Raimo executed every step with precision and advanced to the semifinal with a time of 8.32 seconds. On the same day, Katakyie Ofori-Atta '16 raced out to a 6.99 second finish in the 60m dash and qualified for the semifinal.
Manny Daring '16 also competed on the first day, running his preliminary 400m in a season best time of 48.80 seconds. This was the first meet of the year where he had to run a preliminary and a final in the 400m, but he was not deterred by the extra race. He knew he had room for improvement, and using that knowledge with the confidence he gained from the fast prelim, Daring came back on the second day eyeing an even better time. With 150m to go in the final, Daring had himself in a great position and used every last ounce of energy to close at 5th overall in 48.65 seconds. He tied the school record with his performance, a feat his teammates know he has had his eye on since his freshman year.
Todd Ford '16 was the lone competitor for the Ephs in the mile. Ford took his heat out very well and finished 20th overall (6th in his heat) in a time of 4:17.78.
The 3000m was a hotly contested race that the Ephs shined in. They were lead by Bijan Mazaheri '16 and Peter Hale '17, who entered today with the mindset that today was the day to punch their ticket to NCAAs. To qualify for NCAAs, a runner must finish in the top 15 in his event nationally. The race went out aggressively, with some jostling for early position. Griffin Colaizzi '18 found himself towards the front early on while Mazaheri and Hale found themselves towards the back. Colaizzi settled in a little as the race calmed while Mazaheri and Hale went around to the front pack early on. Liam Simpson '18 ran with his eye on fellow sophomore Colaizzi as the race unfolded. Hale fought off runners to settle into 5th place about halfway through while Colaizzi stayed a little further back. As the race began to close and the lead pack eyed Mazaheri, it was Hale who picked off every last runner other than Mazaheri and kicked to a 2nd place finish. Mazaheri was the winner in 8:14.02, smashing the school record in the 3000m by over 4 seconds. Hale was the only runner within a few seconds of Mazaheri at the finish–he took 2nd overall in 8:14.21. Mazaheri and Hale's times currently hold them 4th and 5th place seeds in the national standings, respectively. Not to be left out of the pursuit of a spot at NCAAs, Colaizzi made his own stellar moves and picked off plenty of people as the race closed to take 6th overall in 8:20.02. His time is the fastest ever by a Williams sophomore and currently has him at 11th in the national seeding. Simpson stayed focused and hung on after coming through the mile where he wanted to be, finishing in 8:28.20.
Raimo and Ofori-Atta came back on day two to compete in their respective semifinals. Raimo finished competing with his semifinal mark of 8.43 seconds. Ofori-Atta would go on to the final in the 60m dash and finish 5th overall in 6.94 seconds. Over the course of all three races, Ofori-Atta ran a little bit faster. He made up for his relatively slow starts by closing fast, a promising sign for his 100m racing in the outdoor season.
To conclude the Ephs' performances, the 4x800m relay team of Alex Cowen '18, Justin LeAndre '18, Elliot Fong '19, and Steve Yannacone '16 gave it their all and brought home a 7th place finished. Anchored by Yannacone's 1:53 closing split, the relay team's balanced attack finished in 7:41.83 and narrowly edged out the relay team from rival Amherst.
"This meet was a testament to what an group of athletes can achieve when they set themselves to task," head coach Ethan Barron reflected. "Each Eph came to this meet with a purpose. Some were goals they set years ago, others only days ago. Regardless, the intention that our team competed with this weekend was palpable."
"Today, we crossed off some goals," coach Barron concluded. "The guys earned a good night's sleep, one we'll need because tomorrow brings some new goals."
Next weekend, the Ephs will compete their final weekend before NCAAs at the ECAC Championships and the Tufts Last Chance Meet.