WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Ethan Barron's first NCAA Championships experience as the head coach of the Williams men's track & field team will be at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships being hosted by Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa March 9-12.
Last winter the Ephs sent three athletes and Williams scored three points to finish 55th.
Three seniors and a junior make up the Eph quartet competing at this year's championships. All three seniors, Kat Ofori-Atta, Colin Cotton and Bijan Mazaheri have competed for the Ephs in the past at an NCAA Championship event, but junior Peter Hale is making his first trip to an NCAA Championship in track & field meet.
Three Ephs will compete in distance running events and one will compete in the 60-meter dash.
Kat Ofori Atta will represent the Ephs in the 60-meter dash. Ofori-Atta is a two-time New England 60-meter champion and holds the Eph record at 6.88. He is making his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships. "Kat came into this season with something to prove," noted Barron. "He understands how this sport can be decided by fractions of seconds. As a result, the little things have become the big things. He's focused on his craft and made himself an incredibly consistent racer. He's built himself for these championship meets and should be fun to watch this coming weekend."
Senior Bijan Mazaheri will compete in both the 3K and the 5k after establishing Williams' school records at both distances this winter.
"Bijan has demonstrated some incredible consistency over the course of the entire year," said Barron. "He's performed at an elite level in nearly every race. He has a versatile skill set as a racer with both the ability to lead races as well as kick. He's worked hard to expand his capabilities and it's great to see that effort and grit start to pay off for him."
Running with Mazaheri in the 3K will be junior Peter Hale. Hale also broke the previous 3K Eph Indoor best running at Boston University in the same race that Mazaheri posted his winning and record time of 18:04.02. Hale finished in 8:14.21.
"Peter has diligently pushed himself into a new level this winter," stated Barron. "He's brought a focus and dedication to every aspect of his training - work and recovery alike. He's steadily improved with each effort and has demonstrated the ability to close out races."
Colin Cotton will run with Mazaheri in the 5k. Cotton owns the fastest time this season in NCAA Division III in the 5K, notching a 14:17.66 in the Smith Winter Classic. Mazaheri has the second fastest time of the season (according to adjustments made by the NCAA), which has adjusted his Eph record time of 14:11.49 at Boston University's banked track to 14:20.60. Williams' school records are based on time run, not whether the track is banked or flat.
"Colin has battled to put himself in this position," Barron commented. "He's quietly become an incredibly team-first competitor helping bring along teammates and suit up whenever the team needs him. He is a veteran racer with numerous national championship experiences under his belt. Colin is well prepared to tackle this 5k on Friday."