WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Amherst College will host the 2016 NESCAC Track & Field Championships on Saturday, April 30 at Pratt Field. The discus and the long jump will kickoff the men's competition at 9:00 a.m.
At the 2015 Championships, the Tufts men's team successfully defended their championship title. The Jumbo men edged Williams, 169.33-164, to capture their third consecutive trophy.
The Bates men finished comfortably in third place with 109.5 points. Middlebury, Bowdoin and Wesleyan were only separated by three points, as the Panthers tallied 73 points, the Polar Bears registered 72 points and the Cardinals recorded 70 points.
First year Eph head coach Ethan Barron will be out to extend his personal streak of NESCAC championships to four as he was the head coach at Tufts when the Jumbos captured the last three NESCAC titles.
"I'm in a pretty unique spot this year," noted Barron. "I have an incredible amount of knowledge and respect for both sides of this NESCAC battle. Right now, it does look like a two-team battle between Tufts and Williams, but Middlebury is definitely putting a lot on the line as well."
"Tufts is definitely the strong favorite as three-time champions and the deepest team in the conference easily gives them the edge," added Barron. "That being said, this squad has done everything they've needed to do up until this point. They've battled to put themselves in the right heats and flights. We're in the right races and now we just have to go out and battle one more time."
Overall Williams leads with 21 NESCAC championships, but the Ephs have not won since 2011. Tufts has won five NESCAC titles, while Bates and Trinity have each won two, and Colby has won one.
Of the returning event champions, only Tufts senior Mitchell Black has won an event twice as he is the two-time defending champion in the 800 meters and enters the weekend with the top time in Division III.
The men's 400-meter dash features the last two winners of the event as the top two seeds. Colby junior Brian Sommers and Middlebury junior Alex Nichols crossed the finish line first in 2014 and 2013, respectively, and are seeded first and second.
The men's 110-meter hurdles look to be one of the most competitive events of the day. A new champion will emerge from sophomore Michael Pallozzi (Sewell, N.J.) of Middlebury, first-year Joseph Staudt of Bowdoin and senior Nolan Raimo of Williams, who are separated by less than two-tenths of a second. Raimo is also the top seed in the 400-meter hurdles ahead of defending champion and sophomore teammate Conor Dunham.
The top three sprinters in the men's 200-meter dashes are only separated by a fraction of a second as well. Trinity first-year Alex Tomcho has turned in the fastest time just ahead of first-year Jimmy Martinez of Middlebury. Tomcho also holds the second-best time in the 100-meter dash behind Williams senior Katakyie Ofori-Atta (Accra, Ghana), while Martinez is seeded third in the 400-meter dash. Williams aims to win its third consecutive title in the 4x100-meter relay after recording the best time in the event. The Amherst men are seeded first in the 4x800-meter relay.
The Ephs' Todd Ford who has the 13th fastest 1500m time this spring (3:49.97) could be paired against Tufts' Mitchell Black who has run a 3:50.90. In the 5000m Eph senior captain Bijan Mazaheri will enter as the top seed with a time of 14:22.59, which currently ranks him ninth nationally. Mazaheri will also be the top seed in the 10,000m as he boasts the third fastest time nationally in NCAA DIII - 29:40.46.