Starting this Thursday, May 26th, the Williams men's track and field team will compete at the 2016 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The three day meet will be hosted by Wartburg University in Waverly, Iowa. The Ephs are sending 6 men in 7 events to the meet, including two who will experience their first national level collegiate meet.
Leading the return to NCAAs are seniors Katakyie Ofori-Atta and Bijan Mazaheri, who took home All-American honors in the indoor season earlier this year. Senior Todd Ford ran at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall and is running his first outdoor NCAA Track Championships. Steven Yannacone returns to the outdoor championships after an 11th place finish in the 800m last year. New to the national stage are senior Nolan Raimo and sophomore Tobias Muellers.
Last year, Williams finished in 12th with 19 points. 9 of those points came from Bijan Mazaheri's 5000m/10000m double. Mazaheri will be returning to both events this year with seed times of 14:22.59 (13th) and 29:40.46 (4th). The 5000m leading time of 14:07.89 was run by Josh Thorson of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The 10000m leading time of 28:38.63 was run by Ian LaMere of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Steve Yannacone is currently seeded at 11th in the 800m, making him the second highest seeded Eph behind Mazaheri (10000m). He is seeded with a time of 1:50.53. The national leader this year is Mitchell Black of Tufts University, who ran a 1:48.60 earlier this season.
Kat Ofori-Atta and Tobias Muellers are both seeded 15th in the 100m and decathlon, respectively. Ofori-Atta ran 10.65 seconds at the All New Englands meet on May 13th. The leading time in the 100m is 10.44 seconds, run by Anthony Simpson of Wesley. Muellers had his breakout in the decathlon at the All New Englands meet as well. His score of 6414 is the best Williams has had in at least the last 7 years. Ethan Schoen of Wisconsin-Stout has the top seed with 6932 points.
Todd Ford enters the 1500m seeded at 18th. He ran 3:49.97 earlier this season at the Larry Ellis Invite at Princeton. Charlie Marquardt of Haverford holds the leading time of 3:43.24.
Nolan Raimo is seeded 19th in the 400m hurdles. His time of 53.56 seconds was part of the superb day he had back at NESCACs. The national leader is Luke Campbell of Salisbury–he ran 51.24 seconds.
Eph head coach Ethan Barron remains laser focused going into the exciting weekend. "I'm not typically one to make predictions going into meets. They take your focus away from the things that you can actually control," he explained. "In this case, we have six athletes who have honed their skills over months and years. They are fierce competitors.""The goal is to be flying home to Williamstown free of regrets. And at this point, a full week away from competition, we have no way to define success beyond that," he concluded. "We're going to do everything in our power to assemble our best efforts possible. We'll take care of us. And then we'll see how the rest plays out."