Waverly, IA – On day one of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the men's track and field team fought hard and showed guts by laying it all out on the line despite the changing meet schedule and tough weather conditions. Tobias Muellers, Todd Ford, Nolain Raimo, and Bijan Mazaheri all put on great efforts and kicked off NCAAs with a bang.
Tobias Muellers started things off for the Ephs in the decathlon. He started off well, running 11.55 seconds in the 100m dash (9th, 742 points) and jumping 6.54m in the long jump (11th, 707 points). While those marks are not his best, the entire field was slowed a little by the hot and humid climate. Muellers did shake off the slow start and came back to set a personal best in the shotput, throwing for 11.41m (10th, 571 points).
In between the decathlon events, Todd Ford contested the 1500m prelims. The style of the meet is the top four from each of two heats automatically advance, and the next four fastest times advance as well. The first heat went out quite fast and set the qualifying bar quite high. Ford ran in the second heat, and ran a very smart race. He went right to the back and let the race pull him along to start. When the race hit the 400m mark and the pace started to push, Ford looked very comfortable passing three runners on the turn, and another three on the back stretch. He moved comfortably into 4th and kicked his way into 3rd by the end, clocking 3:51.82. As a result of his top 4 finish, he will advance to the final.
Nolan Raimo wrapped up his collegiate career with one last 400m hurdles. He finished 16th overall in 54.70 seconds. Raimo was a big part of the heart and soul of the Williams College track and field team, and his presence will be missed in future years.
Tobias came back to compete in the last two decathlon events of the day during peak heat. He narrowly missed tying his high jump personal best of 1.81m, instead finishing at 1.78m (16th, 610 points). Muellers finished the day strong in the 400m, winning in 49.52 seconds and scoring 937 points. The time is the fastest 400 he has put up in a decathlon. At the end of day one, he sits in 8th with 3467 points.
To conclude the day for the Ephs, Bijan Mazaheri ran in the 10000m. The temperature called for many athletes dumping cups of water on their heads throughout the race. Bijan went out towards the front and stayed with the lead pack as it slowly thinned out. He remained calm as the top eight jostled for position, leading to one athlete falling down midway through the race. By the halfway point, Bijan and Tyler Shipley of Puget Sound seemed to be in a battle for 2nd and 3rd with Cole Decker of Central College not far behind. Mazaheri and Shipley traded the lead a few times, and on the last lap Mazaheri pushed as hard as he could to finish 4th in 30:58.62. He secured All-American honors for the second year in a row in the 10000m. He did not make it up to the podium after the race.
With day one wrapped up, the Ephs currently sit in 13th with 5 points. Day two will feature Tobias competing in day two of the decathlon, Steve Yannacone in the 800m, and Katakyie Ofori-Atta in the 100m.