Middlebury, VT—The men's track and field team notched another solid performance today, with several athletes qualifying for the Division III New England Championship and a host of athletes getting valuable competition experience. Although scoring highly in the meet itself was not the primary goal, the Ephs still acquitted themselves well, scoring 106 points to Middlebury's 175, finishing 2nd out of 10 schools.
The meet started on Friday, with co-captains Tobias Muellers '18 and Tom Riley '18, as well as first year Danny Renwick '21, competing in the heptathlon. For Renwick, this was his debut heptathlon, whereas Muellers and Riley have extensive championship experience. Over the course of Friday and into Saturday, the three were neck-and-neck at the top of the standings. In the 60-meter dash, Riley started the competition strongly, finishing 1st in 7.26 seconds to Renwick's 7.29 and Muellers' 7.37. In the next event, the long jump, the order of the top three was reversed, as Muellers leapt 6.50m, Renwick 6.37m, and Riley 6.23m. In the next event, the shot put, the order reverted to the original positions, as Riley threw an impressive 11.28m to Renwick's 11.06 and Muellers' 10.73. In the last event of the day, the high jump, it was Renwick's time to shine. The first-year cleared a school-record tying 2.08m on his first attempt, a full 18 centimeters above his closest competition. Riley cleared 1.81m, while Muellers cleared 1.78m.
At the start of the second day, the three continued their impressive performances. Renwick showed his versatility by winning the hepthatlon's 60-meter hurdles in 8.54 seconds, just ahead of Muellers' 8.79 seconds and Riley's 8.81 seconds. Renwick's time was just one hundredth of a second slower than the winning time in the open 60-meter hurdles. In the pole vault, however, Muellers showed his strength, clearing the bar at 4.30m, 50 centimeters above his closest competition. Riley cleared 3.20m, while Renwick cleared 3.00m in his second time ever contesting the pole vault. In the final event, the 1000 meter run, Muellers ran a strong 2:45.00, just ahead of Renwick's 2:47.56. Riley trailed the pack with a 3:19.51. Muellers' impressive performances over the course of the two days gave him the win with a school record 4906 points. Renwick was 2nd with 4876 points, a fantastic debut for the first-year. Riley was third with 4308 points. Muellers and Renwick's heptathlons place them 2nd and 4th in the national standings as of this writing, boding well for their chances to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
Although the heptathlon was perhaps the Ephs' most impressive event, this meet was a success across the board. As the heptathlon wrapped up on the track, field events were contested, including the men's high jump. There, Ian Kagame '19 finished 2nd, clearing the bar at 1.88m, the same height as the winner, although with one more attempt at that height before clearing it.
On the track, many Ephs had successful days. In the mile, Tristan Colaizzi '20 had a great return to competition after a brief setback. He finished 2nd with a 4:19.67, nearly stealing the win with a big kick. Ben Hearon '20 finished 4th in a season's best 4:26.01, while Isaac Goodman '20 was 6th in 4:27.83. In the 400, first-year Cole O'Flaherty '21 finished 3rd in a quick 50.08 seconds. He would return to finish second in the 200 in 22.61 seconds, in just his second time ever running the distance. In the 500, first-year Felix Biwott '21 finished 2nd with a 1:12.40 clocking. In the 800, Hearon returned to finish a convincing 5th, running 2:02.57. In the 1000, Kevin LaFleche '20 opened his season with an impressive 2:32.48 for 2nd overall. In the 5000, Will McGovern '20 ran a steady race, running consistent splits throughout to finish 2nd in 15:21.38. Closing out the day in the 4x400, a team of Karol Regula '21, Isaki Wada Law '21, Jackson Ennis '20, and Felix Biwott '21 finished 4th in 3:33.48 seconds.
Head Coach Ethan Barron was impressed with how the team performed, saying "I thought that in some ways this was the start of our season. I saw a more engaged, hungry, purposeful team. We've got two weeks leading up to championships. We still have a good amount of boxes to check off but we took a solid step forward today without a doubt."
Among boxes checked were first-time Division III New England qualifying marks by Muellers, Renwick, and Riley (heptathlon), Kagame (high jump), Colaizzi and Hearon (mile), LaFleche (1000), and McGovern (5000).
The Ephs will return to competition next Saturday, February 3, at the Tufts Cupid Challenge.