Men's Track and Field Opens the Season at Point Loma Invitational

(Front) Will McGovern '20 and  Peter Kirgis '20
(Front) Will McGovern '20 and Peter Kirgis '20


San Diego, CA—the men's track and field team kicked off the outdoor season this weekend at the UC Riverside Multi Invitational and the Point Loma Nazarene University Invitational. Co-captain decathletes Tobias Muellers '18 and Tommy Riley '18 competed at UC Riverside on Thursday and Friday, while the rest of the team competed at Point Loma on Saturday. These meets served as an opportunity for athletes to hit qualifying marks for later championship meets, or otherwise practice off-events as preparation for the rest of the season.

In the decathlon at UC Riverside, Muellers and Riley competed against DI and DII competition in surprisingly adverse conditions for southern California. In the first event of the decathlon, the 100 meter dash, Muellers finished 4th in 11.30, while Riley finished 6th in 11.34. In the next event, the long jump, Muellers had a great mark of 6.65m, good for 3rd overall. In an attempt to protect a fragile ankle, Riley jumped off of his off leg, still leaping 6.17m, 13th overall. In the shot put, it was Riley's time to shine, putting the shot a personal best 11.67m, for 3rd. Muellers managed a solid 10.97m, for 9th. In the high jump, neither of the Ephs' best events, Riley still managed to clear the bar at 1.77m for 11th overall, while Muellers cleared 1.71m, 15th. Finishing day one of the decathlon in the 400, Muellers won the event in 49.26 seconds, while Riley was 5th in 52.46.

Riley started day two of the decathlon well, finishing 4th in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.54. Muellers was close behind in 15.67, good for 7th. In the discus throw, Riley continued the momentum with a 3 meter personal best, throwing the discus 36.39m for 4th. Muellers threw the discus a solid 33.84m, good for 10th. Riley notched yet another personal best in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 4.00m for 10th, while Muellers had a rare off performance, clearing the bar at 3.70m for 16th. In the javelin, though, Muellers came back strong, throwing the javelin 52.43m for 3rd. Riley threw his javelin 46.53m, good for 6th. In the last event of the decathlon, the 1500m run, Muellers showed his impressive endurance, running a time of 4:32.68 for 2nd overall. Riley ran a solid time of 5:08.02 for 12th. Muellers finished the decathlon with 6670 points, in 4th place. Riley finished with 6348 points, in 8th. Muellers' performance was 123 points better than at this meet last year—a performance which last year placed Muellers 5th on the national qualifying list. Riley, meanwhile, finished just off of his personal best of 6371, which he scored at the 2017 Division III New England Championship, qualifying for nationals with the last spot, 20th. While Riley may need to compete in another decathlon, Muellers looks safely qualified for nationals.

After strong showings by two of their captains, the rest of the Ephs were excited to compete well on Saturday. In the high jump, Ian Kagame '19 cleared 1.88m, good for 2nd overall. In the javelin throw, co-captain Ian Mook '18 threw 50.06m for 4th place, while first-year Dan Renwick '20 had a great debut, throwing the javelin 49.69m for 5th. Mook would return later in the day in the 400 hurdles, running a personal best of 56.15 seconds. In the hammer throw, James Heinl '19 started the season with a strong performance, finishing 3rd with a mark of 47.58m. Liam Pembroke '18 was close behind with a 3 meter personal best, throwing the hammer 43.63m for 6th. In the shot put, Pembroke had another good performance, finishing 5th with a mark of 13.32, just behind his teammate Lloyd Campbell '18, who put the shot 13.44m. Pembroke returned in the discus, finishing 6th with a mark of 38.21m, with Renwick 9th with 36.83m.

On the track, the Ephs also had great performances. In the 1500, three Ephs ran under 4 minutes. Peter Kirgis '20 and Tristan Colaizzi '20, fresh off a nationals appearance as relay teammates in the distance medley relay, faced off for the first time ever in a track race, finishing neck and neck in 3:58.23 and 3:58.27 for 8th and 9th respectively. Liam Simpson '18, who had also recently raced at nationals, came off a slight injury with a solid 3:58.57 performance from the second heat, good for 12th.

In the 400 meter dash, Cole O'Flaherty '21 made a successful return from injury, notching a new personal best of 49.07, good for 4th. Elliott Fong '19 finished 9th in 50.64. In the 100, Jeremy Thaller '19 ran 11.11, for 11th. Along with Trent Hall '20, who ran an 11.20 himself in the 100, Thaller competed in the 200 meter dash later in the day, running 22.74 for 18th. Hall finished in 19th in 22.81.

In the 5000, which was won by Eph Alum Bijan Mazaheri '16 in 14:22, a number of Ephs had good races. The sophomore duo of Will McGovern and Ryan Cox '20 worked well together to break the 15-minute barrier, finishing 4th and 5th in 14:57.22 and 14:58.64, respectively. Both are more naturally suited for 10000 meters, so their sub-15 clockings bode very well for future championship 10000s. Behind them, Mitch Morris '19, Lucas Estrada '20, and Ben Hearon '20 each had good races, running 15:09.59, 15:20.76, and 15:25.40 for 8th, 11th, and 14th respectively.

Finishing the day in the 4x400, the team of O'Flaherty, Fong, Colaizzi, and Kevin LaFleche '20 ran a good early season time of 3:24.53 for 5th overall.

The Ephs will continue training well in California. They will return to competition next weekend at the California Collegiate Invitational at UCSD.