Hartford, CT—The men's track and field team competed hard today at the 2018 NESCAC Championship, coming in 2nd with 140 points. Middlebury won their first ever title with 172 points, while Tufts finished 3rd, with 137 points. While many Ephs will continue to compete this season for up to another month, this meet was the last opportunity for a nearly full squad to compete together.
Going into the meet, the athletes competing knew they would be in a tight team battle against Middlebury, Tufts, and Bowdoin. Every point might prove decisive. The Ephs got out to a hot start in the 10000. Co-captain Ben Decker '18 led for nearly the entire 25 lap race, grinding out a 30:30.00 clocking for the win. Zachary Dulabon '18 ran in his customarily tough manner, running the first 5k near Decker, holding on for a 31:15.22 6th place performance. Ryan Cox '20, meanwhile, took a more conservative approach, closing hard for a 31:18.30 7th place run. Next on the track, the 110 meter hurdles, Dan Renwick '21 and co-captain Tom Riley '18 each qualified for the finals. They would later finish 7th and 8th in 15.37 and 15.39. Jeremy Thaller '19 also qualified for the finals in the 100 meter dash, later finishing 5th in 10.95. In the 3000 steeplechase, the group of Peter Kirgis '20, Jacob Kahrs '19, Kenneth Marshall '20, and Jake Lange '20 put together one of the best performances of the meet. The group each ran personal bests by a combined 71 seconds. Kirgis performed the best, finishing 4th in 9:20.74. Kahrs and Marshall finished right behind in 5th and 6th in 9:22.59 and 9:22.73 Lange, meanwhile, cut over a minute off of his debut from two weeks ago, finishing 8th in 9:28.87.
Williams also started well in the field events. In the shot put, Liam Pembroke '18 finished 7th, putting the shot 13.60m. In the javelin, James Heinl '19 finished 2nd with a mark of 51.60, while co-captain Tobias Muellers '18 was 4th with a mark of 51.22m. Heinl returned for the hammer throw, finishing 6th with a mark of 47.29m. Muellers, meanwhile, returned shortly thereafter in the long jump, winning the event on the final jump with a mark of 6.90m. Riley was 6th, with a mark of 6.55m. These early events helped give Williams a small lead going into the officials' lunch break.
After the lunch break, the Ephs kept things going on the track. In the 4x100, a team of Karol Regula '21, Trent Hall '21, Riley, and Thaller finished 5th in 43.30 seconds. Tristan Colaizzi '20 turned out a fantastic performance in the 1500, closing hard for a 3rd place, 3:53.13 clocking. Lucas Estrada '20 was 5th in 3:55.02, while Ben Hearon '20 rounded out the scorers, finishing 8th in 3:57.32. Muellers returned to compete in the 400 meter dash, finishing 2nd in 48.22 seconds, while first-year Cole O'Flaharty broke the 49 second barrier for the first time, finishing in 48.91 seconds for 6th. After an impressive 800 performance from Kevin LaFleche, who kicked extremely hard to finish 2nd in the 800 in a national qualifying 1:51.10, the Ephs held a small lead going into the last third of the meet.
The Ephs continued to perform well, but Middlebury proved even stronger. In the pole vault, Pierceson Brown '18 cleared 4.55m to finish 5th, while Riley cleared a personal best 4.40m for 6th. In the 400 hurdles, co-captain Ian Mook ran a personal best 55.87 seconds, just out of scoring position. Muellers returned for his fourth event of the day in the 200, finishing 6th in 22.07. O'Flaherty returned as well, finishing 5th in 22.01 seconds. And in the high jump, Ian Kagame '19 and James Dunivan '19 each cleared 1.83m for 5th and 6th, respectively. Going into the last three events, the 5000, 4x400, and 4x800, the Ephs were down by close to 20 points, and were fighting to secure 2nd position with Tufts.
In those final events, Williams was strong, holding off Tufts to clinch 2nd place. In the 5000, Griffin Colaizzi '18 weathered tough pack conditions to finish 4th in 15:11.64. In the 4x400, the team of O'Flaharty, LaFleche, Tristan Colaizzi, and Muellers finished 2nd in an impressive 3:18.84. Closing out the meet in the 4x800, Estrada, Nick Gannon '20, Kirgis, and Hearon took 3rd in 7:48.11.
Although Williams did not win the meet, Head Coach Ethan Barron was proud of his team, saying, "we threw down today. And that's what matters. We were a team, working together, feeding off of each other's energy. Middlebury ran a great meet, and they deserved the title."
The Ephs will return to competition next weekend at the Division III New England Championship, hosted by MIT.