LaCrosse, Wisconsin—The men's track and field team headed this week to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, held by the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. 7 athletes will compete for the Ephs: co-captains Tobias Muellers '18 and Tommy Riley '18 in the decathlon; co-captain Ben Decker '18 and Ryan Cox '20 in the 10000m run; Kevin LaFleche '20 in the 800; Tristan Colaizzi '20 in the 1500; and Griffin Colaizzi '18 in the 5000m.
Muellers comes into the decathlon with an impressive pedigree. The three-time All-American finished 2nd in the decathlon at last year's NCAA Championship and 8th that year in the indoor heptathlon, and was 4th this year in the heptathlon. Muellers currently ranks 5th, with 6670 points after a single attempt in mid-March.
Riley is definitely a dark horse in this event. Last year, he qualified for the NCAA Championship, but incurred an injury during competition and was unable to finish. This year, he qualified, like Muellers, on the basis of his first attempt in March. At the All New England Championship, he had a tremendous first day of competition, before failing to clear the bar in the pole vault. Riley has made the pole vault a strength this season, and it is not expected to pose a problem for him at this meet. Although Riley is the 16th qualifier, with 6348 points, he definitely has the potential to perform well above that.
Decker and Cox each qualified for NCAAs at the All New England Championship. For Decker, his qualifying run of 30:07.27 was an extremely impressive, but a somewhat expected result for the senior, who twice has been the top Eph at the NCAA Cross Country Championship. Decker, seeded 9th, has the potential to perform well above that at this meet, having run his qualifying time mostly alone. Cox, although an accomplished cross country runner himself, had an incredible performance to qualify for this meet. His time of 30:20.31 came after the sophomore boldly ran with Decker, going through the 5k mark mere seconds off of his personal best. Cox ran a personal best by 58 seconds over the 10000 in order to qualify. He is seeded 15th. As championship level 10000 meter races often include the types of surges and pace changes one might expect at a cross country meet, Cox will be well-suited to perform here.
LaFleche also looks set to perform in the 800. The sophomore already has earned All-American honors this year, having finished 8th in the indoor 800. LaFleche is known for his impressive kick, and qualified for this meet with a 1:51.10 800, run with almost perfectly even splits, almost unheard of in high level 800 meter running. LaFleche is the 8th seed.
Fulfilling a goal both had set when Tristan Colaizzi enrolled in Williams, the Colaizzi brothers will each be competing this weekend. Tristan Colaizzi has had a breakout season in the 1500. He has now raced it 5 times this season, and each time ran faster than the last, culminating in a 3:52.42 performance at the MIT Last Chance meet. Colaizzi, the school record holder in the indoor 800, is the 20th seed at this meet. Griffin Colaizzi, meanwhile, will be competing in the 5000 meters. He won the All New England Championship with his own trademark kick in a 19 second personal best of 14:28.36 to qualify for the NCAA Championship. He is the 11th seed, but will be competing fresh, whereas many of his competitors will be doubling back from other events.
Competition will start at 10:00 AM on Thursday, with the decathlon.