Medford, MA—The Williams men's track and field team competed today at the Tufts National Qualifying meet. As the name of the meet would suggest, this meet serves as a final opportunity to compete for athletes hoping to qualify for the NCAA Championship next weekend (top 12 for relays, top 20 for individuals), and therefore draws competition from all across the East Coast.
The meet started for the Ephs in the distance medley relay. Benjamin Hearon '20 led things off with a strong 1200 leg of 3:06, handing off to Elliott Fong '19. Fong ran a strong 400 leg himself of 51 seconds, handing off to Ryan Watson '22. Watson took his 800 out very fast for the first 400, but held it together for a solid 1:57 split, handing off to Elias Lindgren '22. Lindgren took his 1600 leg out in under 60 seconds, but held it together well for a fantastic 4:15 split. The squad finished in 10:10.43, for 6thoverall. That result is on the bubble for qualifying for NCAAs—as of the latest rankings, it is 13thnationally.
Next up for the Ephs was the mile. Co-captain Lucas Estrada '20 ran a typically tactically sound race, going to the front at the halfway point to push the pace, and kicking hard over the last quarter to finish 2ndoverall in a seasonal best of 4:16.54. Just behind him was Nick Gannon '20, who showed an impressive turn of speed over the last 400 to finish 3rdin 4:16.56. Both times are on the bubble for qualifying for NCAAs, depending on who declares for the mile.
In the 400, Cole O'Flaherty '21 ran a strong race, finishing in 49.97 for 3rdoverall. Kevin LaFleche '20 ran a seasonal best in the 800, closing hard to finish in 1:54.06. That time likely is fast enough for LaFleche to make the NCAA meet.
Head Coach Ethan Barron was impressed with how the William athletes handled the environment, saying, "Final Qualifiers are tough. Although everyone is there for a purpose, the meets have significantly lower energy than other big meets. It's really on you to bring it yourself internally. Everyone with a W on their chest did great today. When it comes down to 1 day, 1 race to put it all together—it's going to for some and others will have to keep battling. It's hard to see some seasons end a week earlier than we want, but I was very impressed with the progress each of these guys made this year."