Seven First-Place Finishes for Men's Track at Wesleyan Invitational
Issue   |   Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:00
Megan Robertson '15
Elijah Langston '18 raced to a fourth place finish in the 100-meter.

The Amherst men’s track and field team traveled to Wesleyan University last Saturday to compete in a small meet of just four teams: Amherst, Wesleyan, Sage and Salve Regina. For the first time this outdoor season, sun and warmth graced the track, setting up conditions that led to some great performances.

“We finally got the weather we’ve deserved all season,” Khalil Fleming ’16 said. “It’s been tough trying to compete and qualify for the postseason with the weather working against us, and this sunny day was what a lot of us needed to get back in the zone.”

The day opened with long and triple jump, featuring Khalil Fleming ’16 and Steven Hetterich ’15 in the triple jump. Fleming took first place with a mark of 42’ 11.75” improving on his mark from last weekend, while Hetterich came in second with a mark of 40’3.25” In the long jump, Mark Cort ’15 leapt 21’0.75’ to come in second, while Fleming and Hetterich followed with fourth and sixth respectively.

“Personally, I finally started to feel myself connecting the physical training I’ve done with the technical work I’ve been doing for my jumps, which was pretty satisfying and paid off with some better, more consistent performances,” Fleming said.

Amherst’s sprint team outshone the competition in the shorter events, earning first-place finishes in both the 100 and 200 meters. Thomas Matthew ’16 won the 100 meters, clocking in a speedy 11.40-second finish, while teammates Dennis Kennelly ’16 and Elijah Langston ’18 followed up with third and fourth place finishes. In the 200 meters, first-year standout David Ingraham took the gold with a time of 22.89, while Matthew came in a close second at 23.03. First-years Langston, Ramy Mohamed and Jeff Ewing earned more top finishes for the Jeffs, the fourth through sixth place finishes in the event. Ingraham and Ewing also placed second and fourth in the 400 meters.

With a thrilling finish in the 400-meter hurdles, Jamie Sandel ’17 came from behind to edge out his Wesleyan opponent. He clocked in a speedy 56.59 for the event, while Nathan Showalter came close behind finishing third in a time of 59.21. The pair of hurdlers also took second and third in the 110-meter high hurdles.

The purple and white dominated the longer distances, with Sam Wohlforth ’17 placing first in the 5K, followed by Cole Hawkins ’16 and Aaron Zambrano ’18, who placed third and fourth. Amherst similarly had many top-place finishes in the 1,500-meter race, with senior Romey Sklar leading a tight pack of Amherst runners to sweep second through fourth place. Juniors Dan Crowley and Brent Harrison placed third and fourth in the event, while Amherst also swept places seven through nine, as well as places 11 through 13.

For one of the last events during the hottest portion of the day, first-years Craig and Scott Nelson ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The duo’s unique experience of being able to race this event in high school prepared them well for their first collegiate attempt at the race, as they finished first and second with times of 10:21.69 and 10:30.62 respectively.

“Though the meet was small, I thought that all the boys did a great job of competing amongst each other, racing hard and hitting some impressive times,” Craig Nelson ’18 said. “Overall, I thought the meet was a great confidence booster for all the guys, and should definitely help this weekend when we toe the line against some solid competition.”

The men’s team will travel to Williams on Saturday, April 25 for the NESCAC championships, where they hope to continue to hit peak performances as championship season begins.

“It was a small meet against some familiar faces, so the vibes were great and there was a lot of support between teams,” Fleming said. “Our coaches did a great job of pushing us to use the conditions of the meet to our advantage and that energy carried quite a few of us to better times and distances — ultimately I think this meet provided plenty of much-needed optimism going into NESCACs and further into the championship meets.”