This weekend, the Amherst men’s track and field team traveled to Boston University to compete at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, one of the largest meets in the nation during the indoor season. With athletes from all divisions of the NCAA, as well as post-collegiate and professional runners competing at the banked BU track, the purple and white finished off the regular season with fast times.
The purple and white did not race the entire team, as several long-distance runners decided to skip the meet in favor of training for upcoming postseason races, or ended their indoor season to get ready for the outdoor campaign.
First-year Theo Bates started off the day by winning his heat of the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.53 seconds, a new personal best. Maxim Doiron ’19 and Yonas Shiferaw ’20 also competed in the event, running times of 9.22 and 9.26 seconds, respectively.
Vernon Espinoza ’19 was the lone Amherst competitor in the 800-meter run and had a great race, placing fourth in his heat with a time of 1:54, just shy of his personal best. His stellar run qualified him for Open New Englands in the 800-meter run and showed that the sophomore is ready for the postseason.
First-year Elijah Ngbokoli continued his success in the short sprints, placing fifth in his heat for the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.23 seconds.
Classmates Mayowa Tinubu and Biafra Okoronkwo ran times of 7.37 and 7.45 seconds, respectively, in the short sprint.
Junior David Ingraham had an excellent day in the 400-meter run, sprinting to a new lifetime personal best in the two-lap event with a time of 50.45 seconds. With his stellar run, Ingraham qualified for next weekend’s DIII New England Championships at Tufts. Classmate Harrison Haigood ’18 also ran a lifetime personal best in the 400 with a time of 51.38 seconds.
Alex Mangiafico ’20 and Jeff Ewing ’18 competed in the 500-meter run, running times of 1:09 and 1:11, respectively.
In the 200-meter dash, Ngbokoli placed fourth in his heat in 22.64 seconds, setting a personal best and qualifying him in the event for the DIII New England Championship next weekend.
Ingraham and Haigood followed their teammate by running times of 23.09 and 23.18 seconds, respectively. Okoronkwo and Tinubu also snuck under 24 seconds, running times of 23.76 and 23.63 seconds, respectively.
In the one-mile run, senior Kevin Connors placed fifth in his heat with a time of 4:14, qualifying him for Open New Englands. The miler came up just short of breaking his personal best that he set on this track just one year ago.
Sophomore Kristian Sogaard continued his success in the mile, running a new personal best time of 4:16.
Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 set a personal best in the mile, running a time of 4:19, which qualified him for the DIII New England Championships.
Fellow first-years Ralph Skinner and Estevan Velez had excellent races as well, running 4:23 and 4:24, respectively. Newcomer Clark Ricciardelli ’20E started his Amherst career in a positive way, winning his heat in a time of 4:27.
Sam Amaka ’19 was the lone Amherst competitor in the field events, reaching a mark of 14.27m (46’ 10”) in the weight throw.
“The team had some great performances all around, with a lot of guys hitting season PR [personal records],” Ingraham said. “We’re looking very strong heading into the DIII New England Championship meet, and I think we have a great shot at finishing as one of the highest scoring teams.”
With the conclusion of the regular season, only purple and white athletes who have qualified in individual events or relays will be competing in postseason meets.
The first meet of the postseason is the New England DIII Championships which will be hosted by Tufts, followed by the Open New Englands which will be held at the famed Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center the following weekend.