The Amherst men’s track team returned to Tufts University to compete at the DIII New England Championships last weekend, Feb. 17-19. The meet required qualifying standards for all individual events, and the competitive races pitted the best DIII athletes in New England against each other. By the conclusion of the meet, the purple and white had earned 13 points for a 15th-place finish as a team.
Elijah Ngbokoli ’20 kicked off the meet for Amherst, placing 19th in the preliminary round of the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.21 seconds.
Theo Bates ’20 continued his stellar season in the hurdles, qualifying for the 60-meter hurdles final and placing fourth in a time of 8.52 seconds. Teammate Maxim Doiron ’19 placed 17th in the preliminary round with a time of 9.02 seconds.
Junior captain David Ingraham ran a time of 51.24 seconds in the 400-meter dash, placing 12th overall.
Vernon Espinoza ’19 was the sole competitor for the purple and white in the 800-meter run. The sophomore placed 16th with a time of 2:02.73 in the four-lap event.
Sophomore Kristian Sogaard placed fifth in the 1,000-meter run against a competitive field. The mid-distance standout set a personal best in the event with a time of 2:30.94, and will continue his season next weekend at Open New Englands.
Ngbokoli continued his success in the short sprints, placing 20th in a time of 23.21 seconds.
Three Amherst runners competed in the 3,000-meter run, the most purple and white athletes in any individual event. Senior Kevin Connors led the contingent, securing the last scoring position by placing eighth in a time of 8:41.71. Shortly behind him was Cosmo Brossy ’19, who placed 10th in a time of 8:43.14. The sophomore won the unseeded section. Ben Fiedler ’17 rounded out the Amherst athletes, placing 22nd in a time of 8:55.78.
The purple and white continued their success in the long-distance events, as Tucker Meijer ’19 ran a time of 15:26.47 in the 5,000 meters to place fourth in his heat and 14th overall. Justin Barry ’18 placed ninth in his heat and 19th overall with a time of 15:57.31.
Sam Amaka ’19 was the lone Amherst competitor in the field events, placing 13th in the weight throw with a throw of 15.04 meters (49’ 4.25”).
The meet ended with three relays, events in which the purple and white have historically experienced success.
The first relay of the day was the distance medley relay, composed entirely of first years. Ralph Skinner opened with the 1,200-meter leg, then handed off to Alex Mangiafico for the 400-meter leg. The sprinter then passed the baton to Estevan Velez for the 800-meter leg, who handed the baton to Spencer Ferguson-Dryden for the concluding 1,600-meter leg. The relay placed third in their heat to Little Three rivals Wesleyan and Williams.
The next relay to compete was the 4x400 meter relay, composed of juniors Harrison Haigood, Jeff Ewing, Ingraham and Bates. The team placed third in their heat and 13th overall with a time of 3:31.76.
The 4x800-meter relay concluded the day’s action for the purple and white, as the team of Connors, Espinoza, Sogaard and Jacob Silverman ’19 ran a time of 8:06.88. Their eighth place finish earned the squad one point for the team.
“The team had several strong performances at the meet with great competition, even though we were hoping to score more points than we did,” Jeff Ewing ’18 said. “It’ll be exciting to watch some of our guys finish out the indoor championships season in the coming weeks.”
Next weekend, the team will return to Boston to compete at Open New Englands, which will be held at the famed Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. The meet features athletes across all divisions, and only Amherst athletes who have achieved the qualifying standards for individual events or have been selected to run in a relay will compete.