The Amherst men’s track and field team returned to Boston last weekend, Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, with a small mid-distance and distance contingent to compete at the Open New England Championship.
This meet pitted New England athletes across all three NCAA divisions against each other. The championship was held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, a banked track that often hosts collegiate and professional meets.
To compete at the meet, athletes must either have met the challenging Open New England entry standards or have been in the top 32 athletes entered in the meet.
The latter often allows athletes to gain entry to the meet without meeting the entry standard, since many Division I teams had their conference championship on the same weekend as the Opens.
The two-day competition started for the purple and white with sophomore Vernon Espinoza competing in the 800 meters, where he placed fifth in his heat with a time of 1:56.35.
First-year Ralph Skinner competed in the 1,000 meters, running a time of 2:30.38 in the five-lap event.
Although he just missed qualifying for the final, which is earned by competitors who place in the top eight in the preliminary round, the first year has enjoyed a successful season and is one to watch as the purple and white seek to continue their mid-distance success in seasons to come.
The final event of the day for the purple and white was the 5,000-meter run, where Amherst runners had great success.
Leading the pack was Cosmo Brossy ’19, who placed sixth overall with a time of 15:01.51, a new personal best by one second. Brossy also scored three points with his sixth-place finish.
The standout performance of the day came from Tucker Meijer ’19, who beat his previous 5K personal best by 16 seconds, an astounding improvement, to run a time of 15:09.72. With his excellent run, the sophomore placed ninth and has set himself up for an exciting outdoor track season.
Justin Barry ’18 also competed in the 5K, finishing with a time of 15:54.49 in the 25-lap event.
On Saturday, Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 competed in the mile, registering a time of 4:30.17.
Later in the day, mile veteran Kevin Connors ’17 and mid-distance standout Kristian Sogaard ’19 competed in the seeded section of the mile.
The senior placed seventh in the heat with a time of 4:18.10 to lead teammate Sogaard, who placed right behind him in eighth with a time of 4:22.82.
“It’s definitely a great jumping off point for the upcoming outdoor season, where we’ll be sure to see some more improvements from even more people,” Meijer said, reflecting on the meet. “As the season is wrapping up for most people, we’re all looking forward to the outdoor season.”
Next weekend, the purple and white will travel to Tufts to compete at the Tufts Last Chance meet, where athletes will be seeking to qualify for the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships. To do so, athletes must achieve a time or mark that places them in the top 15 nationwide in their respective events.
Last year, Mohamed Hussein ’18 qualified and competed in the 5,000-meter race, earning All-American honors with his seventh-place finish.