Men’s Track and Field Finishes Second Overall at Spring Fling
Issue   |   Tue, 04/11/2017 - 22:04

On Saturday, the Amherst men’s track and field team hosted the Amherst Spring Fling. The annual meet, held at Pratt Field, is the only home meet for the Mammoths this year. Amherst earned 79 points, second to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who scored 149 points.

The day started for the Mammoths with the 1,500-meter run, where senior Kevin Connors won in a time of 4:06. Connors made a decisive move for the lead with one lap to go and never relinquished it, even as his competitors made a hard last push for the finish line. Teammates Cosmo Brossy ’19 and Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 also had successful races, finishing in 4:07 and 4:09 to place third and fourth, respectively.

Tucker Meijer ’19 held the lead for much of the second heat of the 1,500, but was passed in the final stretch by a Williams athlete to place second in his heat and ninth overall in 4:14. Teammate Clark Ricciardelli ’20E followed Meijer to place 12th overall with a time of 4:15.

In the 110-meter hurdles, Maxim Doiron ’19 and Yonas Shiferaw ’20 both qualified for finals and placed third and fourth with times of 16.18 and 16.55 seconds, respectively. With his third-place finish, Doiron qualified for the DIII New England Championships.

In the 400-meter dash, sophomore Vernon Espinoza led junior teammates Harrison Haigood and David Ingraham as the trio placed sixth, seventh and eighth overall, respectively.

Aziz Khan ’18, returning to track after playing on the NESCAC Champion men’s soccer team this fall, led the Mammoths in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.28 seconds to place sixth overall.

The speedy soccer player was followed by first-years Elijah Ngbokoli (11.39), Mayowa Tinubu (11.45) and Biafra Okoronkwo (11.88) in the shortest event on the track as the trio made strong outdoor collegiate debuts.

The Mammoths showed their mid-distance strength once again as Kristian Sogaard ’19 won the 800-meter run in 1:55. The sophomore led the entire race and held off fast-charging competitors in the home stretch to pull away for victory. First-year Ralph Skinner followed teammate Sogaard, accelerating in the last 100 meters to place third in 1:56. Jacob Silverman ’19 finished in 1:57, good for fifth. Both Sogaard and Skinner qualified for the DIII New England Championships with their runs.

First-years Jordan Edwards and Jack Dufton competed in the high jump, with both clearing 1.79 meters. Dufton returned to competition after an injury that kept him out of most of the indoor season. Edwards had a successful day in the horizontal jumps as well, placing third in the long jump with a leap of 6.13 meters and winning the triple jump, with a jump of 13.09 meters.

Sam Amaka ’19 placed sixth in the shot put with a throw of 12.32 meters, leading teammate and fellow sophomore Wisdom Yevudza, who placed 20th. Amaka also placed 11th in the hammer throw with a throw of 36.02 meters. Sophomore Cornell Brooks returned to the field with a toss of 25.36 meters in the discus to place 21st.

Shiferaw followed up his strong 110-meter hurdles race with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, an event that is only held during the outdoor track season. The hurdler ran a time of 1:01 to lead teammate Doiron, who placed fifth in 1:01 as well. Jeff Ewing ’18 also competed in the event, placing seventh in 1:05.

In the 200-meter run, Khan once again led the short sprinters of Amherst, placing third with a time of 22.60 seconds. With his finishing time, Khan qualified for the DIII New England Championships. Both Tinubu and Okoronkwo also ran the half-lap sprint, finishing in 23.52 and 24.24 seconds, respectively.

Alumnus Dan Crowley ’16, competing unattached, won the men’s 5,000-meter run in 14:56. The Amherst grad led senior Ben Fiedler and Aaron Zambrano ’18, who ran times of 15:45 and 16:04, respectively.

In the second-to-last event on the track, the 4x800-meter relay composed of Ferguson-Dryden, Silverman, Skinner and Connors placed second to WPI in 8:10.

In the meet-concluding 4x400-meter relay, the Mammoths emerged victorious as they moved up throughout the race with each baton exchange. Ingraham held off a fast-closing Williams anchor to win the event in 3:34.

“It was great to get so much cheering and support at our only home meet,” Connors said. “People seemed particularly excited to compete in front of the home crowd, and a lot of quality performances followed.”

This weekend, the team will travel to two meets, the Connecticut College Distance Fest on Friday and the UMass Amherst Invite on Saturday. On Friday, several of the purple and white’s top distance runners will compete in races ranging from the 800 meters to the 5,000 meters.On Saturday, all other team members will compete across town against schools from a variety of NCAA divisions at UMass.