Men’s Track and Field Optimistic About Coming Winter Season
Issue   |   Tue, 11/07/2017 - 23:44
Clarus Studios
Aziz Khan has run the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.37 seconds

The 2017-2018 season looks to be promising for the Amherst men’s track and field team, which includes a solid core of returners and several first-years looking to make an impact for the Mammoths. The team adds three first-years in Andrew Swenson, Kyland Smith and Ryan Prenosil, in addition to Bill Massey, Jamie Mazzola and Braxton Schuldt who competed for the Mammoths in cross country this fall.

This will be the first season since 2012 where the men’s and women’s teams will be combined, so there will be a group of six coaches leading the Mammoths.

In the offseason, Stephen Rubin was hired as the head coach of the men’s cross country and track and field teams. Rubin comes to Amherst from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he led several Tar Heels to All-American honors during his five years as an assistant coach UNC.

The team will have to hit the ground running as the season begins, as the first meet for the Mammoths will be the Little Three Championships, the annual tri-meet between Amherst, Williams and Wesleyan. With this first competition not coming until the interterm period, Amherst has a long preseason to prepare for the demanding indoor and outdoor track and field seasons that last until May.

The end of the season will see the team focus on the NESCAC Championships in April, a true test of the team’s depth in the competitive conference. In 2017, the Mammoths placed seventh with 32 points at the championship meet.
David Ingraham ’18 and Harrison Haigood ’18 are the captains of the speed-power squad, and will be in charge of an underclassmen-heavy group.

“The first week of official practices went well,” Ingraham said. “Coach Rubin has really transformed the track program, and overall the team seems much more focused and energetic than in recent years. This is the largest and most talented group of guys I’ve trained with since I started track in my freshman year, and I’m very excited to see how we’ll compete later this winter.”

Elijah Ngbokoli ’20 returns with the team’s fastest times in the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes during the indoor season, with times of 7.17 and 22.64 seconds, respectively. Aziz Khan ’18 ran the team’s fastest times in the 100 and 200 meters outdoors, with times of 11.39 and 22.51 seconds, respectively. Amherst will rely heavily on these two runners to register important points during the year’s meets and serve as examples for the numerous newcomers to the squad.
The hurdles duo of Maxim Doiron ’19 and Yonas Shiferaw ’20 also return after strong seasons in both indoor and outdoor competition in the 60-meter and 110-meter hurdles.

Leading the jumpers will be Jordan Edwards ’20, who was the team’s best long and triple jumper last season. Edwards will look to build on his success in his sophomore campaign.
Kristian Sogaard ’19 had a breakout track season last spring, running Amherst’s best times in the 400 and 800 meters with times of 49.00 seconds and 1:50.30, respectively. The junior finished his season with an All-American sixth place finish at the DIII National Championships.

Vernon Espinoza ’19 ran the team’s second fastest time in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:52. Not far behind him was Ralph Skinner ’20, who ran 1:54 and claimed the Mammoths’ second-fastest time in the 400 meters with a time of 50.17 seconds.

A strong middle- and long-distance core returns for the Mammoths, as the men’s cross country team has been dominant this fall, easily winning the NESCAC Cross Country Championships, the program’s first ever victory. The track and field team will rely heavily on these harriers to form the foundation for any success during the upcoming season.
Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 has played a critical role in the Mammoths success this cross country season and returns as the team’s fastest 1500-meter runner with a time of 3:57.

The Mammoths also return strength in the longer distances the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000-meters. Clark Ricciardelli ’20E returns with the team’s fastest time in the 10000 meters with a time of 31:02, and Cosmo Brossy ’19 ended his season with a time of 14:41 in the 5,000-meter run. Tucker Meijer ’19 looks to improve on his 5,000 meter best of 15:09, and Justin Barry ’18 looks to have a stellar senior track season after struggling through injuries as a junior.
Mo Hussein ’18, NESCAC Outstanding Performer of the year in cross country, returns to the track after injuries kept him out of track in 2017, and the four-time All-American and two-time NESCAC cross country champion looks to earn more All-American honors to close his time at Amherst.

Given these numerous returners and the strength of the long-distance corps, the Amherst men’s track and field team looks to follow the success of its distance runners and put together an impressive campaign.