Men’s Track & Field Qualifies Several Runners for DIII New Englands
Issue   |   Tue, 02/06/2018 - 22:17

For the second meet in a row, the Amherst men’s track and field team travelled east to compete at Tufts. This past weekend, the Mammoths competed in the Cupid Challenge, a smaller meet featuring strong teams from the New England, Mideast and Atlantic regions, in addition to international competition from the University of Québec at Montréal.

Amherst had a solid performance and competed well against a talented field at the unscored meet.

Junior Maxim Doiron kicked off the meet for the Mammoths, placing eighth in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.97 seconds. He later replicated his prelims performance in the finals, finishing eighth.

Classmate Stadtler Thompson competed well in the 60-meter dash, placing 12th in the prelims with a time of 7.42 seconds, the same time he had run the weekend prior at the Branwen Smith-King Invitational.

In the shot put, Sam Amaka ’19 set a personal best, throwing 13.30 meters (43’ 7.75”) to place sixth, while fellow-junior Elorm Yevudza set a personal best in the event with his 10.18 meter (33’ 4.75”) throw.

First-year Braxton Schuldt had a successful first collegiate 5k, a daunting task with 25 laps and 3.1 miles required on the 200-meter indoor track.

Schuldt ran consistent splits during the race to finish in a time of 15:43.

Captain Justin Barry ’18 took on the mile run, running a time of 4:36 in the eight-lap event.

In the 400-meter dash, Vernon Espinoza ’19 set an indoor personal-best time of 50.62 and looked to challenge the 50-second barrier in an open 400 race after splitting sub-50 seconds on the 4x400 relay at the Branwen Smith-King Invitational.

Brad Besson ’20 also set a new indoor personal best, running a time of 53.80 seconds.

After running the 600 meters for all three of his collegiate meets, Andrew Swenson ’21 set a personal best in the event, finishing in 1:25.49 and squeaking under the DIII New England standard of 1:25.54 after just missing it at Branwen Smith-King Invitational.

In a thrilling 800-meter race, Kristian Sogaard ’19 returned to his signature event and placed third in a time of 1:54.

An All-American in the 800, Sogaard's time now ranks seventh in the nation in the event and he looks to qualify for nationals once again.

In the third heat of the 800, Estevan Velez ’20 set a new collegiate personal best of 1:59, which also qualifies him for DIII New Englands.

Thompson returned to the track for the 200-meter dash, in which he set a new personal best time of 23.31 seconds to place eighth.

Sophomore standout Spencer Ferguson-Dryden set a personal best in the 3k by 55 seconds, covering the 15-lap event in 8:40, which qualified him for DIII New Englands.

Ferguson-Dryden has also qualified for the meet in the 1,000-meter and mile runs as well, giving him several options for the meet in two weeks.

Teammate Tucker Meijer ’19 was right behind him, setting a new personal best with his 8:42 clocking, which gave him a DIII New Englands qualifying time for the event in addition to the 5k.

The meet ended with the 4x400 relay, as Kyland Smith ’21, Swenson, Alex Mangiafico ’20 and Stanley Dunwell ’20 teamed up to run a time of 3:32.

“After the meet, Coach Rubin spoke to us about goal-setting,” Sewnson said. “He explained how, in track, there’s never really an end goal, and that we should never be completely satisfied with our progress.”

“Our team has been doing great this season, and personally it felt nice to qualify for DIII New Englands, but ultimately qualifying was just one little temporary goal.”

Next week, the Mammoths will split up and compete at both the Boston University Valentine Invitational and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gordon Kelly Invitational.

The Valentine Invitational will be Amherst’s one opportunity to compete on a banked track before Nationals in March, and the meet will also feature competition from all three NCAA divisions as well as amateur and professional athletes.

After that pair of meets, the Mammoths will begin preparation for the DIII New England Championships.