Mens Track and Field Competes at Home Spring Fling Meet
Issue   |   Tue, 04/10/2018 - 20:41
Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios
In the 1500-meter race, Kristian Sogaard ‘19 (right) finished second out of 31 harriers with a time of just over four minutes.

On a sunny, but cold and windy day, the Mammoths took to their home track at Lehrman Stadium to place third out of seven teams at the fourth annual Amherst Spring Fling meet. Due to the forecasted cold weather, athletes in events 200 meters and below did not compete, as the cold weather would have put them at an increased risk of injury early in the spring track season.

The men’s hammer throwers kicked off the action for the day, as Sam Amaka ’19 had an excellent day to place third with a new personal best throw of 44.68 meters (146’ 7”). Elorm Yevudza ’19 also threw a new personal best with a throw of 38.07 meters (124’ 11”) to place sixth, while Cornell Brooks ’19 placed 13th with a throw of 34.53 meters (112’ 3”).

The first event for the Mammoths on the track was the 1,500, in which the Mammoths competed in the first three of four heats.

In the first and fastest section, Kristian Sogaard’ 19 and Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20 took on a field of mostly Middlebury runners, and the Mammoth duo excelled, placing second and third, respectively. Sogaard used his fast closing speed to make up a gap on the last lap to place second in a time of 4:03, and Ferguson-Dryden placed third right behind him in a time of 4:03 as well.

In the second heat, cross country All-American Clark Ricciardelli ‘20E completed his first race since the Little III Championships during the indoor season to win his heat in a time of 4:09. First-year Billy Massey ran a great race to place second behind Riccardelli in a time of 4:12.

Two Mammoths placed first and second in the third heat as well, as first-years Jamie Mazzola and Braxton Schuldt ran 4:09 and 4:12, respectively.

Next on the track was the 400 meters, in which Brad Besson ’20 placed eighth overall with a time of 52.95 seconds to set a new collegiate best, impressive on a day with less than ideal weather for sprinting. Kyland Smith ’21 placed sixth in a time of 52.67 seconds, just off the collegiate best that he set last week at Tufts in more favorable conditions.

The Mammoths swept the first three places in the 800 meters. In the first heat, Jacob Silverman ’19 and Ralph Skinner ’20 battled to the finish line to finish a mere 0.4 seconds apart, with Silverman claiming victory in a time of 1:59. Skinner ran his first 800-meter race since the 2017 outdoor track season, finishing in 1:59 as well. Earlier this year, Skinner had competed as a member of the distance medley relay that qualified for indoor nationals, running the 400-meter leg of the event.

In the second heat, Jack Malague ’19 placed third in a time of 2:00, just missing the two-minute barrier which he broke indoors at the Boston University Valentine Invitational.

This bodes well for the rest of the junior’s season and shows promise for Amherst’s 4x800-meter relay.

Jack Dufton ’20 took to the track for the 400-meter hurdles and placed fourth in a time of 1:00.13, improving on his time from last week at Tufts by nearly two seconds. Jay Drain ’18 was running an excellent race, until he crashed on the second to last hurdle and fell down, but was able to get back on his feet to place fifth in a time of 1:00.82.

The most impressive performance of the day came from Jordan Edwards ’20, who placed second in the triple jump with a hop, skip and a jump of 13.85 meters (45’ 5.25”) for a new personal best and fourth-best performance in program history.

The last event for the Mammoths on the track was the 4x400 relay, in which Silverman returned to the track to lead off and handed the baton to Estevan Velez ’20 in second place. Velez handed off to Sogaard, who ran the Mammoths fastest split for the day with a time 51.24 seconds. Sogaard made up considerable ground on Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Drain ran a stellar anchor leg to beat the Engineers to the finish line in a time of 3:29.96.

“I was running really well in my 400 hurdles race until I crashed on the second to last hurdle, so I was really disappointed about that race,” Drain said. “Coach Talbot told me to channel my emotions towards anchoring the 4x400. Kristian ran a great third leg and closed the gap enough for me to chase down WPI’s anchor and get him right before the finish line. That comeback was huge for my confidence, so I’m really looking forward to running the 400 hurdles next weekend.”

Next weekend, the Mammoths will travel to Conn. College for the two-day Silfen Invitational. On Friday night, only elite sections of distance events will be contested, while on Saturday, all track and field events will be contested.