HADLEY, Mass. - Amherst will host the 2016 NESCAC Track & Field Championships on Saturday, April 30 at Pratt Field. Competition gets underway at 9 a.m. with the men’s discus, the women’s hammer throw, the men’s long jump and the women’s 10,000-meter run.
At the 2015 Championships, the Tufts men’s team and the Williams’ women’s team successfully defended their championship titles. The Jumbo men edged Williams, 169.33-164, to capture their third consecutive trophy, while the Eph women tallied 170 points to finish 22 points ahead of runner-up Tufts and claim back-to-back titles and their 14th crown in 15 years.
The Bates men finished comfortably in third place with 109.5 points. Middlebury, Bowdoin and Wesleyan were only separated by three points, as the Panthers tallied 73 points, the Polar Bears registered 72 points and the Cardinals recorded 70 points. On the women’s side, Middlebury took third with 98 points, well ahead of fourth-place Bates, which turned in 77 points. Amherst edged Bowdoin for fifth place with 66 points, as the Polar Bears earned 63 points.
This year’s championships will feature several new faces as 19 of the 36 total events contain previous event winners. Of the returning event champions, only two individuals have won the same event more than once. Tufts senior Mitchell Black (Brunswick, Maine) is the two-time defending champion in the 800 meters and enters the weekend with the top time in Division III, while Colby senior Alanna McDonough (Andover, Mass.) won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2013 and 2014. She heads to Amherst with the second-fastest time in the event behind Williams sophomore Emily Sundquist (Salt Lake City, Utah).
Senior Alexis Harrison (Toms River, N.J.) of Tufts is the only competitor who enters the weekend as the defending champion in multiple events. Last year, Harrison won both the 100-meter dash and the long jump en route to being selected the NESCAC Most Outstanding Female Performer. This year, she boasts the top marks in both events, but only 0.03 meters separates Harrison, Middlebury sophomore Pippa Raffel (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Bates sophomore Srishti Sunil (Bangalore, India) in the long jump. Wesleyan senior Alexis Walker (Oklahoma City, Okla.), the 2013 champion in the 100-meter dash and the long jump, also looks to have a strong showing at Pratt Field.
The men’s 400-meter dash features the last two winners of the event as the top two seeds. Colby junior Brian Sommers (Acton, Mass.) and Middlebury junior Alex Nichols (Brunswick, Maine) crossed the finish line first in 2014 and 2013, respectively, and are seeded first and second.
The men’s 110-meter hurdles look to be one of the most competitive events of the day. A new champion will emerge from sophomore Michael Pallozzi (Sewell, N.J.) of Middlebury, first-year Joseph Staudt (North Andover, Mass.) of Bowdoin and senior Nolan Raimo (Marblehead, Mass.) of Williams, who are separated by less than two-tenths of a second. Raimo is also the top seed in the 400-meter hurdles ahead of defending champion and sophomore teammate Conor Dunham (Chicago, Ill.).
The top three sprinters in the men’s and women’s 200-meter dashes are only separated by a fraction of a second as well. On the men’s side, Trinity first-year Alex Tomcho (Windsor, Conn.) has turned in the fastest time just ahead of first-year Jimmy Martinez (Maplewood, N.J.) of Middlebury and Nichols. Tomcho also holds the second-best time in the 100-meter dash behind Williams senior Katakyie Ofori-Atta (Accra, Ghana), while Martinez is seeded third in the 400-meter dash. Senior Emily Doyle (Duxbury, Mass.) of Colby narrowly has the top time in the 200-meter dash in front of Williams first-year Denver Williams (Washington, D.C.) and Bates junior Allison Hill (Brunswick, Maine). Doyle, who won the 400-meter dash in 2013, is seeded second behind Middlebury senior Alexandra Morris (London, England) and ahead of Williams in the event. Hill also looks to be a contender in the 100-meter hurdles, an event in which she holds the best time ahead Colby junior Jenna Athanasopoulos (Fitzwilliam, N.H.) and defending champion senior Marilyn Allen (Plainsboro, N.J.) of Tufts, and the 400-meter hurdles, where she is ranked third behind sophomore Kayley McGonagle (Natick, Mass.) and junior Alyza Ngbokoli (Yonkers, N.Y.) of Williams.
The women’s triple jump will also be hotly contested, as the top three competitors are separated by just 0.05 meters. Bowdoin senior Katharine Krupp (Carlisle, Mass.) has a small edge over Williams junior jumpers Candice Dyce (Cambria Heights, N.Y.) and Chloe Rogers (Denver, Colo.).
In the relays, the Tufts women will look to claim their fourth straight win in the 4x100-meter relay, but they will have to beat a Williams quartet that has posted the fastest time in the event this season. The Eph women also possess the top time in the 4x400-meter relay, an event they have won in back-to-back years. On the men’s side, Williams aims to win its third consecutive title in the 4x100-meter relay after recording the best time in the event. The Amherst men and Bowdoin women are seeded first in the 4x800-meter relay.
A live webcast of track events will be available at nsnsports.net/conferences/NESCAC. Live results will also be available at nescac.com/scoreboard. Final results from the 2016 NESCAC Track & Field Championships will be posted at the conclusion of the meet at nescac.com.
# - NESCAC Meet Record