HADLEY, Mass. - Colby will host the 2014 NESCAC Track & Field Championships on Saturday, April 26 at Harold Alfond Stadium in Waterville, Maine. Action gets underway at 9 a.m.
At the 2013 Championships, the Tufts men's and women's teams earned both championship titles on their home track. The Jumbo women recorded 203 points to hoist the team trophy for the first time since 1988 and earned their fourth overall NESCAC Championship en route to snapping Williams' 12-year streak of first-place showings. On the men's side, Tufts tallied 213 points, as it earned its third overall title and first since 2007 when it was co-champions with Williams.
The second- through fourth-place women's teams were separated by less than nine points as Middlebury (117.50) edged Colby (109.50) and Williams (109) for a runner-up finish. The Bates men claimed runner-up honors with 166 points followed by Middlebury in third (140) and Williams in fourth (108).
In the women's sprints, Amherst senior Naomi Bates (Washington, D.C.) has emerged as a candidate to possibly sweep the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as she owns the top league time in the 200 and the second-best time in the 100. She will contend with Colby senior Frances Onyilagha (Little Rock, Ark.), who is the defending champion in the 200, and Amherst first-year Karen Blake (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). Bates will be pushed in the 100 by Blake, who owns the NESCAC's fastest time, Tufts sophomore Alexis Harrison (Toms River, N.J.) and defending champion sophomore Alexis Walker (Oklahoma City, Okla.) of Wesleyan.
The long jump competition could be one of the most entertaining to watch on Saturday, as the field consists of a national champion and two former conference champions. Bates enters with the conference's top mark after having already won the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships held in March. Walker, last year's Rookie Most Outstanding Performer, enters the weekend as the reigning NESCAC long jump champion, while Tufts senior Jana Hieber (Goffstown, N.H.) was the 2012 NESCAC champion. Middlebury first-year Hannah Blackburn (Chapel Hill, N.C.) also joins the mix as the third seed. In the triple jump, Trinity junior Jenna Wilborne (New Haven, Conn.) leads the pack followed closely by a pair of Williams first-years Candice Dyce (Cambria Heights, N.Y.) and Chloe Rogers (Denver, Colo.).
Hieber aims to close out her collegiate career with her fourth NESCAC title in the 400-meter hurdles, an event in which she owns the conference's top time this year. She will be challenged by Williams first-year Alyza Ngbokoli (Yonkers, N.Y.) and Bates sophomore Elena Schroeder (Clinton, Conn.), who are ranked second and third, respectively. Hieber also boasts the NESCAC's fastest mark in the 400-meter dash and the second-best mark in the 100-meter hurdles. Colby sophomore Emily Doyle (Duxbury, Mass.) hopes to knock off Hieber to retain her title in the 400-meter dash, while Middlebury sophomore Alexandra Morris (London, U.K.) and Bates junior Sarah Fusco (Cheshire, Conn.) own the second- and third-best times, respectively. In the 100-meter hurdles, Hieber will battle top-seeded Tufts sophomore Marilyn Allen (Plansboro, N.J.) and third-seeded Williams sophomore Grace Weatherall (Ipswich, Mass.) in the race to the finish line.
New champions will be crowned in the remaining track events. The top three seeds, Middlebury junior Alison Maxwell (Port Angeles, Wash.), Connecticut College first-year Bella Franz (Water Mill, N.Y.) and Wesleyan sophomore Sydney Cogswell (Washington, D.C.), in the 800-meter run are separated by less than a second. Bates senior Kallie Nixon (Medfield, Mass.) holds the fastest times in the 1,500-meter run and 3,000-meter Steeplechase. Middlebury first-year Erzie Nagy (Albion, Maine) and Maxwell are right behind Nixon in the 1,500, while senior Brianne Mirecki (East Lyme, Conn.) of Williams and sophomore Alanna McDonough (Andover, Mass.) of Colby are seeded second and third in the steeplechase. Williams senior Kaleigh Kenny (Glen Rock, N.J.) leads the pack in the 5,000 meters followed by senior teammate Shayna Barbash (Bethesda, Md.) and Nixon. In the 10,000 meters, Hamilton sophomore Adrian Walsh (Bozeman, Mont.) paces the field in addition to Tufts seniors Lauren Creath (Corte Madera, Calif.) and Abby Barker (San Carlos, Calif.).
In the throws, Williams senior Amina Avril (Decatur, Ga.) looks to reclaim the NESCAC title in the hammer throw, having won the event in 2012, while adding discus and shot put crowns to her collection. Avril owns the top results in the discus and the hammer throw heading into the weekend, and is tied atop the shot put rankings with senior Sierra Livious (Kenner, La.) of Wesleyan, who is also seeded third in the hammer throw. Bowdoin senior Katherine Harmon (Auburn, Maine) is ranked second in the hammer throw and the discus, while junior Samantha Pevear (Somersworth, N.H.) is seeded third in the discus and Trinity sophomore Lily Talesnick (Littleton, Colo.) is seeded third in the shot put.
Tufts senior Robin Armstrong (North Attleboro, Mass.) looks to defend her title in the javelin throw, but will have to surpass 2012 NESCAC Champion Middlebury senior Lauren Pincus (Upper Montclair, N.J.), who boasts the top mark in the event. Others to compete for the crown include Colby senior Leigh Fryxell (Simsbury, Conn.) and Middlebury sophomore Carly Andersen (Mercer Island, Wash.).
Williams senior Jenna Adams (Littleton, Colo.) set a new NESCAC record in the pole vault last year en route to earning back-to-back crowns, and will be tested by Bowdoin junior Erin Silva (Westborough, Mass.) and 2011 NESCAC Champion Colby senior Brittany Reardon (Scituate, Mass.).
Bates junior Colby Gail (Topsham, Maine) returns as the defending champion in the high jump, but will face stiff competition from top-seeded Amherst first-year Kiana Herold (Sebastopol, Calif.) and Middlebury senior Laura Strom (Lopez Island, Wash.).
On the men's side, Colby sophomore Ethan Druskat (Durham, N.H.) turned in the fastest time of the season in the 100-meter dash last weekend, while defending champion Middlebury senior Bryan Holtzman (Sudbury, Mass.) is seeded second and Bates first-year Colin Kraft (Northborough, Mass.) is seeded third.
Junior LaDarius Drew (Mesquite, Texas) of Wesleyan enters the weekend as the top seed in the 200-meter dash. He will contend with defending event champion Tufts senior Graham Beutler (Weston, Conn.), who is the second seed, and Amherst senior Matt Melton (Wall Township, N.J.), who is the third seed. Beutler, the 2013 NESCAC Most Outstanding Co-Performer, also looks to repeat as the 400-meter dash champion, but will have to overtake Middlebury first-year Alex Nichols (Brunswick, Maine). Joining the fray is Melton and 2012 champion Middlebury senior Peter Hetzler (Rumson, N.J.).
Middlebury senior Kevin Chu (Burlington, Vt.) hopes to earn his third straight title in the 110-meter hurdles, and heads into Saturday with a NESCAC-best time. He will be challenged by senior Jarret McKallagat (Atkinson, N.H.) of Bates and sophomore Reid Pryzant (Falmouth, Maine) of Williams. In the 400-meter hurdles, McKallagat owns the third-best time behind Middlebury junior Jake Wood (Manitou Springs, Colo.) and Trinity junior Geoff Bocobo (Philadelphia, Pa.).
In the 800-meter run, junior Mark McCauley (Cumberland, Maine) of Bates aims to earn back-to-back crowns. He will have to knock off 2013 NESCAC Rookie Most Outstanding Performer Tufts sophomore Mitch Black (Brunswick, Maine), who turned in the league's top time last weekend. Other contenders include Jumbo sophomore Veer Bhalla (West Windsor, N.J.) and Colby senior Matt White (Wellesley, Mass.), who are ranked second and third, respectively.
New champions will be crowned in the remaining four distance events. A pair of Williams sophomores, Colin Cotton (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Bijan Mazaheri (Wellesley, Mass.) sit in first and second in the 5,000 meters followed by Middlebury junior Kevin Wood (Lincolnshire, Ill.) in third. Sophomore Adam Pfander (Beacon, N.Y.) of Hamilton leads the field in the 10,000 meters. He will be joined by senior Andrew Shapero (Laguna Beach, Calif.) of Tufts and junior Avery Wentworth (Annapolis, Md.) of Bowdoin, who rank second and third, respectively. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, defending NCAA Champion Connecticut College senior Michael LeDuc (Canton, Conn.) headlines the field. His biggest challengers look to be Tufts senior Ben Wallis (Dover, N.H.) and Bowdoin senior James Boeding (Millerton, N.Y.). The 1,500-meter run features a competitive field that includes top-seed Tufts senior Jamie Norton (Groton, Mass.). Middlebury senior Wilder Schaaf (Ashland, Ore.) looks to contend for the title as well as the second seed followed by LeDuc.
In the high jump, first-year Youle Chen (Qingdao, China) of Williams and junior Taylor Shortsleeve (Medfield, Mass.) of Middlebury have posted identical marks followed by junior Eric Wainman (Glastonbury, Conn.).
Bates senior John Wisener (Ridgewood, N.J.) leads the pole vault field followed by Middlebury senior Jason McCallum (San Diego, Calif.) and Tufts senior David Sutherland (Queenstown, Md.).
In the jumps, junior Mark Cort (Brooklyn, N.Y.) of Amherst, first-year Yosa Nosamiefan (Boston, Mass.) of Trinity and sophomore Nolan Raimo (Marblehead, Mass.) of Williams are the top three contenders for the long jump crown. Trinity first-year Aman Stuppard (Mattapan, Mass.) leads the triple jump field with Amherst sophomore Khalil Flemming (Lynn, Mass.) and Beutler right behind him.
Bates junior Sean Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.) aims to win titles in the discus, hammer throw and shot put as the top seed in each event. Tufts junior Brian Williamson (Prairie Village, Kan.) is the second seed in the hammer throw and the shot put, while junior Atticus Swett (Bow, N.H.) comes in as the third seed in the discus and shot put. Sophomore Rudy Pandora (Lewiston, Maine) of Bates hopes to contend in the discus as the second seed, while junior Cameron Woodford (Minot, Maine) of Bowdoin looks to challenge in the hammer throw as the third seed. In the javelin, Amherst junior Josiah Terrell-Perica (Dunwoody, Ga.) boasts the top throw. Behind him is Tufts first-year Nick Usoff (Acton, Mass.) as the No. 2 seed and Bowdoin sophomore Andrew Murowchick (Needham, Mass.) as the No. 3 seed.
A live webcast of track events will be available for the first time at nsnsports.net/NESCAC. Results from the 2014 NESCAC Track & Field Championships will be posted at the conclusion of the meet at nescac.com.