AMHERST, Mass. – The 2018 track and field season has arrived, and the Amherst men's team is primed for success both indoors and outdoors as they return a strong veteran presence that helped secure three top-ten finishes a year ago.
Leading the charge this year will be first year Head Coach Stephen Rubin, who brings 25 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Pioneer Valley. Rubin has won NCAA National Championships at the Division I and Division III levels, and was most recently the assistant track and field coach at the University of North Carolina.
The 2018 indoor schedule kicks off this Saturday at Wesleyan University with the Little III Championship. The next two weekends see Amherst travelling to Smith College and then to Tufts University on back to back occasions to end January and begin February.
The Division 3 New England Championships are on February 17th at Middlebury College, and the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships will be on March 9th and 10th in Birmingham, Alabama.
A strong contingent of the members of Amherst's successful relay teams will all return this year, including the distance medley squad of Ralph Skinner '20, Estevan Velez '20, Alexander Mangiafico '20 and Spencer Ferguson-Dryden '20, a group that finished in seventh place in last year's Division III New England Championships in a time of 10:26.96.
The 4x800 team took eighth place at that same meet, and three members of that squad will be back, including Kristian Sogaard '19, Jacob Silverman '19 and Vernon Espinoza '19, though he will be moving down to focus on the 400 this year.
Rounding out the relay squads is the group of 4x400 runners, who claimed 13th place at the 2017 DIII Championships. David Ingraham '18 will be a part of that squad again, and he and Espinoza look to be joined by JD Dunwell '20 and Ryan Prenosil '21. Theo Bates '20 and Harrison Haigood '18 were part of last year's 4x400 relay team and will provide depth at that race for the Mammoths.
MIDDLE & LONG DISTANCE
Sogaard returns after posting an All-American sixth place performance in the 800-meter run at last year's Division III Outdoor Championships.
Also back for the Mammoths are Cosmo Brossy '19 and Clark Ricciardelli '20, fresh off of top-8 finishes from last year's NEICAAA Championships. Brossy took eighth overall with a time of 14:41.14 in the 5000-meter run, while Ricciardelli took third in the 10,000-meters in 31:02.95.
Joining Sogaard in the top-twenty of the 800-meter at that meet were returners Espinoza and Ferguson-Dryden, while Sogaard and Ferguson-Dryden finished 16th and 26th, respectively in the one-mile run at the NEICAA Indoor Championships in 2017.
In distance running at the NEICAA event, Brossy took sixth place in the 5000-meter run in a time of 15:01.51, while Tucker Meijer '19 (9th place) and Justin Barry '18 (22nd) will also be back in the blocks for the Mammoths this year.
Mohamed Hussein '18 also features in the group of distance runners who this fall took 4th place at the NCAA Cross Country Nationals, the best finish ever for the program.
Amherst sophomore Theo Bates will return to defend a 4th place finish from his freshman year in the 60-meter hurdles.
Elijah Nbokoli '20 was the top sprinter for the Mammoths last season, running the 60-meter dash in 7.21 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 23.21 seconds at the DIII Indoor Championships.
Ingraham finished in 12th place at the event in the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.24.
Amherst's top thrower Sam Amaka '19 comes back to the squad this year looking to improve upon a 13th place showing in the weight throw at last year's New England Division 3 championships., where Amherst finished 15th of 26 competing schools.
Amaka took sixth place in the shot put at Amherst's home event last year, throwing a distance of 12.32m in the finals.
Amherst's new class will boost their sprint squads, with first years Ryan Prenosil, Kyland Smith and Andrew Swenson, while adding Billy Massey, Jamie Mazzola, and Braxton Schuldt as middle or distance runners.