Fords defend outdoor track & field title
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Haverford College's men's outdoor track & field team defended its Centennial Conference title by capturing the 2013 championship Sunday afternoon at Patterson Field on the campus of Ursinus College. Junior Christopher Stadler was named the meet's outstanding track performer after winning the 10,000-meter run Friday night and the 5,000m Sunday afternoon.
A 31-point swing in the 5,000m results moved the Fords from 15.5 behind Johns Hopkins University to 15.5 points ahead in the three-day meet's final individual event. Not even a disqualification in the final relay could prevent Haverford, which did finish sixth in that 4x400 relay, from earning the team title which it won with 182 points to outdistance runner-up Johns Hopkins by 9.5 points. Host Ursinus was third with 107 points.
The Fords entered the final day of the championship trailing Hopkins but opened Sunday by slicing into the deficit with a win in the 4x100 relay. Haverford's Jeffrey Ainsley, Sam Callon, Jonathan Yellets and James Torain raced to the title, 0.22 seconds in front of the Hopkins quartet.
The team lead would change hands after the 1,500-meter run in which the Fords would earn four of the eight scoring spots including Jordan Schilit's win and Charlie Marquardt's second-place finish. Michael Riccio was fifth and Ivo Milic-Strkalj was seventh to help Haverford forge a 6.5 point advantage over the Blue Jays.
Ainsley improved the margin for the Fords in the next event by running to second place in the 110m hurdles with a career-best time of 15.51 seconds.
The Blue Jays cut into the advantage in the 400 with two runners in the top eight but Yellets' fourth-place finish helped Haverford hold onto the lead for another event. Hopkins erased the deficit, however, with three scorers in the 100m dash to move in front by 1.5 points.
The lead grew after the 800 as Hopkins earned a first, third and seventh place in the event while a Haverford foursome slipped back in the placings. Marquardt was fourth for Haverford with Gebby Keny in fifth, Schilit in sixth and Milic-Strkalj in eighth.
After the Blue Jays moved ahead by 10.5 points following the 400 hurdles, a strong showing by a trio of Fords in the 200 cut two points away from the deficit. Callon finished fourth, Ainsley was seventh and Yellets was eighth. Gibby Graves' career-best leap of 13.86 meters (45 feet, 5.75 inches) was good for second place in the triple jump, but Hopkins finished with a third, fourth and fifth place to increase its lead to 15.5 points with the 5,000 and the relay remaining on the event list.
Early on in the 5,000 a trio of runners broke from the pack led by Dickinson College's Andrew Fine. Haverford's Peter Kissin and Stadler were the other two in the lead pack and sat on Fine's shoulder, content to allow the Red Devil to labor with the lead.
Two-thirds of the way through the race the Haverford duo made their move and broke past Fine on either side entering a curve, ending the Dickinson threat to the event title.
Behind the front trio another battle was being waged as three more Fords settled in with a larger pack sprinkled with several of Fine's teammates and a pair of Hopkins runners.
As Kissin and Stadler improved their lead over the final third of the race, the second pack began to spread out and the trio of Fords made their move. Avi Bregman moved to the front of the pack with teammates David Roza and Brian Sokas in tow.
Stadler had pulled away from Kissin in the final laps while Bregman raced past Fine into third. Roza passed Fine on the final lap and Sokas overtook the lead Hopkins runner on the final backstretch. By the time the finish line came upon the runners Stadler had set a Centennial championship record with a winning time of 14:39.85, Kissin was 10 seconds back in second with Bregman close behind in third and Roza a step behind in fourth. Sokas held on for sixth to help Haverford score 32 points in the event to just two for Hopkins as the Fords clinched the team title with the 31 point turnaround.
The 4x400 foursome of Keny, Torain, Dorvil Gabriel and Callon was sixth while the Blue Jays' quartet was second, but the differential wasn't near enough after the stunning turn-about in the 5,000.
Haverford, ranked ninth in the most recent United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association computer poll, continues its postseason with the Tuppeny Meet on Monday, May 13 hosted by Swarthmore College at Widener University.