The men’s track and field team traveled to MIT on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 to compete at the New England Division III Track and Field Championships.
The first school record of the meet was broken by Troy Colleran ’22 in the heptathlon with a score of 4713 points, improving 317 points upon his previous personal best of the season. On the first day of the meet, Colleran opened competition with a personal best in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.30 seconds. Next, in the long jump, Colleran registered 6.65 meters.
Colleran entered day two with a time of 9.10 seconds — another personal best — in the 60-meter hurdles a fourth personal best in the pole vault with a jump of 3.90 meters. In the 1,000-meter run, the last and most difficult event of the day, Colleran set a superb personal best by 10 seconds in the event, running the race in 2:59. By the end of the meet, Colleran finished in second place in a competitive field and currently sits 16th nationally, which, as it stands, would qualify for Nationals where the top 20 athletes in Division III compete.
“It felt good to get rolling day one with a PR in the 60 and a good shot [put throw] and long jump, but was kind of stressful when I lost all the points I had gained in the high jump,” Colleran said. “But I knew day two was going to be where I made up the most points.”
Colleran is the first athlete from Amherst to ever compete in the heptathlon. Originally recruited as a jumper, Colleran was encouraged to try competing in the multi-event sport by head coach Steve Rubin.
“It’s been really fun to bring back the multis to Amherst and especially to work with athletes like [Colleran] who are at the beginning stages of learning so many events,” Rubin said. “The progression just through this first indoor season has been incredible, so the future looks exciting.”
The next school record of the day came from fellow first year Henry Buren in the 60-meter dash. This is Buren’s third time breaking the Amherst record in the 60 meters. On Saturday, Buren broke his previous record of 7.14 seconds by 0.07 seconds, clocking a time of 7.07 seconds. Buren placed 10th overall, just missing out on a spot in the eight-person final.
Coming into Amherst, Buren, a Missouri native, had never run on an indoor track.“I had no idea what I was capable of,” Buren said. “So breaking indoor records was not on my mind coming into the indoor season. My coaches’ planning and training set me up for success and I just went out there and ran.”
The last record of the day came from senior Sam Amaka. Amaka started his college career as a running back on the Amherst football team, playing during his first and second years. After his second year, Amaka began focusing on the throwing events. That choice has paid off – Amaka broke the Amherst record in the weight throw with a throw of 17.58 meters, which earned him sixth place at the meet.
“He has been training hard for months but just recently learned how to control his mindset and allow his body to respond to his thoughts,” coach Kadine Johnson said. “Once that clicked, he was unstoppable.”
Amherst placed seventh out of 23 competing teams at the event, registering 46 points. MIT, the hosts of the meet, finished the competition in a runaway first, scoring 164 points, a total more than double the nearest competitor.
The Mammoths will next travel to the Tufts Last Chance Meet on March 2, where a number of athletes will try and turn in times to qualify for the Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships.