Last week, seven members of the men’s track and field team competed at the Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Field Center in Boston. The two-day meet saw the Mammoths compete in the heptathlon, the 800-meter race, the 5,000-meter race and the distance medley relay.
Heptathlete Troy Colleran ’22 was the first to compete for the Mammoths. Colleran entered the competition as the 18th seed out of 20, and only one of three first years in the field. His first event of the seven-event heptathlon was the 60-meter dash, which he ran in a time of 7.39. Next was the long jump, where he matched his personal best with a jump of 6.65 meters. He then threw the shot put 10.60 meters, and closed off competition for the day in the high jump with 1.89 meters. At the conclusion of the first day, Colleran sat in ninth place.
Kristian Sogaard ’19 then competed in the 800 meters for the fifth consecutive time at the DIII Championships, and just missed making the eight-person final, crossing the line with a time of 1:53.52 in the preliminary round to place 10th overall.
Clark Ricciardelli ’20E raced in the final of the 5,000 meters. In cross country races, Ricciardelli is known for working his way up through the race, often starting the race far behind the leaders. He did exactly the opposite at the Reggie Track, taking the lead from the start of the race.
Commenting on his race strategy, Ricciardelli said, “I wanted to take the lead early to keep the pace honest and it ended up paying off.”
Cheered on by a spirited group of Amherst fans, he led most of the race before being overtaken by favorite Dhruvil Patel of North Central College. Ricciardelli powered through the remaining laps of the race to place second, his highest ever finish at Nationals. His finish also made him a four-Time All-American, a remarkable achievement.
Next to compete was the men’s distance medley relay, composed of Spencer Ferguson-Dryden ’20, Ryan Prenosil ’21, Ralph Skinner ’20 and Cosmo Brossy ’19 running the relay legs of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters, respectively. This marked the second year in a row the men’s distance medley relay team qualified for Nationals; they placed ninth last year and just missing out on All-American honors, which are given to the top eight finishers in an event.
Ferguson-Dryden kicked off the action with a strong 1,200 meters, handing off to Prenosil in the middle of the pack. The sophomore, competing at his second Indoor Nationals, ran an excellent leg, running it in 49.07 seconds to hand off to Skinner with the team in fifth place. Skinner ran a phenomenal 800 meters for the Mammoths, notching a time of 1:54 to hand off in fourth place to anchor leg Brossy. The senior took the team home, running 4:11 for his leg and never relinquishing his place to secure the All-American honors that they had so narrowly missed the year before. This marked the first time all four members of the Amherst’s relay earned All-American honors.
Colleran wrapped up competition for the Mammoths on Saturday with day two of the heptathlon, competing in the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run.
In the hurdles, he ran a time of 9.12 seconds, very close to his personal best time of 9.10 seconds. In the pole vault, he had several clutch clearances, clearing 3.55 meters on his last attempt, and cleared his next heights of 3.65 meters, 3.75 meters and 3.85 meters on his first attempts. After missing three attempts at what would have been a personal best height of 3.95 meters, he bowed out of the pole vault competition.
He finished off his heptathlon with an incredible finish in the 1,000-meter run, closing the five-lap race with a personal best of 2:51. Colleran ended the competition in 12th place overall, with a personal best point total of 4,750 points. He improved upon his seed by six places, a solid performance for the first year.
With the points earned by the men’s distance medley relay and Ricciardelli’s runner-up finish in the 5,000 meters, the Mammoths placed 13th as a team with 13 points. Next up, the Mammoths will return to the outdoor track and field season with the Snowflake Invitational hosted by Tufts University on March 30.