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Season Preview: Men's Track & Field Prepped for 2019 Outdoor Slate

Liam Lynch
Liam Lynch

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College men's outdoor track & field team returns to competition with the season slated to begin in earnest on Friday, March 29. The distance events of the Danny Curran Invitational will be hosted on Friday, beginning at 5 p.m with action continuing on Saturday with middle distance events, sprints, and jumps.

The Fords were picked to finish second in the Centennial Conference preseason coaches' poll, picking up 57 overall voting points, in addition to one first place tally. Haverford has never finished below second at the Centennial Conference meet and expects to continue that record of success with a strong group of returning leadership.

The Fords also were ranked 10th in the preseason release of the USTFCCCA Division III National Ratings Index, with notable performances from a season ago propelling Haverford into the spotlight. The national prominence of Haverford last outdoor season was attributed to Greg Morgan (1,500 meters) and Graham Peet (steeplechase) each taking home All-America finishes in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The pair of seniors certainly seems poised to repeat those feats in 2019, while senior Liam Lynch also returns from a season in which he qualified for the national meet in the 800 meters. In addition to those NCAA performances, the trio all won their respective events at the Centennial Conference Outdoor Championships at Ursinus.

Senior Ryan Herlihy took home silver in the 10,000 meters a season ago, while Scott Pollara and Lynch are also returners from a silver-medal winning 4x400 meter relay squad. Peet added a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters while also capturing the aforementioned steeplechase gold and figures to contend in the event yet again.

Senior Kofi Acheampong will also look to take aim at the Haverford record books in the 100m and 200m dashes in his first outdoor season after making his mark in the 60-meter dash in the indoor season. Acheampong's indoor personal-best is just one-hundredth of a second off of the Haverford College record. Senior Oscar Huang figures to be a scorer for the Fords in those sprints, while Lynch and senior Zach Oji are contenders in the 400 meters.

In field events, first year Ethan Gadra's indoor pole vault success was on display in the indoor season, posting a jump of 4.25 meters (13'-11.25") at the Centennial Conference meet, good for the third-best individual mark in program history. Greg Van Aken also returns for his senior season after figuring into the scoring for Haverford at the outdoor meet a season ago. A group that includes Cameron Albrecht, Chris Glazer, Andrew Lummus, Zach Oji, Rohan Shuka, and Silvan Sooksatan will compete in the long jump, high jump, and triple jumps.

More recently, Haverford is coming off of a 19th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boston, as senior Greg Morgan captured the indoor national championship in the 3,000 meters earlier this month. Morgan's feat represented the second consecutive 3,000-meter champion for the Fords, and Haverford became the first program in Division III history to achieve that particular feat. Morgan compiled both the top 3,000-meter mark as well as the top mile mark in the nation during the 2018-19 indoor campaign. Morgan was the standout for the Fords in the indoor season, capturing the 3,000-meter national championship while also being named the USTFCCCA Mideast Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and the Centennial Conference Outstanding Indoor Track Performer.

In total, Haverford had four individual event champions at the Centennial indoor meet at Franklin & Marshall, with Morgan (mile), Peet (3,000 meters; 5,000 meters) and Lynch (400 meters) all taking home gold. The men's DMR squad of seniors Chris Goings, Ian Woodhouse, Morgan, and junior Hiroshi Kawakatsu also claimed the event title in Lancaster.

Haverford will compete in three meets at Widener in the early goings, with a distance contingent also heading to the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton on April 19. Haverford hosts its annual midweek invitational on Monday, April 22 before the Penn Relays slated for April 25-27.

Muhlenberg hosts the Centennial Championships from May 3-5. The NCAA Championships are slated for the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, from May 23-25.