The men’s indoor track and field team is off to a strong start, playing well and looking competitive for the conference title, according to head coach John Izzo.

Even though they have not yet participated in any competitions that involve team scoring, three individuals and one relay team have already met the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship qualification standards.

The ECAC is composed of 104 colleges on the east coast. Reaching the championships is the second-best achievement the athletes can attain at this point in the season. Several athletes have qualified for the state championships.

“On the whole, I am pleased with the progress so far,” Izzo said. “We are in pretty decent mid-season form.”

So far, the team has competed in three competitions. They have a few scoring meets coming up in the future, but the real goals they are looking toward are the state, ECAC and national championships.

“The team has competed well in our first few meets of the season,” captain and senior Matt Tierney said. “Our performances have been very good across the board.”

At Saturday’s invitational at the Rochester Institute of Technology, freshman Malik Sams finished third in the 55-meter hurdles with an ECAC qualifying time of 8.08. Sophomore Eric Scheele won the shot put event with a throw of 14.82 meters, also qualifying for ECAC championships. Tierney qualified last week at UR’s Snowflake Invitational, but he bettered his time this week, winning the 500-meter and clocking in at 1:07.53. The 4×200-meter relay team also qualified with a winning time of 1:33.95.

The 4×400-meter relay team won their event with a time of 3:32.32, missing the qualifying time by just four seconds. Other notable performances on Saturday came from freshman Marquis Turner, who finished second in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.66 – the qualifying time is 6.64 – and third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.65 and freshman Dan Chebot, who placed third in the 3,000 with a time of 9:00.58 – the qualifying time is 9:00.24.

“I’m very happy with a lot of our freshmen athletes,” Izzo said. “They are performing quite admirably.”

“Our team is deeper than it has been in my four years here, as we can now score points in every event,” Tierney said. “A large reason for this is the freshman class, which is very talented and has shown a lot of potential in the first few meets. I look for big things from them, as well as the upperclassmen, when it comes time to step up during the championship season.”

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