Track runs to records, titles at Eastern States

The 86th running of the Eastern States Championships saw Big Red boast record-breaking times, a pair of titles and nation-leading time.

Brian Muldoon
February 19, 2020
Phillips Exeter Academy Track Varun Oberai

Varun Oberai '21 earned an Eastern States title with a win in the boys one-mile run, posting a personal-best time of 4:23.36.

Big Red’s exciting week continued Tuesday night as 21 members of the track and field team enjoyed a thrilling night of competition at the 86th running of the Eastern State Championships.

The meet, which was run at the historic New Balance Armory in New York City, features some of the top competition in the country, and Big Red proved to be among the best.

Sam Kim ’20, Jinwoo Kang ’20, Connor Chen ’21 and Will Coogan ’20 teamed up to win the 4x800 relay with the top time in the country this season, 7:48.81. All four runners relay splits were under 1:59 led by Coogan, who ran a blistering time of 1:54.18 in the anchor leg. Their time is just two seconds off of the 20-year-old school record time of 7:46.64 held by Terry Panetta ’00, Nat Harding ’00, Ross Tucker ’01, and Rob Hulick ’00, who were national champions in the event.

The girls 4x200 relay team were record-setters as well. Ajufo Ifeoma ’22, Evie Houston ’21, Audrey Malila ’21 and Marymegan Wright ’21 set a school-best mark with a time of 1:46.71, topping the four-year-old record held by Sydney McKiernan ’17, Grace Pratt ’17, Marisa Ngbemeneh ’16 and Bridget Higgins ’16.

Varun Oberai ’21 continued his excellent season and captured an Eastern States title in the mile. Oberai ran a personal-best time of 4:23.36, topping the second-place finisher by just over a second.

Wright posted a pair of top-30 finishes to go along with her record-setting effort in the 4x200 relay. She advanced to the semifinals in both the 55m dash, where she finished 18th overall with a time of 7.47, and in the 55m hurdles, where she came in at 9.03. It was the same on the boys side for Drew Smith ’21. Smith placed 13th overall in the 55m dash with a time of 6.68 while placing 20th in the 55m hurdles, crossing at 7.96. Matthew Wabunoha ’20 earned a ninth-place finish in the 55m hurdles with a time of 7.75, just missing the final.

It is a busy end of the season for both the boys and girls squads as they will travel to Harvard for the USATF-New England Championships on Sunday before heading back to New York City for Nationals on March 12.