In the 4×800 that opened a long day of competition in the Essex Invitational, Milton track coach Ryan Hayes didn’t want his distance runners to burns themselves out but did want them to finish in the top six to qualify for the New England Championships. That challenge was made far simpler when Yoder, whose relay leg was his only event Saturday, came up with a breakthrough race to send Milton on its way to Durham, N.H. Yoder’s fastest 800 before Essex were a pair of 2:10 races earlier in May, but on Saturday he ran his leg in 2:03. Mike McNeil followed with another personal-best on the second leg, leaving Zach Popke and Michael Ferro ample breathing room to bring the baton home in fourth.