On Saturday, the men’s track and field team competed in the George Davis Invitational at UMass Lowell, an unscored meet featuring New England schools from all three divisions.
The presence of NESCAC teams such as Conn. College, as well as strong Div. I schools like Boston University, meant that the meet was a chance for Tufts to see how it could perform against various levels of competition.
The lone first place finish on the day for the Jumbos came from junior Mitchell Stallman in the pole vault. Stallman jumped 13′ 1 1/2″, tying his personal-best jump and earning the first win of his career.
“This was my first time placing first at a college meet, and it caught my coach and me by surprise” Stallman said. “I had just matched my indoor [personal record] of [13′ 1 1/2″] and suddenly was the only one left vaulting, which usually doesn’t happen at that height.”
The jump qualified Stallman for both the NESCAC and Div. III Championships, but as expected, he isn’t completely satisfied.
“It was obviously a good feeling, but I have to keep it in perspective,” Stallman said. “We have NESCACs coming up, and the other vaulters [and I] need to be putting up some bigger heights to get the points we need at that meet. In the end, [13′ 1/2″] was a good height to hit at this meet, but it’s no time to get complacent.”
Senior David Sutherland finished tied for second in pole vault with a jump of 12′ 7 1/2″, rounding out an excellent day for the Jumbo vaulters.
The Jumbos weren’t done posting impressive performance in field events, however.
In triple jump, Tufts claimed spots three through seven on the final leaderboard. In a change of pace, All-American senior sprinter Graham Beutler competed in the triple jump and finished third with a jump of 43′ 3 1/4″, while sophomore Mitchell Black, moonlighting from his day job as a middle distance runner, placed fourth with a jump of 41′ 9 1/4″.
“The other jumpers were extremely helpful and supportive in the input they gave me, helping me fix my form and getting up my confidence” Beutler said.
Freshman Jarad Asselin, senior Ned DeLeo, and senior Andrew Osborne finished directly behind Black, with jumps of 41′ 1/4″, 39 7 3/4″, and 39′ 6″, respectively.
“The wind was helpful … we had a tailwind, which gave a nice boost to the approach on the runway,” Beutler said.
Junior Brian Williamson had two strong performances for the Jumbos, earning a pair of third-place finishes in throwing events. In the hammer throw, Williamson threw a distance of 161′ 4″, and in shot-put he finished with a distance of 50′.
On the track, the best event for the Jumbos was the 5,000-meter run. Freshman Luke O’Connor finished second with a time of 15:12.75. Directly behind O’Connor in third and fourth places were senior Ben Wallis and freshman Tim Nichols, with times of 15:15.33 and 15:15.66, respectively. Overall, Tufts placed six runners in the top nine in the event.
The Jumbos had several successful performances in the sprinting and mid-distance events, with sophomore sprinter Francis Goins finishing second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.3, and senior Jamie Norton running a 1:56.82 in the 800 to take fourth place.
The team has one more week before the NESCAC Championship at Colby, so this time of the season is all about training to peak at the right time.
“We’re focusing in practice, preparing for each day as if it were a competition … and putting in the repetitions, while also trying to stay healthy,” Stallman said. “But, in the end, the work has been done. Our whole team is hitting [its] peak now and after a year of hard work, I’m confident that our team will unleash [its] potential and put on a good show come championship season.”
The Jumbos will have a chance for a final tune-up before NESCACs this upcoming weekend, when most of the team will compete in the Sean Collier Invitational at MIT on Saturday.