Tufts continued its impressive season by finishing in third place out of 11 teams in the eight-kilometer NESCAC Championship race at Wesleyan this past Saturday.
Tufts scored 99 points, losing out to first place Williams, who scored 36 points, and second place Amherst, who registered 61 points. Points are tallied by adding the places of the top five runners from each school. Rounding out the top five were Hamilton and Middlebury in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Leading the Jumbos were juniors Tim Nichols and Luke O’Connor. Nichols finished in fifth place out of 129 total runners in a blistering 25:08.97 while O’Connor finished right behind him in sixth place, with a time of 25:10.94.
“Tim and Luke both ran great races,” first-year Christian Swenson said. “They have been leading our team all season, and it was great to see them run so well today.”
Sophomore Ty Enos came in third for the Jumbos and 20th overall, finishing in a time of 25:57.01. Following him was senior co-captain James Traester in 34th place overall, completing the eight-kilometer course in a time of 26:19.06. Rounding out the scoring for the Jumbos was senior co-captain Michael Curley, who finished in 36th place overall, with a time of 26:20.58.
“Ty had an incredible race,” first-year Dylan Jones said. “This is a hard course and it was great to see him set such a great personal record. He’s had a great season, and I think he’s only going to get even better from here on out.”
In addition to the runners who scored points for the team, many younger Jumbos ran outstanding races. Swenson finished in 61st place with a time of 26:44.41, and classmate Mathew McDermott came in 69th place, finishing in a time of 26:51.81. Jones completed the race in a time of 27:11.30, good for an impressive 81st place. Sophomores Samuel Little and John Greenberg came in 92nd and 97th place, with times of 27:32.59 and 27:37.39, respectively.
“I was really proud of our whole team [because] there are a lot of underclassmen on this team, and to see us all able to compete and able to race well in a meet this big is a huge confidence builder,” Swenson said. “We’ve been training all season for races like this, and it was great to see us go out there and get third place in a race that some people were saying we might not do as well in.”
In the Oct. 14 rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, Tufts was ranked 24th nationally in Div. III, behind Amherst, Williams, Bates and Wesleyan. Amherst, the favorite going into the race, ranked second in the country while Williams was ranked seventh, Bates was 19th and Wesleyan was 22nd. Tufts was quickly followed by Colby at 29th and Hamilton at 31st. But after the Jumbos’ strong showing this past weekend, they will most likely see their place in the rankings rise.
The team, however, is not overly concerned with rankings and believes that its approach to each race will continue to be the same.
“[The rankings] won’t change anything,” Swenson said. “We’re still going go out and try our hardest…and hopefully beat everyone regardless of [whether] they are ranked higher or lower than us.”
The Jumbos’ next race will be the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship at Williams on Saturday, Nov. 7.