Then-junior sprinter Niticon Davis competes at the Tufts Stampede on Jan. 30, 2016. (Alex Knapp / The Tufts Daily)

Jumbos show speed at first of two home meets

Over the weekend, the Jumbos hosted the Tufts Stampede Invitational, during which the team finished sixth out of nine teams after day one. Tufts runners also earned a handful of nationally-ranking times, most notably senior distance runner Tim Nichols’ then-first-in-the-nation 3000-meter time.

On Saturday, the Jumbos dominated the 3000-meter event. Nichols ran the event in 8:21.51, earning him first place in the event and ranking him first in the nation at the time of the meet. His time was quickly surpassed by RPI senior Benjamin Fazio, who now holds the lead in the event by just three-tenths of a second. Senior tri-captain distance runner Luke O’Connor ran the same event in 8:24.21, the then-third-fastest time in the nation. Both runners broke the Tufts school record for the 3,000-meter, a long-standing record previously held by David Patterson (LA ’01).

Nichols attributes his times to his increase in mileage during training and his healthy regimen.

“There’s not too much different in my training except for more mileage,” Nichols said. “I’ve really just been trying to avoid injury and stay on top of my work and sleep.”

Sophomore thrower/hurdler Henry Hintermeister took first place in the heptathlon on Saturday, coming back from a lackluster start on Friday. Hintermeister was only in sixth place on Friday with 2,370 points, but he put in a strong performance on Saturday to get 1,849 points from three events, earning a combined total of 4,219 points. Hintermeister’s final score was enough for first place at the event and currently puts him ranked 15th in the nation for the hepthathlon.

Other nationally-ranking performances include the 4×400 relay team, consisting of senior tri-captain Nick Usoff, senior Blake Coolidge, junior Andrew DiMaiti and first-year William Witrock, with their 25th-ranked time of 3:25.50. Sophomore hurdler/jumper Josh Etkind finished first with a time of 8.40 in the 60-meter hurdles.

In addition to the nationally-ranked times, the Jumbos as a whole performed well at the Invitational. Sophomore mid-distance runner Hiroto Watanabe, continuing his great form from the last meets, recorded a 1:22.35 in the 600-meter to win the event. First-year long sprinter Jordan Abate secured a first place finish in the 400-meter with a time of 51.42, and sophomore mid-distance runner Colin Raposo won the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:32.10.

With so much success and many nation-topping times in the early season, track and field looks ready to rival the success of last year. Last season’s team ranked highly in a plethora of events and meets such as their second place finish in the NESCAC and their sixth place finish in the NEICAAA Championships. The team was also made up of some of the best runners the program has ever seen, with runners like Mitchell Black (LA ’16), who won the NCAA 800-meter Championships two years in a row and received multiple All-American honors. The track and field Jumbos of 2017 seem to be carrying on the legacy of success last year’s team left behind.

O’Connor attributes the team’s success to simply being consistent with self-care and training.

“Overall, it’s been taking care of the little things,” O’Connor said. “[Things like] taking it easy when appropriate, icing, sleeping right or keeping with form work. That stuff has kept people healthy through extended periods and helped give them that edge.”

The Jumbos will host the Cupid Invitational on Saturday, and O’Connor thinks the team is ready to face the challenge.

“I think a lot of people have been on the upswing,” O’Connor said. “Whether they are improving their approach or finally getting up to full speed, guys are ready for big marks when they get after it.”

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