Tufts wins fifth Div. III New England title

2/20/16 – Cambridge, MA – Sophomore Josh Etkind hurdles on Feb. 20, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts hosted the New England Div. III Championships at Gantcher Center on Friday and Saturday. Tufts won the event with a total of 127 points and boasted a 35-point gap from second-place Williams. Tufts even beat out MIT, ranked No. 2 in the nation. This was also the Jumbos’ fifth Division III New England Indoor Championship, their first since 2008, and many runners broke school records along with the victory.

“We really tried to prioritize [New Englands] this indoor season,” senior tri-captain distance runner Luke O’Connor said. “It was nice to come together as a team to compete this early in the semester.”

On Friday, sophomore thrower/hurdler Henry Hintermeister competed in the heptathlon. He earned a total of 4,481 points in the event to finish fourth in the race and posted personal records (PRs) in six out of the seven events. Hintermeister’s success set the tone for the rest of the meet.

On Saturday, junior hurdler Peter Clark won the 60-meter dash in 6.99 seconds, breaking the school record for the event. The record was previously held by senior sprinter Blake Coolidge, who broke it earlier this season with a time of seven seconds flat. Interestingly, Clark was only seeded ninth for the event, but won despite the low seeding. Sophomore mid-distance runner Hiroto Watanabe won the 800-meter with a 1:54.13, just beating out Middlebury junior distance runner James Mulliken, who ran the event in 1:54.16. Watanabe’s time currently ranks ninth nationally. First-year sprinter Robert Jones placed eighth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.13 seconds. Jones broke the first-year record for the 60-meter in the preliminaries with a time of 7.09 seconds and then ran the second fastest first-year time in the finals. Junior hurdler Andrew DiMiati also came away with a victory, winning the 600-meter with a time of 1:21.25.

Tufts also had a slew of second-place finishes to go along with its large number of first-place victories. Sophomore hurdler/jumper Josh Etkind ran an 8.28 in the 60-meter hurdle event, placing second and bringing his national ranking to 15th. O’Connor ran a 14:55.54 in the 5,000-meter to come in second in the race. The distance medley relay team, consisting of sophomores Colin Raposo and Christian Swenson and first-years Jordan Abate and Jackson Mihm also came in second with a time of 10:22.54.

The Jumbos had success in the field events as well. Junior jumper Stefan Duvivier cleared 6-foot-8-inch in the high jump to win the event. Junior jumper Linus Gordon finished second in the long jump with a 23-foot jump, placing him 22nd in the country.

Coach Joel Williams thinks the victory was a complete team effort.

“I feel like the key to our success was the entire team contributing,” Williams said. “Even guys that didn’t compete played a major part in this championship. They kept the momentum on our side through their unwavering support of their teammates.”

The Jumbos were happy with the result, but Williams said they are not done yet.

“We are constantly telling this team how great, how special they are,” Williams said. “This meet is confirmation of that. We won’t know who actually gets into the NCAA meet until March 5, so for the rest of the season we are focusing on getting more guys to the NCAA championship meet.”

O’Connor shared a similar sentiment while keeping the focus on the upcoming outdoor season.

“It’s nice to have a big team win early on, but we really gear up for NESCACs during outdoor [season],” O’Connor said. “I think Saturday was a great way to show what we are capable of achieving, but there is a lot of season left.”

The Jumbos will travel to the All-New England Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on Friday and Saturday.