Jumbos compete in first two meets of the season

Senior Patrick Milne races at the Tufts Invitational on January 14, 2017. Courtesy SportsPix

On Saturday, the Tufts men’s track and field team traveled to Brunswick, Maine, where it competed at the Bowdoin Invitational. A week prior, the team hosted — and competed in — the Tufts Invitational, held at Gantcher Center, where five Jumbos took first place despite no scoring being recorded. At the Bowdoin Invitational, the team took second out of five teams. These two events were the first meets of Tufts’ season, and based on its performances, the team has set the bar for a high performance.

The Jumbos hit the ground running at the Tufts Invitational on Jan. 13, with a significant number of the runners placing high across the board. Junior Anthony Kardonsky clinched first-place in the 200-meter dash and ran a 22.59, outrunning his second-place opponent by 0.15 seconds. Kardonsky also finished well in the 60-meter dash, placing second with a time of 7.03. Not far behind Kardonsky in the 200-meter was senior co-captain Drew DiMiati, who finished third with a time of 22.91. DiMiati earned first place in the 400-meter dash, outrunning the second-place finisher by over half a second.

The top of the standings in the 1000-meter dash was littered with Tufts runners. Junior Christian Swenson ran a 2:32.21 to take first place, followed by junior Hiroto Watanabe, who finished third with a time of 2:33.75. Sophomore Matt D’Anieri finished last out of the Jumbos, but still ran an outstanding time of 2:34.46 to finish fifth in a race of 24 athletes.

Junior Josh Etkind secured the final first-place victory by winning the 60-meter hurdles in 8.57 seconds, just edging out Springfield College first-year Damian Mackay-Morgan, who ran an 8.61. The Jumbos were not as successful in the field events, but still earned some good performances. First-year Michael Mecha placed first in the long jump, recording a 6.72-meter jump.

Williams said the first invitational started the team’s season on a strong foundation.

“Coming into the season everyone had very high hopes,” coach Joel Williams said. “We are typically a team that comes together late in the season, so to see so many great early season marks has really intensified the high expectations for the championship season.”

Tufts also had a great showing at the Bowdoin Invitational on Saturday. Kardonsky improved on his performances from the Tufts Invitational and outshone the competition. He ran a 7.01 in the 60-meter dash to earn first place, before recording a 22.50 in the 200-meter dash for another first-place finish. Kardonsky’s performances earned a huge 20 points toward the team’s total.

“Believe it or not, Anthony is one of the more raw young men in our sprint group, and we are still learning what he is capable of,” Williams said. “We have such an incredibly deep sprint group, and you never know who will take the lead. Each guy knows the better their teammates get, the better they get, and vice versa. Over the next few weeks I fully expect Anthony, and three to four other guys, to take shots at both the 200-meter and 60-meter school records. Once we get to championship season, Tony will be more than ready to lead the charge of what should be a very deep sprint group.”

DiMiati, Watanabe and Etkind all earned first-place finishes at Bowdoin, as well. DiMiati ran a 1:21.63 in the 600-meter run, nearly three seconds in front of the second-place finisher. Watanabe ran a 1:54.51 in the 800-meter run, and Etkind posted a time of 8.41 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. These three performances pulled in ten points each, adding to the Jumbos’ already-large total.

Tufts’ team score was also boosted by a number of other good performances. Sophomore Robert Jones ran a 7.10 in the 60-meter dash, placing third and earning six points. First-year Vincent Avallone took fourth in the 600-meter run for four points, and senior co-captain Tom DePalma came in second in the 1000-meter run with a time of 2:34.00 to tally eight points.

The Jumbos’ score was further improved by dominant performances in several field events. Senior Stefan Duvivier jumped 1.98 meters in the high jump to finish second. Junior Ben Wallace vaulted 4.40 meters to finish second in the pole vault, as well. First-year Matthew Manteiga clinched first place in the long jump with a 6.77 meter jump, and sophomore Kevin Quisumbing finished second in the shot put with a best throw of 14.69 meters.

The Jumbos earned a team total of 132 points, only losing out to MIT, who scored 174.50 points.

“We are feeling very confident with two meets down,” DiMiati said. “We’ve seen some very good starts from upperclassmen, and we are expecting a lot more. Hiroto Watanabe had a great 800 time this weekend, putting him top in the nation in that event. Anthony Kardonsky has come out with some very fast times in the 60 and 200. We’re also very excited about our new freshmen, especially in the jumps. Mike Mecha and Matt Manteiga have won the long jump at our last two meets. We’re feeling very good as a team going into this weekend.”

Tufts competes at the John Thomas Invitational at Boston University on Friday, before hosting the inaugural Branwen-Smith King Invitational on Saturday.