Jumbos surge to third-place finish at NESCACs

Junior Rory Buckman competes in the steeplechase at the Sunshine Classic hosted by Tufts on April 21. Madeleine Oliver / Tufts Track and Field

Following a strong showing in the spring season, the Tufts men’s track and field team traveled to Trinity on Saturday to compete in the NESCAC championship meet. The team finished third in the event with 137 points, three behind second-place Williams’ 140. Middlebury won the event by a considerable margin, finishing the day with 172 points.

Senior Stefan Duvivier explained that NESCACs are an event the team looks forward to every year because of its position as a huge stepping stone toward later postseason meets.

“NESCACs is a huge championship meet for our team, given our historic rivalries with the other schools in the conference,” he told the Daily in an email. “Taking into account the atmosphere and the NESCAC title on the line, it’s hard not to be excited to compete and contribute points to help the team win.”

Junior Josh Etkind echoed the team-first sentiments at NESCACs.

“At NESCACs it’s all about the team. Most meets, the place you get doesn’t matter, all you care about is the time. But at [NESCACs], we’re all out there competing for each other. So the motivation for NESCACs comes from competing for your teammates, not for yourself,” Etkind told the Daily in an email.

Along with Etkind and Duvivier, junior Henry Hintermeister was part of the trio of Jumbos who notched NESCAC titles at the event.

Duvivier’s first-place finish at NESCACs was the third of his career in the high jump. He leaped 2.03 meters to win the event as his main opponent, Bates’ sophomore Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene, was only able to clear the 1.98-meter mark.

Also successfully defending his title was Etkind, who finished the 110-meter hurdles in 14.52 seconds, merely a tenth of a second ahead of the next-closest competitor, Middlebury senior Mike Pallozzi. Etkind’s time set a NESCAC meet record, shattering his own mark of 14.53 seconds from last year. His time still leaves him just outside the top 10 nationally, a mark on which he will no doubt look to improve ahead of the national championship meet on the weekend of May 25.

Hintermeister was the last champion of the day, posting 60.45 meters in the javelin throw. With more than eight meters between him and the next closest competitor, Hintermeister won by a considerable margin. Shattering a 22-year-old Tufts record, his mark is good for 16th overall nationally.

Five other Jumbos put up second-place performances in the meet in what proved to be a relatively strong performance for the team. Junior Colin Raposo finished second in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:52.98. First-year Matthew Manteiga was the runner-up in the long jump, posting a mark of 6.86 meters. Other runners-up were senior co-captain Drew DiMaiti in the 400 hurdles (54.24 seconds), sophomore Kevin Quisumbing in the shot put (15.27 meters) and the 4×100-meter relay of juniors Brandon Levenstein, Anthony Kardonsky and Tommy Miller and sophomore Robert Jones (42.34 seconds).

Duvivier explained that his advice to younger team members isn’t complex.

“[I tell them] to keep trusting the process. Our training throughout the year has taken us this far (setting new personal bests, improving every week) so there’s no need to change anything,” Duvivier said. “I encourage them to stick to their same routine and with the added rest towards the end of the season their hard work will show for itself.”

While the Jumbos put up a number of strong showings on Saturday, they’ll need to improve on a number of national rankings to qualify for Nationals. As the season draws to a close, look for all competitors to give their all to qualify for the NCAA Championships in La Crosse, Wis. next month.

Etkind explained that his personal goal was to make it to Nationals and improve on his finish last season.

“I’m hoping to make it to the NCAA national meet and improve upon my place there,” he said. “Last year I got 8th, so I’d love to do better than that.”

Coming up for Tufts is the New England Div. III meet at MIT on May 4 and 5. Duvivier explained that he has his goals set high for the team at the event.

In terms of team goals, I want Tufts to bounce back from the third place finish at NESCACs to win a DIII New England Title next weekend. Keeping the amount of talent we have on our roster in mind, and the ability of many of our guys to have break out performances, this goal is very attainable,” he said.