Jumbos showcase depth in strong outdoor season

Junior Rory Buckman competes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NESCAC Madeleine Oliver / The Tufts Daily

The 2018 outdoor season for the Tufts men’s track and field team was chock-full of first-place finishes and nationally ranked times. The Jumbos also finished third overall at the NESCAC Championships in late April and fifth overall at the New England Div. III Championships.

Tufts hit the ground running on March 17 with the Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in San Diego, Calif., where the team finished fourth out of 12 teams. Graduating senior co-captain Drew DiMaiti ran the 400 meters in 48.46 seconds, which ranked fifth in Div. III at the time. A week later, the Jumbos finished second at the PLNU Collegiate Invitational at the same venue. DiMaiti and rising senior Josh Etkind both put up top-15 national times in the 400-meter hurdles and 110-meter hurdles, respectively.

In their first meet after returning to Medford, the Jumbos took first place at the 20-team Snowflake Invitational, hosted at the Ellis Oval. DiMaiti again won the 400-meter hurdles, posting a mark of 54.00 seconds. The Medford, Mass. native also ran on Tufts’ winning team in the 4×400-meter relay, along with rising junior Billy Witrock, rising senior Thomas Doyle and rising sophomore Jackson Mihm. Graduating senior Stefan Duvivier followed up his national title-winning indoor performance with a third-place finish in the high jump.

On April 7, Tufts took second place at a meet with MIT, Bates and RPI, as rising senior Anthony Kardonsky won the 100-meter dash in 10.89 seconds. DiMaiti (400-meter hurdles), Etkind (110-meter hurdles), rising junior Kevin Quisumbing (shot put) and rising senior Hiroto Watanabe (800 meters) also topped the podium in their respective events. The team recorded a first-place finish at the two-day Silfen Invitational hosted by Conn. College a week later.

The Jumbos took first at one more meet before the NESCAC Championships, with rising sophomore Vincent Avallone setting personal records in both the 200- and 400-meter dash at the Sunshine Classic.

Tufts’ consistency during the regular season paid off at the NESCAC Championships, hosted by Trinity on April 28. The Jumbos placed third out of the conference’s 11 teams, just three points behind the second-place Williams Ephs, and featured many stellar individual performances. Duvivier won his third consecutive NESCAC title in the high jump with a 2.03-meter effort — the best outdoor mark of his collegiate career — while Etkind won his second conference championship in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.52 seconds. Rising senior Henry Hintermeister set a new school record, winning the javelin throw competition. The North Berwick, Maine native’s mark of 60.45 meters beat Mark Stonkus’ (LA ’96) record of 60.33 meters set in 1996. Meanwhile, DiMaiti continued his impressive season with a second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (54.24 seconds). Rising senior Colin Raposo also finished second, posting a time of 3:52.98 in the 1,500 meters.

“Overall, we are very happy with the way our season has gone,” DiMaiti said. “We accomplished some of our major goals, such as winning the Indoor Div. III New England [Championships]. Many of us have hit new personal bests and accomplished individual goals. As a team, we have fought for each other and given it our all.”

Just a week after the NESCAC Championships, Tufts traveled to MIT for the New England Div. III Championships, where the team finished fifth out of 30 schools. DiMaiti successfully defended his regional title in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.95 seconds, tying his season-best mark. Raposo finished third in the 1,500 meters (3:55.53), while Watanabe posted an outdoor-best time of 1:53.36 to finish sixth in the 800 meters. Kardonsky added a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.79 seconds.

The Jumbos also had myriad successes in the field events at the New England Championships, with rising senior Ben Wallace posting a personal-best leap of 4.70 meters to finish as the runner-up in the pole vault. Duvivier finished second in the high jump (2.01 meters), rising junior Kevin Quisumbing launched a personal best in the shot put (15.46 meters) and rising sophomore Michael Mecha turned in a personal-best performance in the triple jump with a 14.19-meter effort.

The team will wrap up its season at the NCAA Championships in La Crosse, Wis. (May 24–26), where it tied for 16th last year.