Jumbos celebrate past, present success on Homecoming weekend

Award recipients at the Tufts Athletics Awards Ceremony pose for a group portrait on Sept. 28. Courtesy Donald Megerle

Tufts celebrated Homecoming 2018 this weekend, with various events and matches spanning Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday Night: Athletics Awards Ceremony

Homecoming formalities kicked off with the Tufts Athletics’ 2017–18 Annual Awards Ceremony held in a fully filled Cohen Auditorium on Friday night. The ceremony honored eight Tufts athletes who flew the Tufts flag high in the past academic year.

The night’s host was men’s basketball coach Bob Sheldon, who entertained the audience with a litany of jokes. Tufts Athletic Director John Morris then shared with those in attendance that the department recently released its 2017–18 annual report. Morris reported that all Tufts teams had a cumulative GPA above 3.0, 41 All-American Honors recipients, two individual NESCAC champions — Brittany Bowman and Stefan Duvivier, both (LA ’18) — and three NESCAC champions.

“Every year, I continue to be amazed by our student-athletes’ collective ability to excel at such a high level in the classroom, in the community and in competition,” Morris told the Daily in an email. “The impressive Jumbo student-athletes we honored on Friday represent everything that Tufts Athletics stands for, and it was fun to spend a special evening celebrating their many achievements as part of Homecoming Weekend.”

It was thus to not much surprise when Bowman and Duvivier were announced winners of the Hester L. Sargent Award for Best Female Athlete and Clarence “Pop” Houston Award for Best Male Athlete, respectively. Bowman won the 5,000 meters at the Indoor Track and Field Championships in March with a program record of 16:31.32, while Duvivier cleared the 2.20-meter mark in the high jump event at the same meet.

In his opening address, Morris also reported that the department saw an increase of All-Academic honorees, from 295 in 2016–17 to 349 this past year. The soccer teams swept the Rudolph J. Fobert Awards, which recognize both academic and athletic success. Former co-captain Conor Coleman (LA ’18) won the men’s award, while senior goalkeeper Emily Bowers took home the prize on the women’s side. Coleman was also named the Div. III National Scholar of the Year in men’s soccer, while Bowers was named to the Scholar All-American first team.

Women’s soccer coach Martha Whiting spoke about Bowers’ success.

“The award is very well-deserved,” Whiting said. “Bowers works extremely hard both in the classroom and on the soccer field. A lot of what makes her great is that she takes the time outside of practice to work on technique and tactics and she’s such a hard worker, and I’m really glad that she’s being recognized for all her hard work. I’m happy for her.”

Men’s tennis’ Ben Battle (LA ’18) and women’s lacrosse’s Tori Rudnicki (LA ’18) were awarded the Murray J. Kenney Awards, which recognized their positive attitudes and spirit of perseverance, while football’s senior offensive lineman Dan Dewing and women’s swimming’s Ali Dorneo (LA ’18) took home the Spirit, Sports, Service Awards, which recognized their contributions to school spirit and community service.

Football coach Jay Civetti, who also works as the liaison to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), spoke to Dorneo’s success.

“I would say that [Dorneo] really is incredibly deserving of that — she was president of SAAC last year and did an amazing job,” Civetti said. “I thought she put her time in and contributed heavily across a number of different platforms and helped take SAAC in a new direction.”

Civetti also had high praise for Dewing. According to Civetti, Dewing was heavily involved in the team’s Team IMPACT efforts, as well as the clothing drive that the team started last year. But what really won Civetti’s respect for his player was Dewing’s efforts in starting conversations among the football team regarding the controversy around Black Lives Matter and the national anthem.

“I thought that [Dewing] really took an active role in trying to create a vehicle for any of his teammates who wanted to take a stand, who wanted to stand up for a cause that means a lot to a lot of people,” Civetti said. “I personally was just very impressed with his demeanor — I thought he did a tremendous job listening and learning last year. I think he learned a lot about himself and learned a lot about a movement that he didn’t really know a lot about.”

Tufts awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award to Lisa Amatangel (J ’93), former captain of the women’s tennis and squash teams, for her success in conquering the Seven Summits Challenge. To close the night, athletes participated in a tennis ball-tossing tradition.

The Jumbos traded their formal wear for their jerseys, taking to the field to compete against various NESCAC opponents. While the Daily will be providing coverage of the games over the course of the week, here are some of the highlights from this weekend’s action.


Tufts recovered from a four-point halftime deficit to put up 37 unanswered points against visiting Bates. Tufts finished with 545 yards of offense to Bates’ 198 yards. Senior quarterback and co-captain Ryan McDonald led the game with 207 yards passing and 161 rushing and earned NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. His performance ensured a Homecoming victory, and the Jumbos remained one of three teams still unbeaten in the conference.

Women’s Soccer

Tufts moved to 6–2–1 for the season. On Saturday, the Jumbos fell 3–0 to the No. 19 Williams, before recovering in nearly the best possible fashion with a goal from junior defender Tally Clark in the first minute against Hamilton on Sunday. However, the Jumbos were matched back by the Continentals’ junior midfielder Alex Fontana just right after the half-hour mark, with the game finishing 1–1.

Men’s Soccer

Tufts improved to 9–0, courtesy of two narrow victories at home. Sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer scored what proved to be the winning goal in Tufts’ 2–1 win against Amherst on Saturday, while junior forward Joe Braun put the ball in the back of the net with less than three minutes remaining against Hamilton to continue Tufts’ perfect start to the season.

Field Hockey

Field hockey also maintained its perfect start to the season, surging to 8–0. In a pulsating game that saw various yellow and green cards, Tufts came from behind twice before winning through senior forward and co-captain Gigi Tutoni’s overtime goal against Amherst on Saturday. The comeback story carried itself into Sunday, as the Jumbos won 2–1 against the Hamilton Continentals.