In its build-up to the New England Div. III Championships, the men’s track & field team competed in the Cupid Challenge in the Gantcher Center on Saturday and in the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships (NEICAAA) on Friday and Saturday in Roxbury, Mass. The NEICAAAs featured 27 teams, while the Cupid Challenge featured 11. The Jumbos finished tied for 15th on Friday and in the semifinals finished 26th. The Cupid Challenge had no team scoring.
On Saturday in the Gantcher Center, Tufts athletes competed in a multitude of events, securing nationally ranked times. It was a non-scoring event, meaning that athletes competed as individuals to get qualifying times for the New England Div. III Championships or for the NCAA Div. III National Championships.
In one of four field events, junior Kevin Quisumbing finished third in the shot put, launching the shot a whopping 50’6’’. Sophomore Daesoeb Lim finished 4th in the pole vault, stretching out to 13’5¼”. It was his all-time personal record. Junior Ranjit Thomas finished second in the triple jump with a 41’5” effort. First-year Tommy Bhangdia brought home the only Jumbo victory in the field events, winning the long jump with a 21’1½” leap.
Jumping coach Linus Gordon commented on the younger Jumbos’ performance.
“There are a bunch of great young jumpers who are finding inspiration from some of the older guys on the team,” Gordon said. “The collaboration between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen jumpers has been great. There’s a lot of good cooperation and teamwork going on there. They’ve been putting in so much hard work and it’s good to see it pay off.”
In the long distance runs, Senior Hiroto Watanabe ran a 1:54.20 converted time in the 1,000-meter and finished fourth in a competitive race that saw the top four athletes finishing within three fourths of a second of each other. His effort was good enough for 17th in Division III. His classmate, senior Colin Raposo, raced the mile in a 4:13.30 converted time, good enough for third in the race and 18th in the nation. Senior Brian Reaney commented on Tufts’ good long distance performances.
“It was a pretty good weekend for distance,” Reaney said. “We had two qualifiers for DIII New England’s and lots of success elsewhere in the squad too. So that was really cool to see, especially because some of those guys are younger and improving a lot.”
In Tufts’ second victory of the meet, Watanabe, first-year Sam Oomen-Lochtefeld, junior Billy Witrock and first-year Ben Stein raced together in the 4×400 relay race beat out all competitors with a time of 3:29.82. It was the Jumbos’ best time of the season for this event.
On Saturday in the NEICAAA semi-finals, both Jumbos in the meet, juniors Josh Etkind and Anthony Kardonsky, failed to make it out of their qualifying group. With the top eight performers moving on the finals, neither Etkind’s 8.33-second effort in the 60-meter hurdle nor Kardonsky’s 7.11-second effort in the 60-meter dash was enough to qualify them. The two both finished 12th in their respective races. Though they were the only two Jumbos competing in the semifinal round, Kardonsky thought that he and Etkind could’ve performed better, noting that the two of them were tapering off for the New England Div. III Championships.
“Neither of us were too pleased with our performances at the NEICAAA Championships,” Kardonsky said. “We’re starting to taper back their workouts and get some qualifying marks either for the New England Division III Indoor championships and for Nationals.”
On Friday in the NEICAAA first round races, Tufts’ performance was highlighted by senior co-captain Benji Wallace’s career best pole-vault effort. His 15’5’’ effort was good enough to be ranked 17th nationally as of Tuesday night. It was the best effort among Division III competitors, seeing him finish seventh overall and qualifying for the semifinals held on Saturday.
Etkind and Kardonsky qualified for their respective events’ semifinals in narrow fashion; Etkind finished 11th in the 60-meter hurdles with 8.33 seconds, while Kardonsky finished the 60-meter dash in 7.11 seconds, squeezing into the semifinal race in 15th place. Etkind’s effort was good enough for 22nd nationally as of Tuesday night. The top 16 performers moved onto the semi-final meet the next day, and the duo’s performance added to Wallace’s two point effort, placing the Jumbos in 15th after day one of the meet.
Reaney commented on his teammates’ preparation for the New England Div. III Championships.
“In terms of mindset, different people are probably at different places, especially since some people have their eyes on Nationals, while for others the culmination of their indoor season will come sooner,” Reaney said. “Even though we haven’t yet been quite as successful as we were last year, we still want to get out there and be competitive. We need to show teams that we’re still in the picture, so that people don’t sleep on us.”
Tufts races in the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Friday and Saturday and the MIT Invitational on Saturday as it anticipates the New England Div. III Championships in a fortnight.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misreported Etkind’s and Kardonsky’s times on Saturday in the 60-meter hurdle and 60-meter dash, respectively. The article has been updated to reflect the correct times. The Daily regrets these errors.