On Feb. 8 and 9, the men’s track and field team competed in the two-part David Hemery Valentine Invite at Boston University and the MIT Invitational. Both meets were non-scoring, and were attended by different runners — the MIT Invitational is known for jumps, and the David Hemery Valentine Invite is favored for running events.
The team posted strong individual performances at the two non-scoring meets and hopes to carry their momentum into the scoring meets later in the season. Assistant coach Linus Gordon explained the purpose of non-scoring events.
“The true focus of the non-scoring meets is to qualify for scoring meets so that we can have a bunch of people participate in those meets and perform well,” Gordon said.
The next big scoring meet is the New England Div. III Championship, and the team is rearing to perform at one of the biggest meets of the year.
At the MIT Invitational on Saturday, junior Kevin Quisumbing set a personal record in the weight throw in one of the highlights for the Jumbos. His 51’0’’ heave was good enough for fourth in the event in a field filled with Div. I opponents. It was the team’s best weight throw of the season.
Senior co-captain Benji Wallace also impressed in the meet, matching his career best pole vault and scoring first place, clearing the bar at a height of 15’5”. Wallace matched his PR from the NEICAAA Indoor Track & Field Championship on Feb. 1 and 2, where he came in seventh place with the No. 20 rank in the nation. Although Wallace was pleased with his first place finish, he had hoped to beat his PR.
“My victory left a bad taste in my mouth because I really wanted to reach the next height,” Wallace said.
In the Hemery Valentine Invite on Saturday, it was senior Colin Raposo’s 4:09.82 mile time, currently ranked at No. 6 in the nation, that highlighted the Jumbos’ performance. Meanwhile, senior Thomas Doyle came fourth in the 500-meter dash, finishing the lap-and-a-quarter race in 1:04.49. Both Raposo and Doyle improved upon their times from a year ago — Raposo’s mile was six seconds faster than his last PR from a year ago, and Doyle shaved off over a second from his best 500-meter time in 2018.
Senior Josh Etkind ran his 60-meter qualifying race in 8.33 seconds, tying his performance from last week that’s ranked No. 22 in the nation. In the preliminaries for the 60-meter dash, senior Anthony Kardonsky’s 12th place, 7.06-second time missed the cut-off for the 60-meter dash finals by 0.02 seconds. The Tenafly, N.J. native ran his season best in the 200-meter race with a 22.30 second time.
At this point in the season, one of the team’s top priorities is to stay healthy. The team has been struck by numerous injuries and illnesses over the past few weeks, which has impacted training.
“You can never stress recovery and injury prevention enough,” Wallace said. “If we have a full squad show up to the meet, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
One of the team’s greatest assets is the depth of its roster. The team has an even distribution of talent among different classes, and has a strong base of first-years who will help cement the success of the program in years to come.
While track and field is an individual sport, Gordon cites the team’s sportsmanship as a secret to their success.
“The team has a lot of camaraderie. They are driven by each other as opposed to a single performer,” he said.
With the New England Div. III Championship on the horizon, the team is focused on putting their best foot forward. The Jumbos placed first in the championship meet in the 2017 and 2018 seasons — successes that had been unprecedented in the program’s history. The team has their eye on a third consecutive victory at the championship meet.
Wallace voiced the team’s eagerness to perform well at the championship meet.
“It would be so incredible to win that meet,” he said. “We’ve done it the past two years. Back-to-back winning has not been done in a long time. Doing it three times would be a very good team goal.”