Last weekend, the Tufts men’s track and field team competed at the Div. III New England Indoor Championships hosted by MIT in Cambridge, Mass. The Jumbos performed well at the meet, with many athletes earning their season bests and notching national-qualifying marks. The Jumbos took second place out of the 23 teams at the meet, a good indicator for how well the team will do at the Div. III NCAA Championships in two weeks.
On Friday, the meet’s first day, three Tufts athletes earned points for the team. In the track events, senior Dylan Jones took third in the 5,000-meter with a 15:06.83 time. This time was his best of the season for the 5,000-meter, and it tallied six points for the Jumbos.
Along with Jones, the distance medley relay team and senior co-captain Benji Wallace also recorded points for the team on the first day. The distance medley team, comprised of senior Colin Raposo, juniors Danny Klain, Dylan McEniry and first-year Collin O’Sullivan, finished eighth with a time of 10:32.12, claiming one point for the Jumbos. Wallace finished fifth in the pole vault with a 4.47-meter effort that earned the team three points. By the end of the first day, Tufts earned 10 points to put them tied for third place with Bates College and the University of Southern Maine, trailing Middlebury College (20 points) and hosts MIT (37 points).
On Saturday, the second day of the competition, senior Tom Doyle had Tufts’ only first-place finish of the day, as he won the 600-meter race with a time of 1:21.21. This time was also his personal best time for that event. His first-place finish earned Tufts 10 points and carried on Tufts’ domination of the 600-meter, as it was the sixth time in a row a Tufts runner has taken first in the event.
Doyle was very satisfied with his accomplishment.
“It was a very proud moment for me not only because of the victory, but because I was able to continue Tufts’ streak of winning the 600-meter dash for the 6th year in a row,” Doyle said. “My teammates’ chants of ‘Go!’ really motivated me to keep running.”
Senior Anthony Kardonsky also raked in points for Tufts, performing well in two events. In the 60-meter dash, Kardonsky finished third, posting a mark of 6.98 seconds, a season best. Kardonsky also came fourth in the 200-meter, running a 22.48-second time. By the end of the day, Kardonsky earned a massive 11 points on his own.
Continuing the Jumbos’ success, senior Josh Etkind placed third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.18 seconds, narrowly missing his own personal record of 8.16 seconds. This improved Etkind’s national ranking in the 60-meter hurdles to 13th.
Etkind was happy with how it panned out.
“How I feel about my time in the [60-meter hurdles] is similar to how our team feels about our performance at the meet,” Etkind said. “I’m really happy with my time, but obviously I would have preferred to win. This has been a really strong year in New England for the [60-meter hurdles], easily the most competitive the event has been in my career.”
The 4×800-meter relay, consisting of juniors Roman Lovell, Dylan McEniry, Matt D’Anieri and first-year Nicholas Delaney also earned a third-place finish, working together to produce a 7:56.99 time.
In the field events, sophomore Matthew Manteiga finished third in the long jump with a mark of 6.72 meters. Manteiga’s effort was a Tufts season-best mark. Senior Charles Pennington was on his game in the high jump, as he cleared two meters to take third, scoring six points for Tufts. The jump was also his personal record.
Other notable performances included junior Kevin Quisumbing’s fourth-place finish in the shot put, Raposo’s fifth-place finish in the mile race (4:18.42) and the 4×400-meter relay’s fifth-place finish (3:27.18).
The Jumbos earned a total of 78 points by the end of the second day to overtake Middlebury for second place at the meet. Tufts was beaten out only by MIT, who accumulated a whopping 164 points over the course of the competition.
Overall, the Jumbos were excited about the result.
“We were pretty happy with our performance,” Etkind said. “I’m obviously sad to end the win streak, but people performed well across the whole team and we managed to beat really good squads from WPI, Williams and Southern Maine. Looking ahead to NESCAC’s outdoors, we’re in a pretty good place I think. Especially exciting to see younger guys do so well!”
Doyle echoed Etkind’s sentiments.
“We are very happy to have taken second place. While it would have been amazing to win for a third year in a row, we saw many of our athletes put up personal bests or season bests. We’ve been working on speed work by doing strides, which are short, quick runs after a longer run.”
The Jumbos will compete at the Tufts Final Qualifier on March 2, which will be the last event where the athletes can qualify for the NCAA Div. III Championships.
The Jumbos are hopeful that they can still get some athletes over the line to qualify for nationals.
“Looking ahead to nationals, we are pleased that we have a few people who will almost certainly qualify,” Doyle said. “For this weekend, we have a few runners giving it one last shot, myself included in the 400-meter dash. We hope to send as many as possible, but it’s always tough to get into the top 20.”