Men and women’s track and field kick off outdoor season with spring break meets

Junior Julia Gake runs the 2nd leg of the 4x400-meter relay, a relay team that ultimately places 2nd, at the NESCAC Championship at Trinity College on Apr. 28, 2018. (Madeleine Oliver / Tufts Track and Field)

Over spring break, the Tufts men and women’s track and field teams each competed in a number of meets to mark the start of the outdoor season. The men’s team travelled to San Diego, Calif., where they competed in the Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet, the 41st Annual Aztec Invitational and the PLNU Collegiate Invitational. The women’s team competed at the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational hosted by Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Athletes from both teams earned nationally ranked times to kick off the start of the outdoor season.

Men’s track and field

At the PLNU Invitational, the men’s team took second out of the 13 teams, performing particularly well in the 100-meter race with three Jumbos placing in the top 10. Senior Anthony Kardonsky took sixth with a time of 11.02, junior Robert Jones took eighth with a time of 11.03 and sophomore OJ Armstrong took 10th with a time of 11.11.

Senior Tom Doyle had an excellent showing in the 400-meter with a 49.02 time to finish third, beating his own personal record of the 49.55 time he ran in the New England Div. III championships in 2017. His time ranks 11th nationally. In the 400-meter hurdles, junior Billy Witrock ran the event in 55.77 to take fourth, good for 14th place nationally. Junior Roman Lovell also had a great showing, posting a 1:55.97 mark in the 800-meter, a personal record, to take fourth in the event and 15th in Div. III. Adding to the numerous nationally ranking times was first-year Nicholas Delaney, who ran a 3:59.82 in the 1,500-meter to take 21st in the entire Div. III field.

The only first-place finishes came from the field athletes. Senior co-captain Henry Hintermeister took first in the javelin throw with a Spartan-like throw of 177’11”. His mark ranks 18th in the nation. Junior Kevin Quisumbing, who plays defensive line for Tufts football in the fall, topped his personal record to take first in the shot put with a mark of 51’7”. The launch ranks second in the nation, an impressive and promising accomplishment for the dual athlete’s spring aspirations.

First-year Ben Stein was the sole Jumbo at the decathlon-only 41st Annual Aztec Invitational. The invitational featured athletes from across the NCAA, making it a unique opportunity for the Tenafly, N.J. native to pit himself against the nation’s best across all three divisions.

“Track is cool in that a certain time or distance is the same, no matter who you are or where you are competing, so it makes for a pretty level playing field,” Stein said. “It was a bit intimidating going into it, but pretty quickly I realized I was right in the mix with the rest of the field.”

On the first day, Stein competed in the 100-meter, 400-meter, shot put, long jump and high jump. By the end of the first day, Stein totaled 3,013 points, good for 10th place. On the second day of the meet, Stein upped his game, taking first in the 1,500-meter run and fifth in the pole vault, good enough to jump into fifth place.

Stein was happy with his first decathlon performance.

“Getting fifth felt really good,” Stein said. “It was my first time doing the decathlon, so I didn’t have any expectations, but for each event I had a specific goal whether that was getting a personal best or just try and get a legal mark. During the first day of competition, it started raining pretty hard in the middle of the high jump, so once that happened, my focus really just turned to trying to execute and do my best in every event, not thinking about the decathlon as a whole.”

The men’s team also performed well in their first meet of the outdoor season, securing nationally ranked times at the Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet. Overall, the men’s team finished fifth of 12 teams.

Kardonsky started the season with a bang. He earned two nationally ranked times for himself at the meet: seventh in the 100-meter with a time of 10.96 that is currently ranked 20th nationally, and ninth in the 200-meter with a time of 22.19, which he improved upon at the PLNU invitational the next week with a time of 22.13. That time ranks 24th nationally.

The 4×100-meter relay team, comprised of Kardonsky, Armstong and juniors Jordan Abate and Jones, took first place at the event with 42.06 time that ranks eighth in the nation. The 4×400 team, comprised of Doyle, Witrock and first-years Sam Oomen-Lochtefeld and Riley Patten, also did well, taking fifth with a time of 3:25.51.

In the field events, senior Benji Wallace took fifth in the pole vault with a 14’11” effort that ranks 10th in the nation. Quisumbing found success as well; his 47’9¾” mark in the shot put was good enough for sixth.

Women’s track and field

In the women’s sole meet over spring break, first-year Julia Worden earned the best Tufts finish of the first day with her 10th-place finish nationally in the 200-meter, running a time of 28.40. Senior co-captain Evelyn Drake competed well in the hammer throw, as she finished 13th out of 54 competitors with a 138’11” mark that was good for 37th place nationally.

The women’s team improved after the first day, earning more nationally ranked marks on day two. The 4×400 relay of first-years Hannah Neilon, Luana Machado, Tara Lowensohn and Worden took eighth in the relay with a time of 4:09.58. Their time is ranked 27th nationally. Neilon also had individual success, running the 400-meter in 59.78 to take 16th. Her time is currently 32nd nationally.

Overall, the women’s team took 15th out of the 21 teams competing at the event. The team is optimistic for the rest of the season, with coach Kristen Morwick acknowledging her squad was not at full strength.

“I think the team is fired up for a great outdoor season and I think we will be a better outdoor team, especially with the events that are added [400 hurdles, 3k Steeplechase, 10k, Javelin, Hammer, Discus],” Morwick said. “We had a really small crew for our spring break meet. [I’m] looking forward to seeing what our 400 hurdle crew can do and also what the throwers can do in the discus, hammer and javelin.”

On Saturday at the Snowflake Classic, both teams are back on the Ellis Oval track in the Jumbos’ first outside track event of the year.