Men’s track and field impresses at MIT Quad Meet

First-year Joseph Harmon, sophomore Patrick Nero and senior Dylan Jones compete in the 10k race at the Snowflake Classic on March 30. (Madeleine Oliver / The Tufts Daily)

On Saturday, April 6, Tufts competed against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Bates in a quad meet hosted at MIT. The Jumbos amassed an impressive 185 points at the meet, finishing a close second place behind MIT (190.5). The team reached many personal and season bests, setting the stage for future success in the outdoor season.

Coming off of the success at the Snowflake Classic, the first home meet of the outdoor season, the team carried its momentum into the MIT meet. Tufts claimed victory in the 100-meter finals, with senior Brandon Levenstein coming in first with a time of 11.11. At his heels was junior Jordan Abate who came in second with a career-best 11.17.

First-year Nick Delaney led the pack in the 800-meter race, coming in first with a personal best 1:56.77. Also representing the Class of 2022 was first-year decathlete Ben Stein, who competed in four events and obtained PRs in the long jump, 110-meter hurdles and javelin throw. First-year Neerav Gade ran a season-best 15:31.16 in the 5k, placing 10th out of 36 competitors.

Tufts excelled in both the 4×100 and 4×400 relay events, coming in first and second place, respectively. The 4×100 team of Levenstein, junior Jordan Abate, senior Anthony Kardonsky and sophomore OJ Armstrong finished in 43.08. In the 4×400, junior Billy Witrock, Delaney, first-year Sam Oomen-Lochtefeld and senior Tom Doyle posted a 3:25.54 time.

Senior Josh Etkind won the men’s 110-meter hurdles, finishing in a season-best time of 14.66 seconds, good for a No. 6 national ranking.

Tufts impressed in the throwing events, with senior Henry Hintermeister taking first place in the javelin throw with a season-best and No. 20 nationally ranked 187’0”, and junior Kevin Quisumbing winning the shot put with a 49’3¾” heave.

In the pole vault competition, senior co-captain Benji Wallace came in first place with a 15’9” height, topping his career best by an astounding four inches. Sophomore Daeseob Lim also hit a career-high height, coming in fifth with 14’1¼. Wallace’s 15’9” finish is currently ranked No. 9 in Div. III outdoor field events for 2019.

The team rallied behind the pole vault, cheering on Wallace and Lim from the sidelines.

“The pole vault had a lot of energy,” Wallace said. “It was awesome, I absolutely loved having that many spectators going nuts when you clear a bar.”

For Wallace, reaching a PR was especially meaningful, since his last one was nearly a year ago.

“When you have a really good day it reminds you that you are getting better,” Wallace said.

The team used the day’s prime outdoor conditions and the competition’s small size to its advantage. Wallace explained that while the first outdoor meet in the area is typically in the 40s and raining, the meet at MIT had low winds and weather in the 60s. The weather, coupled with the small size of the meet, allowed Tufts to hone in on its skills.

“In a shorter meet, there are multiple guys in each heat, which allows us to focus in on individual performances,” senior co-captain Tommy Miller said.

Next weekend, the team travels to Conn. College to compete in the Silfen Invitational. At this point in the season, the team isn’t solely focused on picking up victories. A team goal for the Silfen Invitational is to continue to bring high-energy, fine-tune performances and focus on improving consistency.

“All we’re focused on is having the best individual performances that we can,” Miller said. “We’re trying to do the best we can individually, so by the time the points matter, we will be well prepared.”