The members of the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams completed their first invitational on Jan. 18 at their home track, the Gantcher Center. The Jumbo Invitational was an exciting and successful season opener for both squads, resulting in many personal records.
Overall, the men’s team placed third out of eight.
Senior Matt D’Anieri won the 1,000-meter run event with an impressive time of 2:30.08, a personal record. Sophomore Nick Delaney was second in the race, finishing with a personal record of 2:30.71.
The most exhilarating event of the day was the 4×400-meter relay. The Jumbo crew had senior Jordan Abate leading off, junior Vincent Avallone in the second position, sophomore Sam Oomen-Lochtefeld in the third position and first-year Willy White in the anchor role. The foursome’s finish of 3:29.21 currently ranks No. 31 nationally in Div. III.
“I knew we had put together a great team and we each knew we wanted to run fast,” Avallone said. “It was an opportunity to run on a 4×4 relay since we haven’t run in one in a while since this is the first meet of the season. We ended doing pretty well and we got in second place as a result. We will look to improve our splits even further.”
Junior Daeseob Lim was second in the pole vault event with a 13′ 1 ½” (4.00 meters) best effort. First-year Hunter Farrell was third with the same height.
The men’s team showcased an excellent performance despite the varying levels of experience on the roster. Although it is very early in the season, the first-years showed the potential to compete at high levels.
“It’s early, people are still getting back into the groove, but the [first-years] can compete,” Avallone said. “Personally, I think Willy White had a very strong meet. He competed and scored in three events. It’s a sign that [first-years] came to show up and they’re going to have a positive impact on the team moving forward.”
Lim empathized with his first-year teammates’ leap into collegiate track and field, as he was once in their shoes.
“This was the [first-year’s] first collegiate meet ever, and I can tell you from experience that it was nerve-wracking going into a meet as I have a lot of expectations on my own performance because it is your first college meet,” said Lim. “Since I am a junior, there was less nervousness and more excitement going into the season since I know what I am doing.”
The women’s team won its season opener at the Gantcher Center, accumulating a total of 243.5 points, well ahead of second-place Springfield College at 151.5.
In her collegiate debut, first-year Jaidyn Appel became only the second athlete in Tufts women’s’ track & field history to clear 5’7″ in the high jump. Remarkably, Appel’s mark ranks fourth nationally for Division III.
Sophomore Tara Lowensohn, who won the 600-meter event at 1:41.24, praised Appel’s talents and amazing accomplishments from last Saturday.
“I think she is a very interesting teammate who has a strong work ethic,” said Lowensohn. “I think she has a lot of potential and room to grow. It’s crazy for someone to achieve the accolades she did in her first meet.”
Sophomore Hannah Neilon won the 800-meter event with a 2:19.71 time, ranking fifth nationally in Div. III. Tufts senior co-captain Rhemi Toth finished her run in the same event with a 2:20.79 runner-up finish, ranking 12th place in the nation.
Before the winter break, on Dec. 7, sophomore Danielle Page represented Tufts at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener at Boston University. She raced the 5,000 meters (5K) with a converted time of 16:59.76, beating her previous personal record. She came off an excellent fall cross country season, posting the second-best NCAA finish in Tufts University history with her sixth-place finish (21:25.5) at the 2019 national championship race.
The men’s team will compete at both Boston University’s John Thomas Terrier Classic and at the Wheaton Invitational next weekend (Jan. 24 and 25). Meanwhile, the women’s team will compete only at the Wheaton Invitational on Saturday.
“I don’t really know much about next week’s meet except that it is at Wheaton, but we are looking to build off of what we’ve done last week,” Avallone said.