This past Saturday, Tufts cross country competed at the NEICAAA championships at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. The women finished 10th overall in the varsity 5K race and fifth in the sub-varsity 5K race, while the men, who did not have their top eight runners race at the meet, finished fourth overall in the sub-varsity 8K race.
For the men, although the experience of running without their top runners was different, they managed to find success and learn something new about their team.
“It was a solid day for the team, our top eight didn’t run because they’re resting for the [Connecticut] College meet this coming weekend,” sophomore Adam Bernstein said. “The objective wasn’t to have a great team score. It was more just [to] have people get a solid race in and feel good.”
Bernstein was the top runner in the men’s race, finishing his 8K in under 27 minutes for the first time at 26:46. That time gave him 17th overall in the race.
“I was super happy with [my performance],” Bernstein said. “I honestly hadn’t felt like I’d run a really solid 8K yet this season. It was great to run a good time because a lot of the courses we were running earlier in the season were really hilly.”
The relatively flat course at this meet contributed to six runners running under 28 minutes.
The women were led by senior co-captain Danielle Page, who finished fourth overall in the varsity race with a time of 17:35. Junior Meghan Davis and senior co-captain Anna Slager also performed well, finishing with times of 18:36 and 18:46 respectively. The sub-varsity women were led by junior Kate Bidgood, who posted a time of 20:10.14, good for the 34th position in the race.
For both teams, the combination of the flat course, the energy and the circumstances surrounding the meet contributed to their individual and team success. Both the men’s and women’s varsity and sub-varsity races featured Div. I runners. Bernstein specifically noted how the runners from Dartmouth College pushed them.
“The fact that it was a Div. I and Div. III combined meet meant that some of the guys at the top of the sub-varsity race were Div. I runners,” Bernstein said. “There were guys from Dartmouth who were running in the sub-varsity race with very fast times and they pushed the pace from the front.”
Since the race was in the Boston area, many Tufts alumni were able to come out and support the Jumbos.
“We had a bunch of the guys that were on the team last year and a few guys from years prior, and they were cheering really loud in different spots around the course,” Bernstein said. “It was fun to have a lot of people hyping us up and seeing that Jumbo pride extending to the alumni was cool.”
As the Jumbos get deeper into championship season, there are few lessons to be learned from this meet. Bernstein noted that coach Michael Schmidt emphasizes the importance of going out fast in a race, especially in a big race where runners have to create a position for themselves with so many people to pass. The Jumbos found that strategy to work well, given their success.
For both the men and the women, the Jumbos’ next meet will be this Saturday at the Connecticut College Invitational at Harkness Park in Waterford, Conn. This is Tufts cross country’s last full-team meet before the NESCAC meet.