Men’s track and field took first place out of nine teams at the Tufts Cupid Challenge hosted in Gantcher this past weekend. The team has tallied two other first place finishes in its indoor track season thus far. Coming off a strong 2022 season, junior thrower Petey Lemmon spoke to high standards for Tufts track and field.
“We won NESCAC last year, so we’re trying to keep up that sort of standard of success,” Lemmon said. “So we have a lot of high expectations, but I think we’ve been meeting them pretty well. At least on the thrower side of things, a lot of people have been progressing in the right way. Most of our PRs are better than they were last year.”
Lemmon’s sentiments could be clearly seen this past weekend, with many members of the team grabbing first place finishes and personal bests. Highlights from the Cupid Challenge include first-year Cullen McCaleb’s personal best of 8:33.37 in the 3,000-meter race. Junior Luke Botsford took first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.59 and second in the 400 with a time of 50.76. Junior Jackson O’Toole added another victory to the tally for the Jumbos in the 1,000-meter race with a personal-best time of 2:32.39. The Tufts “A” team, composed of McCaleb, O’Toole, first-year Will Cusato and junior Ryan Proulx ran a 8:08.47 for a first-place finish in the 4×800 relay. One more top finish came from senior Drew Svoboda, who recorded a season-best 6.92 meters in the long jump. These top finishes, along with a handful of high finishes for the men’s team, earned them 158 total points. Amherst College trailed close behind with 147.50 points, and MIT came in third with 120.
Successes across the board can in part be attributed to the remarkable focus and drive from the entire team, Lemmon shared.
“The track team is, I would say, a very large body of people,” Lemmon said. “And it’s usually pretty hard to have everyone moving toward the same direction with the same sort of vigor. But everyone who you talk to, … almost everyone from top to bottom, they take track as seriously as they can, and they do everything they can to get better [and] do their best.”
Given the size of the team, which currently has a roster of 75 for the men, junior mid-distance and distance runner David Manning shared the importance of supporting each other.
“It’s a big team across both the men’s and women’s side, so it’s just important to make sure that we get to know everyone and that while we’re at the meet, we cheer for all events,” Manning said. “We’re constantly involved in making sure that every event group knows that they play an important part [in] scoring, so we can win every meet.”
As the team reaches the homestretch of the indoor season, eyes are set on the Division III New England Championships and the National Qualifying Meet. Lemmon talked about the steps taken to ready themselves for the upcoming competitions.
“A lot of the event groups right now are in the peak of their lifting or just work schedule,” Lemmon said. “At least for throwers, our lifting program is really heavy this week, and then next week, we start getting lighter. From what I’ve been hearing from a lot of the sprint team, their workouts have been pretty hard during these last two weeks. But I think they’re about to have a lighter load as well in preparation for New Englands.”
Specifically in reference to Division III New Englands, one of the team’s biggest indoor meets of the season, Manning shared the team’s aspirations.
“Hopefully we can show the other New England teams that we’re one of the best, if not the best. [It’s] definitely gonna be tough to beat MIT.”
The team travels a short distance into the city this weekend for a meet full of more action and hopeful personal bests in the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational.