King of the 800 Meters

With a victory in the outdoor event, Tufts junior Mitchell Black completes 2015 NCAA sweep

Mitchell Black in NCAA race

Mitchell Black, A16, is the undisputed NCAA Division III king of the 800 meters after winning the NCAA outdoor 800 title on May 23 at St. Lawrence University. Black, a member of the Tufts men’s track and field team, added the victory to the NCAA indoor 800 crown he won back in March.

Running in a nine-man final, Black took the lead at the top of the stretch and was not to be denied. He finished in 1:52.57 to edge Wisconsin-LaCrosse senior Sean Royer (1:52.89) and Ramapo freshman Jeremy Hernandez (1:52.90).

The seven-time All-American was the number-two qualifier in the NCAA outdoor 800 with a 1:49.83 time, which won the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association (NEICAAA) title at MIT on May 9. (His qualifying time for this year’s race is the Tufts record.) Only Buffalo State junior Austin Becker ran a faster 800 during the Division III outdoor season (1:49.74).

Black was the top returnee to the NCAA outdoor 800 field. He was the runner-up in 2014, with a time of 1:51.30. He easily advanced to this year’s final, winning the first heat in 1:50.60 on May 22.

At the national indoor meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on March 14, Black won the 2015 NCAA Division III indoor championship in the 800 meters with a 1:51.94 time. The indoor title was the first by a member of Tufts men’s track and field since Fred Jones won the triple jump at the 2006 NCAA outdoor championships. Black’s was the first in a running event since David Patterson won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2001 NCAA outdoor meet.

Entering the indoor meet in March, Black was ranked number one in the 800 meters. He was the fourth runner in NCAA Division III indoor history to clock a sub-1:50 in the event, timing 1:49.16 at Boston University’s David Hemery Valentine Indoor Invitational on Feb. 13. His time was the fastest in Division III since Ben Scheetz of Amherst set the DIII record of 1:47.43 at the NEICAAA Championships in 2012.

Black was third in the 800 indoors in 2014. He has three relay All-American honors indoors and another outdoor 800 All-American award from 2013 (seventh place). On May 22, he was named a Capital One Academic All-District Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country Team member.

This is the sixth straight national championship for which Black has qualified since starting his career for head coach Ethan Barron.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at

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