2 All-Americans for Men’s Cross Country
Senior Tim Nichols had the best-ever finish by a Tufts runner at the NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country National Championship on Nov. 19, with a third-place time of 24:09.7 at the 2016 national championship at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
Joining Nichols with a second Jumbo All-American performance (top 35) was classmate Luke O’Connor, who finished 20th overall with a time of 24:42.4. It is the first time in team history that two Tufts runners have posted All-American efforts in the same NCAA race, according to head coach Joel Williams.
Nichols’ third-place showing topped a sixth-place run in 1997 by Rod Hemingway as the best finish by a Jumbo at nationals in school history. His time of 24:09.7 was also the fastest at an NCAA meet for a Tufts runner, surpassing the 24:36 time by Matt Rand in 2011. Meanwhile, O’Connor’s time is the third best in team history at the national championship.
This is Nichols’ second consecutive All-American honor; he finished 19th at last year’s nationals (24:46.20). Also this season, Nichols was the New England Small College Athletic Conference champion and won the NCAA New England Regional Championship race.
O’Connor received his first cross country All-American accolade on Nov. 19. His 20th-place finish tied for the 10th best at NCAAs by a Jumbo. Ian LaMere from Wisconsin-Platteville won the individual title with a 23:40.4 mark. A total of 278 runners finished the race.
Nichols and O’Connor both competed at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship for the fourth straight season, but for the first time as individuals. Tufts narrowly missed earning a team berth after placing fifth at the NCAA Regional. Perennial power North Central College won its 17th Division III cross country championship.
Paul Sweeney, Tufts’ sports information director, can be reached at email@example.com.