Men's Track & Field Wins Indoor Title
The Tufts University men's indoor track & field team took Middlebury College's New Balance Foundation Track in the Virtue Field House by storm on February 17 to win their second straight New England Division III championship. Head coach Joel Williams' Jumbos compiled 110 points to out-score #3 in the nation MIT, who finished with a 97 score.
Tufts, ranked 16th in this week's US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll, won four events, earned three runner-up performances, had a pair of thirds and set three facility records. They won the Jumbo program's sixth New England indoor championship overall (2018, 2017, 2008, 1991, 1983, 1980). A total of 21 Jumbos contributed to the team scoring.
"It was another epic battle with some very heavy hitters—MIT, Williams and Middlebury—and we had some guys like Benji Wallace and Kevin Quisumbing come up with some clutch performances," head coach Joel Williams said. "Every guy contributed whether it was scoring points or sprinting between pole vault and shot to cheer. This was a full team effort. This was a special feat. To be the first Tufts team to repeat and only the third New England team to repeat is amazing. The best part is the guys are not satisfied with just this, they've already turned their focus to getting indoor nationals."
Senior co-captain Drew DiMaiti and junior Hiroto Watanabe in the 800 both repeated as New England champions. DiMaiti became the fifth consecutive Jumbo to win the 600 at this meet with a 1:20.60 mark that was both his personal-best and a facility record. Watanabe also recorded a facility record with his 1:54.81 winning time in the 800. DiMaiti led Tufts' most productive event at the meet as the Jumbos scored 17 points in the 600. Junior Nico Agosti was fourth with a 1:23.43 PR and sophomore Jackson Mihm added a seventh-place finish (1:24.83).
Tufts' Josh Etkind and WPI freshman Oliver Thomas battled for the 60-meter hurdles title with the Jumbo junior prevailing. Thomas had edged Etkind in the preliminaries 8.37 to 8.42, but Etkind won a dramatic final with a 8.233 winning mark over Thomas' 8.235 seconds. Etkind's 8.24 final improved his national ranking in the event to 13th as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Junior Anthony Kardonsky scored 15 points for Tufts in the sprints, winning the 200 meters in a facility-record time of 22.26 seconds and placing fourth in the 60-meter dash. His 6.96 time in the 60 matched his career best which is currently at #19 nationally. Sophomore Robert Jones added an eighth-place in the 60 meters with a 7.04 finish after he had recorded a PR of 7.01 in the preliminaries. Freshman OJ Armstrong ran sixth in the 200 meters (22.70).
Wallace hit a huge PR in the pole vault to finish as the runner-up. He cleared the bar at 15-1 1/2 (4.61m), eight inches better than his previous career-best (14-5 1/2; 4.41m). Today's effort is the #30 ranked vault in the country. Senior Stefan Duvivier added second-place points in the high jump, where his 6-8 1/4 (2.04m) was a season best.
Tufts compiled 15 points in the relays, including a second-place foursome (sophomore Roman Lovell, senior co-captain Tom DePalma, sophomore Matt D'Anieri and Watanabe) in the 4x800 (7:54.08). The Jumbos were fifth in the 4x4 (3:25.22) with DiMaiti, Agosti, Mihm and junior Thomas Doyle. In the distance medley relay, a Jumbo combo of freshman Joseph Berrafati, freshman Vincent Avallone, Lovell and sophomore Dylan McEniry posted a 10:34.76 mark that is a national top 40 time and was sixth in the race.
In the 1,000 meters, D'Anieri ran a PR of 2:30.93 to grab third place. Quisumbing earned the third spot in the shot put, where his season-best 50-6 1/4 (15.40m) is top 40 in Division III.
The Jumbos snared seven points in the heptathlon with junior Henry Hintermeister finishing with a 4,404 score for fourth place and classmate James Gregoire totaling a personal-best 4,125 for seventh place. Hintermeister moved up from sixth place after Friday's four events, scoring 794 points in today's 1,000 meters (2:47.31) and 739 points in the 60-meter hurdles (9.03). Gregoire was even better in the heptathlon 1,000 today with a 2:46.61 time to land 801 points.
A pair of seventh-place finishes by Lovell in the 1,000 meters (2:33.82) and freshman Matthew Manteiga in the long jump (21-4 1/4 ; 6.51m) also aided the Tufts cause.
Behind Tufts and MIT in the team scoring were Williams (92.5), host Middlebury (83) and WPI (72.5) to round out the top five.
Tufts has national-qualifying meets at Boston University next Sunday and at home on March 3 before the NCAA meet coming up March 9-10.
Paul Sweeney is director of athletic communications.