Tufts Alumni in the Running for U.S. Olympic Marathon Team
Three Tufts alumni have qualified to compete in the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, which will be run on February 29 in Atlanta.
Tyler Andrews, E13, and Matt Rand, A13, will compete in the men’s race, and Veronica Jackson Graziano, A09, is in the field for the women’s race. Both races will be broadcast live on NBC across the country from noon to 3 p.m.
“I’m thrilled to be representing Tufts and the NESCAC in the country’s most elite marathon,” said Rand. “There will be over a dozen other NESCAC alums competing in Atlanta, which speaks to the strength of the distance running culture at these schools. We hope to make the Jumbos proud this weekend.” NESCAC is the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which Tufts athletes compete in.
Andrews ran his qualifying time of 2:17.44 at the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon in 2018. Rand’s qualifying time of 2:18.36 came at the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2019. Graziano qualified with a 2:41.51 time at the California International Marathon in 2018.
When he was less than a year out of Tufts in 2014, Andrews placed twenty-ninth overall in the Boston Marathon with a 2:21.33 time. He now runs professionally for athletic shoe company Hoka One One and is one of the world’s best in ultrarunning—distances longer than a 26.2-mile marathon.
He was the silver medalist at the 2016 50-kilometer World Championships, and he was the 2019 USA Track & Field 50-Mile Road Champion with the second-fastest American time ever (2:46.06) in the event. Originally from Concord, Massachusetts, Andrews is the director and co-owner of STRIVE Trips, which offers international running and community service experiences.
Originally from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Rand is a research manager for US News & World Report. Affiliated with the Central Park Track Club / New Balance, he was an All-American at Tufts with a sixth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also ran with Tufts’ All-American distance medley relay at the NCAA indoor meet in 2012.
Andrews and Rand were teammates at Tufts and lived in the same house off campus. Both scored for the Jumbos in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races when Tufts hosted and won the NESCAC Championship in 2013. They are looking forward to reconnecting in Atlanta this weekend.
“I’m really excited to race alongside Matt, and watch him eat like four plates of plain pasta before the race and a whole bunch of vanilla ice cream with fake strawberry sauce afterward,” Andrews said. “He was the best runner on our team when we were in school, and I knew he had a great marathon in him. It was awesome to see him knock it out of the park and qualify at Indy last fall.”
Graziano is an attorney at Partners HealthCare, who is originally from Durham, New Hampshire. She was a solid distance runner during her time at Tufts, though she did not qualify for an NCAA championship. After law school, she ran a 2:54.31 New York City Marathon in 2015 and realized the 2:45 Olympic qualifying mark was within reach. She finished thirteenth at the 2018 Boston Marathon with a 2:49.41 finish and was disappointed she did not meet the Olympic time. It was short-lived though, as she qualified her next time out in Sacramento later that year.
Tufts nearly had a fourth alumnus qualify, as Peter Bromka, A05, missed by the narrowest of margins with his 2:19.02 time at the 2019 California International Marathon. The men’s Olympic qualifying mark is 2:19.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he told Runner’s World in January. “If you miss by 40 seconds, it’s easier to swallow. The race went as perfectly as I could have hoped for, but I was a little late and there was nothing I could do about it.”
The three highest placing finishers in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials will earn a position on the U.S. Team for the Games in Tokyo. The fourth-place finishers will become the Olympic Team alternates.
Tufts’ cross country and track & field teams are renowned for their cheering squads who show up at NCAA events across the country to support their fellow Jumbos. From the sounds of it, Atlanta will be painted brown and blue on Saturday as well.
“I’ve heard there will be a strong Tufts alumni contingent cheering on Saturday, so it’ll be great to have some familiar faces when I start to really feel sorry for myself in the later stages,” Andrews said.
Paul Sweeney, director of Athletic Communications, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.