Men's Track and Field | Distance runners stand out at All-New England Championship
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 08:02
The best runners, throwers and jumpers in the region convened at Boston University on Friday and Saturday for the All-New England Championship, as athletes from all collegiate divisions came together. The meet offered yet another occasion for the men’s track and field team to hit personal-best and qualifying marks and draw inspiration from the intense competition.
“I love suiting up to compete against guys from all three divisions,” senior Gbola Ajayi said. “It’s always an opportunity to prove that Div. III is not inferior to the others, that our best guys can hang with just about anybody.”
Despite the tough competition, the Jumbos fared remarkably well — especially in the longer distances, as they recorded a number of high finishes en route to several national rankings without any event wins.
Freshman sensation Mitchell Black had the best performance of the day, nearly breaking the school record in the 800 with his personal-best time of 1:51.89 in the preliminaries, a mark that ranks in the top five nationally. Black went on to place fourth in the final with a run of 1:52.77.
Senior tri-captain Jeff Marvel clocked a season-best time of 1:53.14 in the 800 but still fell one spot short of breaking into the final group. He will need to improve upon that time in order to lock up one of the other 12 spots available to Div. III runners from all conferences across the country and join Black at the NCAA Championship.
In other mid-distance events, junior Jamie Norton placed 14th in the mile with his time of 4:11.13, and senior Adam Brosh notched a personal-best in the 1000 with his time of 2:30.85 to claim 16th place.
Junior Liam Cassidy also clocked a personal best — his time of 8:38.73 was good enough for 15th place in the 1000.
Tufts also ran well in its three relay events, placing 19th in the 4x400, 12th in the 4x800 and 17th in the distance medley relay. Freshman Veer Bhalla and junior Graham Beutler delivered the highlights from these events — Bhalla split around a 1:53 in the 4x800, while Beutler, in the process of regaining his form after a few weeks off, split around 48 seconds in the 4x400.
“The 4x4 relay had a solid showing, running our best time of the season,” Beutler said in an email to the Daily. “Alex Kasemir ran a fast lead off leg, and Larry Zia came back from injury to run a great anchor leg.”
However, the success was not limited to the track, as Tufts turned in a slew of solid jumps and throws as well.
They were led by senior tri-captain Curtis Yancy, who earned fourth place in the weight throw, with his heave of 59 feet 7.75 inches. Junior Andre Figueroa threw his way into a top 25 position as well with his heave of 47 feet 3.75 inches. Sophomore Brian Williamson placed 17th in the shot put with a throw of 47 feet 4.5 inches.
Ajayi had another strong meet in both horizontal jumps. He took 18th in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet four inches, and he finished nine places higher in the triple jump with a distance of 47 feet 2.5 inches. The latter jump ranks 16th in the nation thus far.
Overall, the Jumbos are approaching the time of year when everyone needs to be in top form and ready for the hardest meets of the season. Over the next few weeks, they’ll continue to try to trim their times and round into championship form.
“We get stronger every meet, and our teammates continue to surprise us and show how much depth we have as a team,” Cassidy said.
The Jumbos will have one more chance to hit qualifying marks at the aptly named “Last Chance” meet, hosted in the Gantcher Center on March 2.