Men's Track and Field | Tufts finishes third in season opener
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 08:01
Carried by four victories and seven top-three finishes across various events, the Jumbos opened the first scored meet of their schedule with a strong performance, notching a third place finish overall with 99 points. The Jumbos were only bested on the day by Bates and UMass Lowell, who scored 147 and 130 points, respectively.
“The plan was to start the season with a lot of energy and really get behind our teammates,” junior David Sutherland said. “This mentality was seen everywhere on levels not usually seen until championship meets.”
The Jumbos executed this plan to near perfection, with their energy contributing to a slew of top-notch times and distances.
Though only the first meet of the season, it was full of tremendous performances from both veterans and newcomers. Junior Dan Lange Vagle turned in arguably the best performance of the day when he broke the school record ― set by senior Vinnie Lee just one year ago ― in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.15 seconds.
Freshman Mitchell Black, competing in his first collegiate meet, won the 600-meter run in a time of 1:22.96, looking like he was already in mid-season form. Junior Jamie Norton also impressed in a second place finish in the 1000 with a time of 2:33.60.
The Jumbos’ showing in the field events was equally impressive. Senior Gbola Ajayi was particularly dominant, as he took home the triple jump title with a phenomenal leap of 44 feet 8 inches, and finished second in the long jump at 21 feet 2 inches. Freshman Bryson Hoover Hankerson jumped 19 feet 2.5 inches” to land a fourth-place finish in the long-jump.
Senior captain Brad Nakanishi neared the school record in the pole vault by clearing 15 feet 5 inches to win the event, while his teammate, junior Trevor Rothaus, cleared 13 feet 11 inches to finish in fifth place.
Sophomore Brian Williamson represented the throwers with a solid toss of 49 feet 4.75 inches to claim third in the shot put.
While such impressive performances might not be expected at the beginning of the season, they did not come as a surprise to the members of the team.
“The cross country guys are still in great shape from their season, and the sprinters and throwers are coming off one of the best fall training seasons in recent memory,” junior sprinter Max Levitin said. “The team is set to do amazing things this year.”
The invitational brought back frustrating memories from a year ago, as Tufts once again found itself below Bates on the leaderboard. It was less than one year ago that the Bobcats edged out the Jumbos by just 10 points for first place in the outdoor NESCAC Championship, and since then Tufts has had its sights set on claiming that title for itself.
“We talked a lot during early return about how badly we want to win NESCACs, but we have to stay focused on each meet and compete every time we step on the track,” Levitin said. “We have to set goals for ourselves as a team along the way to keep the drive and competitiveness every day at practice and at every meet.”
Last night, a small number of distance runners raced at Boston University, and the rest of the team will travel to Bowdoin on Saturday to try and put together another strong showing.