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Men's Track & Field | Jumbos take third with slew of top finishes

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 02:02

In an effort that produced two wins and 11 total scoring performances, the Tufts men’s track and field team finished third out of 20 teams Saturday in the Tufts Stampede. The Jumbos finished with 69 points — 93 points fewer than MIT, the meet winner, and 16.5 behind Williams, who finished in second place.

With many of the Jumbos’ runners sitting this meet out, the field athletes picked up the slack and established new personal bests and qualify individually for championship meets.

The meet opened Friday evening with the first four of seven heptathlon events. By the conclusion of the heptathlon on Saturday, the eventual victor, senior Michael Blair, had notched two wins — first in the long jump, then in the high jump — as well as six top−three finishes overall to propel him to victory.

Blair amassed a point total of 4,637 which ranks seventh nationally.

“The plan was just to compete in every event,” Blair said. “Overall it was a solid two days. That score is a personal best.”

Next in the heptathlon standings for the Jumbos was junior Andrew Osborne, who finished fifth with a point total of 3,985. Trailing him by one place was sophomore Allan Yau, who finished with 3,584. Freshman Alex Karys, who ended up in seventh, rounded out the Tufts heptathlon team with his total of 3,456 points.

In the pole vault, senior tri−captain Brad Nakanishi tied for first with his clearance of 15 feet and 1inch, and, because the vaulter with whom he tied was unaffiliated, he was the top collegiate competitor on the day.

Sophomore Brian Williamson started off the throws for Tufts with an impressive performance in the shot put. He heaved the shot a distance of 51 feet and 10 inches, a new personal best, to land him in second place.

Later, in the weight throw, senior tri−captain Curtis Yancy finished in second place with his heave of 58 feet and four and a half inches, a distance that helped him remain in the No. 15 spot nationally. Classmate Andre Figueroa finished in sixth place with a throw of 47 feet and 11 inches.

Continuing his streak of impressive jumps throughout his first season, freshman Bryson Hoover−Hankerson earned sixth place in the long jump with his leap of 20 feet and 11 and a quarter inches.

Although it was the field athletes who headlined the results when all was said and done, there was one memorable performance in particular laid down on the track.

Junior Liam Cassidy led a limited core of runners with his outstanding showing in the 3,000. His time of 8:44.03 landed him in second place as well as in a spot in the New England Championship.

“The race went out perfect for me,” Cassidy said. “We went out somewhere around 4:40−4:45 for the mile and I was able to keep pace through the second half. I felt relaxed and that was important.”

Other notable displays were turned in by senior Vinnie Lee, who emerged 17th from a very deep field in the 60−meter dash, Alex Sheltzer, whose 19th place finish in the 400 was one of only eight top−35 finishes by a sophomore in that race, and sophomore Greg Hardy, who just cracked the top−10 as he placed ninth in the 5,000.

Because Coach Ethan Barron elected to sit most of his runners in addition to a few of his field athletes, those who did compete used the meet as a potential springboard to championship meets later on in the season.

“We are in great shape heading into the championship season,” Cassidy said. “The past few weeks we have had some stellar performances showing how deep the squad is right now.”

Their last chance to qualify for championship meets is this coming weekend, when the track squad and field squad will split up for the second time to attend their respective competitions on Feb. 9 and 10.

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