Men's Track & Field | Split squad impresses with individual performances at MIT and BU
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 01:01
The Tufts men’s track and field team split up on Saturday to compete in both the Terrier Classic at Boston University and the MIT Invitational. The track athletes went to the Terrier Classic and the field athletes to MIT, and while neither meet counted towards Tufts’ record as a team this season, each provided an opportunity for the Jumbos to showcase themselves as individuals and to shave seconds off their times with more important team meets around the corner.
A faster, banked track at BU and the pacing of professionals and some of the top runners from Div. I schools led to a number of fast times for Tufts. Senior Kyle Marks stood out on the day, earning an eighth-place finish out of 64 in the 5,000 meter run. Marks, who notched a personal best time of 14:33.63, now has one of the top-five times in the country.
“My goal was to feel comfortable through 3,000 meters without having to work too much, and after that to dig in and close hard, and I was able to do that pretty well,” Marks said.
In the 3,000, junior Jamie Norton also ran a personal best time, 8:35.26, to finish 44th out of 146. Fellow junior Ben Wallis wasn’t far behind, finishing in 8:47.26 to place 77th, and sophomore Greg Hardy recorded the Jumbos’ second personal best in the race, placing 88th with a time of 8:50.63.
Senior Adam Brosh spearheaded the Jumbo charge in the mile, placing 62nd in a field of 176 with a time of 4:20.24. This summer’s Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000 meter, Galen Rupp, won the event in 3:50.92, the fastest time recorded at the Boston University track.
In the shorter distances, the Jumbos managed an even more impressive performance. Tufts fared especially well in the 800 meter, with two runners finishing in the top 15. Freshman Mitch Black, continuing his extraordinary start to the season, finished 10th out of 143 runners with a time of 1:53.19. Just four places behind him in 14th was senior tri-captain Jeff Marvel, who crossed the line in 1:53.67.
In the 400, senior Vinnie Lee led Tufts with a time of 49.90 to finish in 47th out of a field of 147. Freshman Woody Butler, who ran a 50.16 to place 54th, was the next Jumbo across the line.
“The BU meet was a huge step forward for a lot of our guys,” Black said. “We still have work to do, but this weekend was certainly a step in the right direction.”
On the other side of the Charles River, the Tufts field athletes recorded four victories and a number of top-five finishes, continuing their strong performances from the past few weeks.
Senior Gbola Ajayi headlined for the Jumbos, claiming two of the four individual victories on the day. In the long jump, Ajayi leaped 22 feet 0.25 inches; in the triple jump, his winning distance of 46 feet 8.75 inches gave him the 12th longest jump in the country in Div. III this season.
“[The MIT] meet was the first meet where I used my full approach,” Ajayi said. “I’m still building strength, speed, [and] explosiveness, and
still working my technique.”
Tufts’ next victory came in the pole vault. In his first win since the Tufts Invitational, senior tri-captain Brad Nakanishi cleared 15 feet 1 inch, nearly a foot higher than the next-best collegiate competitor.
Sophomore Brian Williamson won easily as well in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet 3.5 inches. Senior Andre Figueroa placed fifth in the event with a throw of 40 feet 1.25 inches.
Meanwhile, senior tri-captain Curtis Yancy turned in an excellent performance in the weight throw, coming within a foot and a half of winning the event. His toss of 58 feet 3.25 inches not only netted him second place in the event at MIT, but it was good enough to rank 15th nationally in Div. III. Figueroa also performed well in the weight throw, coming in third place with a throw of 50 feet 0.75 inches.
“Our field events are some of our best, and so I expect us to contribute in a major way to the team,” Ajayi said.
The Jumbos next compete at the Tufts Pentathlon/Heptathlon on Feb. 1 and the Tufts Stampede on Feb. 2.