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Men’s track takes two event wins in home finale

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 01:02

The Tufts men’s track and field team on Monday hosted its annual Cupid Challenge, the team’s final home meet of the season and its last opportunity to qualify for certain championship meets later on. With a number of athletes having missed earlier chances to do so because of injury or lackluster performances, Monday night was a final chance to extend their seasons.

Junior Graham Beutler needed a stellar performance to qualify for the championship season after returning from a bout of mononucleosis. His time of 22.65 seconds in the 200−meter dash was just that, bringing him mere milliseconds ahead of Hillsdale College freshman Alexander Mexicotte.

“It’s great to finally be back healthy and racing,” Beutler, who holds the Tufts record in the 200, said. “It was tough on everyone having the meet postponed several times, but I think we really handled it well as a team.”

Senior tri−captain Curtis Yancy claimed the second of those victories with his monster heave of 61 feet 8 1/2 inches in the weight throw, his best throw of the season by more than three feet. Not only was it the most impressive throw of Yancy’s career, but it also tied a 62−year old school record set by Tom Bane in 1951.

Though he had already qualified for the postseason and was ranked 15th in the nation prior to the Cupid Challenge, Yancy’s season personal best moved him further up the rankings to sixth. The victory puts him in prime position to compete for a regional or conference title heading into championship season, if not a national title.

Senior Andre Figueroa’s performance made up the second half of the Jumbos’ one−two finish in the weight throw with his toss of 52 feet 10 inches, an improvement of almost five feet from his performance at the Tufts Stampede back on Feb. 2.

In the pole vault, junior Trevor Rothaus increased his qualifying height from 4.25 meters to 4.30 meters, finishing third place overall just ahead of former NESCAC champion Trent Wiseman of Colby.

Senior Sam Haney needed a similar showing in the mile at the Challenge in order to qualify for the postseason, and pulled it off with a time of 4:19.54—third place among Div. III runners. He is looking to build on a remarkable fall season in which he became the first Tufts cross country runner in over a decade to win the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship.

The Jumbos assembled its first distance medley relay team of the season prior to the meet, a group of athletes that had little time to develop any sort of race chemistry.

Despite this being their first attempt at the event this season, the Jumbos performed extremely well, establishing themselves already as a foursome to be feared in the upcoming championships.

The squad, comprised of junior Max Levitin, sophomore Alex Schifter, senior Tyler Andrews and freshman Veer Bhalla, was looking to secure as high a seed as possible for the Div. III New England Championships. Their time of 10:54.80 was good enough for third, a strong finish to an impressive day on the track.

“I felt pretty good,” Levitin said. “The [relay] ran almost 30 seconds faster than it was seeded to get a good time for the Div. III New England’s next weekend.”

Those who qualified at the Cupid Challenge or at earlier meets will compete next at the Div. III New England Championships this Friday and Saturday at Bates College.

“Even though we didn’t have close to a full squad today, we had great energy that we will bring into championship season,” Levitin said. “[We had] some big marks today and only room to improve.”

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