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Men's Track and Field | Beutler, Norton lead team to stellar BU performance

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 09:02

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Anne Levine / The Tufts Daily

Divide and conquer was the mantra for the men’s track and field team this weekend, as athletes went their separate ways — the majority to Boston University’s David Hemery Invite, others to the Gordon Kelly Invitational at MIT. These two meets, sandwiched between two home meets, served as the final big-time events before championship season begins. 

Because the meets were not scored, Tufts’ athletes seized a rare opportunity to compete against a wide range of athletes — collegiates and professionals hailing from both Div. I and Div. III.

Seemingly lost among packed fields of competitors, the Jumbos stood out with a slew of tremendous performances. Seniors Graham Beutler and tri-captain Jamie Norton led the Jumbos at Boston University with the two most impressive individual performances in the season thus far. Each recorded a personal best and secured a spot at nationals. 

In the 400-meter dash, Beutler nearly broke the 18-year-old school record with a personal best time of 48.31 seconds. This is the fastest time in Div. III this year, which should be good enough for the top five in the nation by the end of championship season. After his tremendous showing in the 400, Beutler took to the track once more for the 200-meter dash, where he crossed the line in 21.93 seconds, placing him 16th and in the national top five for Div. III. 

Norton, not to be outdone by his classmate, placed 33rd in a field of 307 with a time of 4:06.38 in the mile. Not only did the race land him among the top three in the nation for the mile, but he also surpassed the previous Tufts record of 4:07.24 by almost a full second. 

Additionally, Norton anchored Tufts’ best overall group of runners, as six Jumbos finished under 4:25 in the mile. One of the biggest groups of runners to finish under that benchmark at the meet, Tufts’ performance topped off a wildly successful tune-up for championship season in the NESCAC, a conference that consistently boasts some of the top distance runners in the country. 

“The Boston University meet was amazing,” senior Max Levitin told the Daily in an email. “Pretty much everyone ran well and PR’ed big. We’re all in really good shape heading into championships season, and it’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.”

The flurry of personal bests did not stop with Beutler and Norton, as sophomore Francis Goins recorded not one but two, in the 400 and 200. Goins finished 12 places behind Beutler in the 400 with a time of 49.04 seconds — good enough for the top 15 nationally. In the 200, Goins took 57th place with a time of 22.59 seconds. 

Sophomore Veer Bhalla joined in on the parade of PRs, recording a personal best for the second consecutive week, crossing the line in 2:29.40 in the 1000-meter run. 

“I’m really happy with my performance in the 1000,” Bhalla said. “I think this has been our best weekend so far this season.” 

Although Tufts’ delegation to MIT, the smaller of the two groups, did not make as much of a statement, it also notched several top-five finishes. It was the underclassmen who stole the show, which bodes well for the team moving forward. 

In the field events, sophomore Atticus Swett placed third in the shot put with a 48’ throw, and took third in the weight throw with a distance of 47’5.75.” Freshman Pietro Possenti finished seventh in the pole vault, clearing a height of 13’1.5,” and tying with fellow Jumbo, junior Mitch Stallman. 

The freshman duo of Thomas Wang and Dan Camilletti took two of the first six spots in the 60-meter hurdles, while sophomore Bryson Hoover-Hankerson finished sixth in the 60-meter dash in 7.29 seconds. Hoover-Hankerson also jumped 21’2.5” in the long jump to place fifth. 

The successful weekend leaves the team in a good spot heading into the final stretch of the season. 

“We have some of the top times in the country after this weekend,” Levitin said. “[We are] off to a pretty great season so far and I can’t wait to see what we can do in the coming weeks.”

Tufts returns home for the Tufts Cupid Challenge on Feb. 15, the final buffer meet before the New England Div. III Championships, where the Jumbos, coming off of a strong early season, seek to dethrone reigning champion Williams College. 

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