Men's Track and Field | Distance medley relay headlines another successful weekend
Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:02
The men’s track and field team has been on a tear the past several weeks. Numerous athletes have recorded personal bests, qualified for the NCAA Championships, broken school records, and even become the fastest in the country at their respective events. The icing on the cake is that the Jumbos have not finished below second place in any team event.
On the cusp of championship season, after leaving countless opponents in the dust, Tufts showed no signs of slowing down at the Tufts Cupid Challenge this past Saturday.
The distance medley relay (DMR), comprising seniors Graham Beutler and Jamie Norton, as well as sophomores Mitchell Black and Veer Bhalla, stood out. The quartet finished second behind top-ranked Haverford by less than two-tenths of a second, coming within two seconds of the school record.
“This was Veer’s first time running the DMR and he put in an awesome 800-meter leg to set Jamie up for the final leg, the 1,600,” Beutler said. “I’d say that, overall, we’re happy and know that we can go even faster.”
Coach Ethan Barron, electing to preserve these four athletes by restricting them to this one event, has his sights set on mid-March. He hopes, as do returning DMR members Beutler, Norton and Black, to avenge a heartbreaking loss to the DMR team from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at last year’s indoor national championships.
However, according to Bhalla, this quartet may have been a one-time arrangement.
“We’re not sure if we’ll have another go at it with the same crew, though,” Bhalla told the Daily in an e-mail. “With Mitch and Graham ranked [first] in the nation, they will probably opt for the individual event at nationals.”
Senior tri-captain Ben Wallis and senior Andrew Shapero also shined, finishing third and fourth in the 3,000-meter run. Sandwiched between two NESCAC runners, Wallis and Shapero both crossed the line less than two seconds after sophomore Dan Crowley of Amherst. Springfield College senior Ryan O’Connell led the pack with a time of 8:35.16 and was the only non-NESCAC athlete to finish inside the top six.
The 3,000-meter run proved to be Tufts’ best event of the day by far, as six of the top-15 runners came from Tufts. Seniors Liam Cassidy and Brian McLaughlin and juniors Marshall Pagano and Sam Garfield all finished within 11 seconds of one another to become the largest contingent in the top-15.
Sophomore Michael Curley also contributed to the distance squad’s impressive performance, recording a personal best time of 15:26.96 that was good for eighth place. In the 800-meter run, classmate Alex Apostolides broke the two-minute mark with his time of 1:58.12. Junior Joseph St. Pierre rounded out the Tufts duo in that race, crossing the line in 2:02.81.
Whereas upperclassmen dominated the distance events, several underclassmen rose to the occasion off the track. In the high jump, freshman Jarad Asselin cleared the bar set at 6,’ and his classmate Pietro Possenti cleared the pole vault bar at a height of 13’ 7 1/4”. Asselin also competed in the triple jump, finishing 14th with a jump of 40’ 9 1/2.”
As always, upperclassmen stood out in the field events. Junior Brian Williamson cracked the top-10 in the weight throw with a heave of 47’ 6 1/2.” In the long jump, senior Andrew Osborne leapt 20’ 7 1/4” to finish ninth, while junior Allan Yau and senior Ned DeLeo were separated by a mere quarter of an inch and came in 14th and 16th, respectively.
Senior tri-captain David Sutherland expects the Jumbos to keep producing strong results at MIT next weekend in the New England Division III Championships, where Tufts seeks to dethrone the hosts and current defending champions.
“Going into Div. III championships, we are looking to bring a lot of energy as a team,” Sutherland said. “We have a history of bringing it when it counts and are hoping to show up to MIT as a dominant force both on and off the track. Our guys are just tapping into the potential that we’re capable of, and if we bring it as a team this weekend it could be a game-changer.”