Men's Track and Field | Home-field advantage sees Tufts through to second place
Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 06:02
Having already notched a first and second-place finish this season, Tufts hosted a two-day competition in the Gantcher Center, beginning Friday and concluding late Saturday morning.
The team’s consistency, which dates back to last spring’s NESCAC championship and nationals performances, has been its hallmark. The Jumbos have picked up right where they left off, and this meet was no exception.
Friday kicked off with the heptathlon, in which sophomore Alex Karys and senior Andrew Osborne took second and third, respectively. Osborne finished a mere six points behind Karys, who won both the long jump and the shot put. Karys’s tally of 4,075 points, most of which came from field events, is a personal best.
Also competing in the event for the Jumbos were freshmen Nicholas Usoff and Dan Camilletti and junior Allan Yau. Yau emerged atop the latter group, finishing with 3,832 points, while Usoff finished with 3,334 and Camilletti with 2,777.
The remainder of the festivities commenced Saturday morning, which bore witness to numerous personal bests, a couple of national qualifiers and a slew of top-five finishes.
At the end of the day, Tufts accumulated 117 points, more than 100 points off of MIT’s meet-leading 257. Still, MIT’s dominance failed to overshadow Tufts’ stellar individual performances as well as its solid team effort.
Sophomore Mitchell Black, who has burst onto the scene as a rookie, added to his illustrious resume with the fastest NCAA Div. III 800-meter time in the nation thus far this season. His time doubled as a school record, as Black surpassed the mark previously established by Jeff Marvel (LA ’13) in 2012. He crossed the line over two seconds before his nearest challenger with a time of 1:51.14, and although his time was augmented because it was recorded on a flat indoor track, Black will almost certainly qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Veer Bhalla, a classmate of Black’s, also performed well in the 800, placing third in an indoor personal-best time of 1:54.92, which landed him alongside Black among the top 10 times in the nation.
“Personally, I was surprised with my race on Saturday,” Bhalla said. “I didn’t think I could hit that time this early in the season. I’m pretty pumped about that, and I’m looking to back it up with a 1:53 low at BU this weekend hopefully.”
Sophomore Francis Goins was the lone Tufts runner to finish in the top ten in a packed field in the 400-meter dash, crossing the line in a time of 50.95, which was good enough for a personal best. Senior Max Levitin also recorded a personal best, 53.94, which got him 13th place overall.
Not to be outdone, Tufts’ distance runners continued the impressive streak of performances on the track. Junior Marshall Pagano clocked a time of 8:48.18 to finish second in the 3,000-meter run, and he was joined in the top-five by freshman Luke O’Connor, who posted a time of 8:50.65 to continue a promising rookie season.
Tufts fared well in the mile, too, as senior Ben Wallis and sophomore James Traester took fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the field events, sophomore Atticus Swett placed fifth in the weight throw with a heave of 49’ 2 1/2”. In the shot put, his toss of 47’ 3/4” earned him a third-place finish, as he ended his day with two impressive top-10 finishes. Junior Brian Williamson edged out Swett in the shot-put, placing second with a throw of 51’ 3”, ensuring that Tufts claimed two of the top three spots in that event.
The long and triple jump witnessed two more fine performances, turned in by sophomore Bryson Hoover-Hankerson and freshman Jared Asselin. With a jump of 20’ 9”, Hoover-Hankerson placed fifth, while Asselin finished in the same place in the triple jump with a jump of 42’ 6”.
Despite being so quick out of the gate as a unit, some members of the team still feel as though the lost presence of a talented crop of graduated seniors from last year’s squad shorts them on respect.