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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, February 23, 2024

Men's track and field gets first taste of outdoor season at Northeastern

The men's track and field team participated in its first outdoor meet at a very windy Husky Spring Open hosted by Northeastern University last Saturday. The Jumbos were pitted against Div. I teams such as host Northeastern, the University of Rhode Island, and Boston College, as well as other Div. III programs from the greater Boston area.

"We like that," Putnam said when asked if he enjoys participating against Div. I competition. "We'll go against those guys anytime."

The meet was non-scoring, which allowed coach Connie Putnam to rest runners such as senior tri-captains Greg Devine and Bryan Pitko, who are fresh off indoor All-American performances in the 55-meter hurdles with fifth and eighth place finishes respectively.

"Coach wanted to rest us to make sure we are healthy for the rest of the season," Devine said. "It's senior year, he wants us to do well."

The Husky Spring Open also gave other runners opportunities to experiment with events they have never run. Besides resting and experimentation, runners as well as athletes who participated in field events attempted to get acclimated to the outdoor season.

"We were out there for guys to see where they are from last season," Devine said. "We had a couple freshmen compete in events they didn't do in high school and they held their own. We also had a couple seniors step up and will really contribute this outdoor season."

Among runners who participated in events they had never taken part in before this season was senior tri-captain Adam Sharp. Sharp made his debut in the 3000 steeplechase just to build up strength for his primary middle distance races, placing ninth in a field of 16 runners with a time of 10:30.85. Putnam believes Sharp will not run the event again, but his primary steeplechase runner, junior Peter Jurczynski also ran in the event. He finished in sixth place, three spots ahead of Sharp, with a time of 10:07.96.

"It was a good performance for the first time out given the wind and circumstances," Putnam said of his steeplechase runners.

While some sprint events were left vacant due to runners resting up for the season, there were strong individual performances on the day. Sophomore Ray Carre placed highest of any individual Jumbo, finishing fourth in the 400 dash at a time of 50.99, just over a second slower than the winner. Sophomore Nate Thompson (15.99) finished seventh in the 110 hurdles. The 4x400 relay team composed of Carre, freshman Trevor Williams, graduate student Adam Carberry, and freshman Shawn Hansberry left all but one opponent in its dust as it finished second with a time of 3:29.32.

Distance runners also were no slouches as freshman Matt Lacey ran the 5000 in a time of 15:42.15 to claim fifth place. Junior Ian Joseph (4:14.91) finished in 12th place out of 61 competitors in the 1500. Putnam was impressed with sophomore Brian McNamara's performance in the 1500 as he placed 19th with a time of 4:17.42, as he had to battle through tendentious. Junior Peter Bromka ran an obscenely long distance to take sixth place in the 10,000 after crossing the line 34:02.94 after he started.

"Saturday was simply a trial balloon for most of the guys," Putnam said.

The field constituent of the squad also had a productive day as jumpers as well as throwers adjusted well to the natural obstacles the outdoor season provides in comparison to that of the indoor campaign.

Junior Adrian Clarke was the only non-seeded competitor to finish the pole vault competition as he catapulted his 6'2'' over 4.04m, finishing 10th overall. Thompson displayed his versatility as he not only ran the 110 hurdles but also tied for sixth place in the long jump (6.31m) and eighth in the triple jump (12.36m) respectively. Also in the triple jump was sophomore Evan Blaser who finished one spot behind Thompson at 11.93m.

The throwers were held down by senior Andy Dickerson, who threw the discus 39.00m to claim 10th place as well as sophomore Dan Marsh, who took sixth in the hammer throw with a 47.59m effort.

"The jumpers and throwers stepped up quite a bit through the indoor season. We are expecting good things from them in the outdoor season," Pitko said. "The combination of their efforts with that of the spring and distance squads should make for a season of great performances."

Putnam believes this meet was just a warm-up for the outdoor season, and still thinks all of his athletes can perform to a higher level than they did last weekend.

This sentiment of improvement and getting on track for the season was echoed by Pitko, who also thinks the Husky Spring Open was used as a warm-up meet. Along with this first meet, Devine feels practice is the key to this team's success.

"We have a lot of good athletes as long as we push ourselves in practice, competition will just be like another practice."

The team's ultimate goal besides improving every meet is competing for the NESCAC title. Pitko feels this target is highly attainable.

"After our performance at Div. III's in indoor, I expect the team to compete for the NESCAC championship," Pitko said.