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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jumbos continue impressive showings with top national times

Senior Allan Yau, competes in the long jump in Gantcher.

Further building toward a successful season, the men’s track and field team boasted two successful performances at its most recent meets. For these meets, the team was split in two. A small number of athletes headed for Boston University’s John Thomas Invitational on Jan. 31, while most of the team stayed in Medford for the Tufts Stampede on the same day.

Despite the small number of runners, the group traveling to BU had an impressive showing.

“The BU guys really ran great,” senior co-captain Marshall Pagano told the Daily in an email.

He also noted several significant performances, including that of junior Mitchell Black in the 800-meter race. Black ran the fastest time for the 800 meter-race in Div. III so far this season, winning his heat and securing a spot to compete at the NCAA national championship in the process.

Black would leave another mark on the BU meet as part of the 4x400 team with fellow juniors Veer Bhalla, Alex Kasemir and Francis Goins. The team finished with a 3:18.17 time, putting them in the top 10 in the country, but falling short of qualifying for nationals.

However, Pagano is confident in this team’s ability to qualify.

“We all know [the 4x4] is capable of more,” he said.

Bhalla himself also ran a top time nationally, taking 16th in the 800 with a 1:53.28, but did not qualify and will instead look to secure his NCAA nationals spot this weekend.

Of the younger Jumbos competing at BU, hurdler Andrew DiMaiti looked impressive in the open 400, clocking a time of 49.49 and finishing 34th of the 151 athletes. Additionally, sophomore Nicholas Usoff finished 29th of 86 athletes with a time of 1:05.78 in the 500 meters. Overall, it was a notable showing by the Jumbos competing away from home.

Back at the Tufts Stampede, the remainder of the team posted some impressive performances in the field events. Junior Atticus Swett recorded a third place in the shot put finish with a throw of 48'4". Swett, first-year Linus Gordon and sophomore Henry Zhou posted season bests in weight throw, high jump and hurdles, respectively. Meanwhile, sophomore Thomas Wang came in fourth in the high jump (6’ 0”) and second in the 60-meter hurdles (8.97 seconds). Zhou came in third in the 60-meter hurdles (9.07 seconds).

In the 5000-meter race, two Tufts athletes posted personal bests -- sophomore Tim Nichols with a 14:57 and junior Michael Curley with a 15:07, placing fourth and sixth, respectively. Additionally, junior James Traester had a successful 3000-meter race, clocking in a time of 8:40, 10 seconds lower than his previous PR. Pagano and sophomore Luke O'Connor placed fifth and seventh in the 3,000 meters with times of 8:47 and 8:48, respectively.

In the multis, both junior Alex Karys and senior Allan Yau had two good days in the heptathlon. Karys gained 4,168 points for third, while Yau took fourth with 4,067 points.

For the distance runners, this weekend's focus was not only on fast times and high finishes.

"BU is always really fast competition, and we had some good teams come to Tufts," Curley said. "We are still building and focusing on the later season meets. The last few weeks have been getting back into the groove of things."

Pagano has taken a similar view, noting that the team is gaining “serious momentum.” He also mentioned that the team is looking at the upcoming Div. III New England Championship at Springfield College as its first real test of the championship season. Besides that, the team has a packed schedule for the remainder of the season with many home and away meets -- leaving plenty of time to capitalize on this built-up momentum.

Next up in the immediate future, the Jumbos will reunite to host the Cupid Challenge at the Gantcher Center next weekend.