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

Jumbos place sixth at Springfield

Tufts senior Allan Yau jumped, threw and ran himself to a top-four finish in the heptathlon.

The men’s track and field team started its championship season with a sixth-place finish at the New England Div. III Championships at Springfield College this past Saturday. A total score of 52.5 placed Tufts behind MIT, Bates, Williams, Southern Maine and Bridgewater State. Amherst, Bowdoin, Coast Guard and Westfield State rounded out the rest of the top 10.

The sixth-place finish was admittedly below the standards the team had set for themselves beforehand, but some impressive individual finishes kept the team hopeful for the season looking ahead.

Off the track, the Jumbos saw sophomore Pietro Possenti and junior Atticus Swett earn high finishes in the pole vault and shot put, respectively. Possenti reached a 13’ 9.25” clearance to tie for fourth while Swett placed in fifth with a 47’ 9’’ throw.

Meanwhile junior Michael Curley managed his best performance of the season in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:52.11 -- enough to earn him second in the event.

Senior Allan Yau scored another top finish for Tufts, finishing in fourth-place in the heptathlon. Yau accumulated a season-best 4,236 points in the competition.

Despite this being Tufts’ first finish outside the top five since 2000, the team did impress with three wins at Springfield. Juniors Veer Bhalla, Mitchell Black and the relay team of Bhalla, Black and first-­years Tom DePalma and Peter McCawley all scored victories on Saturday. Bhalla claimed the top spot in the 600 meter, clocking a 1:21.60 finish. Black, meanwhile, ran to first place in the 1,000-meter run in 2:28.24. Black’s performance in the race was not only impressive, but also record breaking, as he surpassed the previous record of 2:28.70 set in 2010 by Billy Hale (LA '10). This was the second week in a row that Black set a school record after he set Boston University's track ablaze with a 1:49.16 clocking in the 800 meter last week. The two then combined with DePalma and McCawley to notch another top finish in the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 7:57.32.

Injuries to important members on the team may have been one source of the team’s somewhat disappointing finish. This included the absence of senior Brian Williamson, who could have had a major positive impact on the outcome of the meet.

Senior co-captain Marshall Pagano, who earned a 2:33.38 time in the 1,000 meters, believes the New England Championship, taking place this weekend at Boston University, is the second biggest team meet of the season, behind the NESCAC championship.

“It was a good wake up call for the guys because we’re really looking forward to the NESCACs ... it was a really big team meet for us,” he said. “It told us that there’s work to be done. We want to keep ramping up that intensity and that focus.”