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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Members of men's and women's cross country teams set personal bests at NCAA Championships

Starting-line-NCAAs
Members of the Tufts women's cross country team are pictured at the 2021 NCAA Div. III Cross Country Championship.

On Nov. 20, the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. to compete in the NCAA Championship race. The men and women competed in the 8K and 6K races respectively.

There were 32 spots each for the men’s and women’s races, to be filled by the best cross country teams in the country. The 10 regional championship winners automatically qualified for the meet. The Tufts women’s team, having won the East region, was one of the automatic qualifiers in the women’s race. The remaining 22 team spots in each race were given to the 22 best remaining teams in the country. The Tufts men’s team qualified as one of these teams.

In the biggest race of the season for both of these teams, senior co-captain Danielle Page and sophomore Walter Wagude continued in their roles to lead the Jumbos through the races.

Page, in her final collegiate cross country race, finished in third place out of 292 runners with a time of 20:30.1. She was followed by senior co-captain Anna Slager, who finished 23rd with a time of 21:35.6 and junior Meghan Davis, who finished 68th with a time of 22:09.0. With seven runners that also included junior Lauren Pollak, senior Tara Lowensohn, senior Hannah Neilon and junior Kate Bidgood, the Jumbos finished with an outstanding ninth place overall out of the 32 teams.

Wagude led the men’s team, finishing with a time of 24:39.5, which put him at 74th overall out of 289 runners. He was followed behind by senior co-captain Sam Gatti, who finished 156th with a time of 25:07.1, and senior co-captain Collin O’Sullivan who finished 210th with a time of 25:36.9. Senior Dalton Tanner, junior Oliver Printy and first-years Enock Musyoka and Alex Friedman were also part of the group that competed in the men’s race.

While the men placed 30th out of 32 teams at the meet, all of the runners showed a massive improvement. Wagude, Gatti, O’Sullivan, Tanner and Printy all posted 8K personal bests at this meet, and Musyoka was only five seconds from his personal best. Overall, this is also one of the best team performances the Jumbos have had in recent years when considering their overall season. This year represented only the 16th time in Tufts’ history that the men’s team has qualified for the NCAA Championships.

The women’s side showed a similar story. Page will end her college cross country career with a bang. Not only did she run a personal best in the 6K, but she did it by breaking 21 minutes for the first time in a major race. Slager, Pollak, Lowensohn, Neilon and Bidgood also all posted personal bests, and Davis finished a mere nine seconds off of her personal best.

With only six out of the current 35 men’s runners and five out of the 34 women’s runners graduating, as well as the great individual and team performances that have been posted this season, Tufts’ cross country future is brighter than ever. For now, though, the focus shifts to indoor track.