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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tufts cross country shines at NCAA Regional Championships

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The Tufts women's cross country team placed first at the NCAA Regional Championship meet on Nov. 13.

Tufts men’s and women’s cross country continued their excellent stretch of the season in last weekend’s NCAA Regional Championship in Boston, Mass. 

The women’s team finished in first place out of 29 teams, marking their first-ever NCAA Regional Championship win. Senior co-captain Danielle Page came in second overall in the 6K race, finishing in 21:32, while senior co-captain Anna Slager finished third with a time of 22:18. The top 35 finishers earned All-Region honors, of which Tufts had five including junior Meghan Davis, junior Lauren Pollak and senior Tara Lowensohn.

The men’s team was also impressive, finishing third out of 33 teams in the 8K race. Senior co-captain Sam Gatti finished 10th overall in 25:54, while sophomore Walter Wagude came in 15th with a time of 26:15. The race marked the team’s best NCAA Regional finish since 2015, when it also came in third. Six of the seven men’s runners finished in the top 45, with the seventh in the top 100 finishers. Tufts had a lot of fan support from fellow athletes and alumni.

“We had over 100 teammates, members of the women’s crew team and alumni come as fans to the race," Lowensohn said. "They painted their bodies and ran around the course and cheered for us, so the energy was awesome."

Junior Kate Bidgood finished in 53rd place with a time of 25:09, and was equally enthralled by her personal results as well as those of the team overall. 

“This course has two pretty big hills," she said. "Our team does well in tough conditions, so it added to the excitement of the race … we have a really strong team and everyone was really ready to run.”

Lowensohn and Bidgood both remarked that for the first time this season, no one slipped and fell, lost a shoe or got trampled in the mud. Additionally, the Jumbos have been surprised by the incredible depth of the team this season. Especially coming after COVID-19 restrictions, the team has been excited to race in full form and has been grateful for each opportunity to continue to compete. 

“The team was really amped coming off a year when we couldn’t compete; everybody is ready to get back out there and do some damage,” Lowensohn said. 

Bidgood was also excited to get back on the course. 

“When you haven’t raced cross country in a really long time it’s hard to get back into it since it is such a unique feeling of pain and trying to push through, but this season surpassed all our expectations,” Bidgood said.

Lowensoh’s biggest excitement of the weekend was the team beating neighboring MIT, a consistent rival for Tufts. 

“I had no idea we had beaten MIT at first, but once I got my bearings I realized everyone was yelling, ‘We beat MIT’ … I found my teammates and we were all crying tears of joy, so elated … it was pure joy,” Lowensohn said.

While the season is over for some, the top seven runners will have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA National Championships in Louisville, Ky. next weekend. The women's runners are aiming to finish in the top four and have ambitions of a few individual All-American finishers coming out of the championships as well.

The men’s cross country team also found out late Sunday afternoon that it received an at-large big to run in the NCAA National Championships. Both teams will feed off their momentum from regionals and will undoubtedly have strong finishes.