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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

Men’s track finishes 4th in New Englands, looks toward NCAAs

Men’s track and field finished fourth in the Division III New England Championships, following MIT, Williams and Amherst, respectively. The team has had a recent rivalry with the Williams College Ephs, as they battled for dominance of the NESCAC last year, with the Jumbos ultimately emerging victorious in the conference.

While not yielding their desired results, several members earned personal bests. There were also incredible individual performances. Senior Carter Rosewell earned a top finish in the heptathlon with a total score of 4768. Junior Harry Rienecker-Found added a second-place finish for the Jumbos in the high jump. The 4x400 relay, composed of junior Luke Botsford, sophomore Ethan Forde, senior captain Alex Lemieux and first-year Cam McLeod, placed third with a school record-breaking time of 3:19.56. The previous record of 3:19.82 had been in place since 1994. 

Botsford and Lemieux also had success in the 200-meter race where Botsford came in third with a time of 21.81 and Lemieux finished eighth with a time of 22.07.

One other relay was successful for the Jumbos, as first-year Will Cusato, senior Evan Ensslin, junior Jackson O’Toole and senior Sawyer Wilson placed third in the 4x800 with a time of 7:53.03.

Two upperclassmen earned personal bests in the 600-meter race. Senior Marcus Hardy ran a time of 1:21.644 while junior Chris Tilton finished 64 thousandths of a second later at 1:21.708.

Cusato also ran a personal best in the 1000-meter race with a time of 2:30.51 and placed seventh.

Lemieux reflected on the end of the indoor season, looking forward to the outdoor season to come.

“That meet was the biggest indoor championship for the team,” Lemieux said. “In terms of setting the tone, [our focus] is more towards the outdoor season now. Last year we were able to win the NESCAC championships, so we’re hoping to repeat that this year.”

Lemieux expanded on aspirations and advantages for the Jumbos in the outdoor season specifically.

“We definitely want to make sure we can defend our title,” Lemieux said. “There’s a few different events which kind of shift the point scoring around that make it more favorable for us outdoors. But [we’re] definitely learning from … the pain of a fourth-place finish, and [we’re] trying to pick ourselves up [and] really focus heading into the outdoor season.”

At the conclusion of the indoor season, 13 runners on the men’s team earned All-Region accolades from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. In addition to the many all-region selections, Botsford in the 400-meter and Rienecker-Found in the high jump qualified for the indoor NCAA meet this weekend in Birmingham, Ala.

While the indoor season is certainly important, Lemieux mentioned its role as a preseason for outdoor competition. As a second-time captain and a senior on the team, he further explained the role he plays.

“Being a second-year captain is definitely a blessing, … and I’m lucky to have been chosen for that role,” Lemieux said. “It lends itself to being more of an example-setting person. So I’m trying to go into the outdoor season firing on all cylinders, trying to run some fast times, set the tone and stay focused.”

In the 2022 outdoor season, the men’s track and field team won the NESCAC Championship and placed second in the New England Division III Championship. It was their sixth conference championship and their first since their 2013–15 streak when they had won three conference championships in a row. They will look to start another dominant streak this season as the team gears up for the spring.

The Tufts men saw many improvements throughout the winter indoor season, setting several personal bests and school records and also debuting strong first-year talent. Hoping to capitalize on winter successes, the team will head to San Diego, Calif. to kick off the outdoor season at the Ross and Sharon Irwin Meet.