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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tufts women’s and men’s track notch stellar performances with championships around the corner

The Jumbos descended on MIT and BU last weekend to prove their strength against formidable D1 opponents.

Sarah Pillone_1.jpg

Sarah Pillone is pictured at the Feb. 3 meet.

The Tufts women’s and men’s track competed in the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gordon Kelly Invitational last Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Jumbos proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, as they recorded strong finishes and held their own against D1 competition.

The women’s team had several impressive races at MIT. First-year Simisola Lawal finished first in the 60-meter dash, clocking in at 7.99. The Jumbos scored another first-place finish in the high jump thanks to a standout performance by senior Harper Meek.

First-years Katya Henisz and Sophia Carpenter both placed in the top five for the mile, coming in second and fourth with times of 5:18.34 and 5:24.20, respectively. In the women’s 600-meter, first-year Kaya West placed eighth with a time of 1:42.81. Sophomore Paige Zhang followed close behind with a time of 1:51.46, placing 12th.

First-year Emma Gall and junior Nyla Thompson finished in fifth and sixth place in the pole vault, respectively. Long jumpers Nora Jean-Jacques, a first-year, and Camilla Samuel, a senior, also scored top-ten finishes, placing fourth and ninth, respectively. Meanwhile, senior Maelynn Ugokwe had a strong third-place finish in the triple jump.

At BU, the women’s team fought against a larger pool of competitors. Senior Sarah Pillone had a standout performance in the 60-meter hurdles, placing 17th with a time of 9.09.

The men's team also had an impressive day at MIT, with exceptional finishes in the distance events. In the 5000-meter, sophomore Luke Brennan placed first with a time of 15.07.51. Sophomore Amokrane Aouchiche and first-year Jacob Fippin placed third and fourth with times of 15:15.34 and 15:24.17, respectively. Sophomore Quinn Hampson also earned a first-place finish in the mile with a time of 4:22.92, followed by first-year Jonah Reisner in third with a time of 4:29.23 and sophomore Calvin Cummings in fifth with a time of 4:31.03. 

Other outstanding finishes included first-year Charlie Fitzpatrick, who placed third in the 200-meter with a time of 23.39. In the 800-meter, first-years Simon Donovan and Meba Henok snatched second and fourth place, clocking in at 1:58.68 and 1:59.82, respectively. Two Jumbos were top-three finishers in the 1000-meter, with senior Ryan Proulx and first-year Ben Stratton placing first and third with times of 2:35.74 and 2:41.51. In the 3000-meter, junior Martin Horne ran an impressive 8:50.34 and placed sixth. First-year Avery Smart followed close behind with a time of 8:54.03, placing seventh. Finally, sophomore Cameron McLeod and junior Jay Sharma placed seventh and eighth in the 60-meter hurdles with times of 8.79 and 8.80, respectively.

The men's team proved their strength in jumping and throwing events. In the high jump, junior Karsten Kropp placed second and first-year Sami Witta placed fourth. First-year Ryder Kropiwnicki placed second in the pole vault, while graduate student Hunter Farrell placed third. Finally, senior Louis Tuccio placed seventh in the shot put, while sophomore Martin Decker placed eighth in the weight throw.

Pivoting to BU, the men’s team also faced stiff competition in a meet dominated by D1 athletes. Despite this, junior Ivan Appleton set a new school record and placed seventh in the 5000-meter, with a historic time of 14:11.13, beating the previous Tufts record by just over eight seconds. Another school record was broken in the 4x400 meter relay, with first-year Neil Chowdhury, junior Noah Turner, senior Luke Botsford and graduate student Alex Lemieux clocking in at 3:14.39 and placing 10th overall.

Reacting to the Jumbos’ outstanding weekend at MIT and BU, junior men's team sprinter Naheim Washington said, ... the team is really happy with our performance. We had success all the way around the board.”

Looking ahead to the spring, Washington is excited to see the team continue to grow. Over spring break, the team will be traveling to Myrtle Beach to train together, with Washington “excited to spend time with the boys, mostly the freshmen — get to know them more and train with them for a week straight without school and all that, so that’s a nice bonding experience.

This spring, Washington has his eyes set on the NESCAC Championships.

I’m really looking forward to the NESCAC Championships, because we’re hosting it this year, so we’ll be home. If we win it this year, it will be our third time in a row winning it, so it's kind of exciting having that chance to have a three-peat at home.”

Next, the Jumbos will be taking on the Springfield College Invitational on Feb. 17. Based on the Jumbos’ performance last weekend, it will certainly be an exciting rest of the indoor season, and the team will carry great momentum into the spring.