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Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

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The Setonian
Sports

Tufts finishes 15th in final Directors' Cup rankings for 2007-08 year

After finishing the winter season 12th in the United States Sports Academy's Div. III Directors' Cup standings, Tufts slipped to 15th in the year-end rankings released on June 11.An annual competition between Div. III schools to measure the achievements of athletics teams, the Directors' Cup awards points to programs based on rankings and post-season performances.The Jumbos added 183.5 points during the spring season, down from the record 271.5 points notched up during the winter season, to bring the overall tally to 580. Still, the year-end ranking marked a slight improvement from the ‘06-'07 result, when the school finished 16th. Tufts' highest ranking ever came two years ago when the Jumbos attained the sixth overall spot.Tufts earned points for four different squads during the spring: softball, women's tennis, and both women's and men's outdoor track and field. Diver Kendall Swett (LA ‘08), the Daily's reigning female athlete of the year, earned points by winning national championships in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.The NESCAC was well represented at the top of the Directors' Cup standings, as the conference laid claim to five of the top 25 spots. Williams won the Directors' Cup for the 10th consecutive season with 1120.25 points, 221.25 points ahead of second-place Washington University in St. Louis. The top five included two other NESCAC schools: Amherst (fourth, 815 points) and Middlebury (fifth, 813.5).This fall, Tufts' teams, including last fall's point-earners — the men's cross country, women's soccer and field hockey teams — will try to build upon the program's spring finish and vault the school off to a hot start in pursuit of Directors' Cup glory.



The Setonian
Sports

Ross Marrinson | Welcome to the Jungle

Last week, I watched, for probably the 20th time, "Tommy Boy," starring the late, great Chris Farley. One of the best scenes is just after Richard and Tommy get into a fight outside the Prehistoric Forest diner. After apparently not finding the meat lover's pizza in the trunk, they venture inside to grab some chow. Sitting in awkward silence as 1960s pop star Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" plays, Tommy stares goofily at Richard, who obviously feels badly about smacking Tommy in the face with a 2x4. With Lee's chart-topping hit in mind, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to some of the people who I've criticized or bashed over the course of the past year. Here goes: Carlos Gomez, I doubted you. I'm sorry for saying you weren't the next Rickey Henderson. You hit for the cycle on May 7, becoming the first Twins player since Kirby Puckett in 1986 to accomplish the feat. In doing so, you became the third-youngest player in league history to hit for the cycle. The second youngest? Alex Rodriguez. That's right, A-Rod. Saying you weren't Rickey Henderson was an insult. You're on pace for roughly 80 steals, and you can cover the entire outfield. Here's a new defensive scheme: Have Cuddyer and Young cover the lines, and you cover the rest. No ball would reach the wall. No extra-base hits. Torii who? You think Jacoby Ellsbury or Melky Cabrera can do that? Not a chance. You know what that means: division championship. Hell, let's go further. Wait 'til you see 50,000 homer hankies in the stands of the Metrodome! World champions. Screw this 2010 talk. We're going for it in 2008. I suppose I should also apologize to GM Bill Smith. Mr. Smith, I applauded the acquisition of Delmon Young, but I had the audacity to compare you to Kevin McHale after the Johan Santana trade. I said it was the worst trade offer of them all. I said you were over your head, and that this trade was one of the dumbest in franchise history. I also questioned why you were so high on Deolis Guerra, a guy who is probably still in diapers down in single A. None of that matters, though, Mr. Smith. You picked up future Cy Young winner Livan Hernandez. Genius. Johan who? This guy's more than just an innings-eater. He's a shut-down, in-your-face mauler. In a recent game against the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera struck out on a 65-mph curve, and began screaming Spanish obscenities at Livan. Sorry you couldn't figure our guy out, Miguel. You simply got owned. Don't feel badly, though. Livan's been dominating everybody. All thanks to you, Mr. Smith. Keep up the good work. Maybe we can take the training wheels off Deolis' bike soon, too. Let me know. Lastly, for those who read this column even on a somewhat regular basis, you know that I regularly rip the Timberwolves organization for its consistent propensity to make astonishingly boneheaded decisions. That being said, I should apologize to GM Kevin McHale. There are very few people in this world who can singlehandedly bring ecstasy to an entire region - New England - while simultaneously bringing depression and anger to an entirely different region. That takes skill, and I didn't recognize it. For that, I'm sorry. Mr. McHale, if you love basketball and the Wolves as much as you say you do, please recognize your faults - à la Terry Ryan - and retire. You could move to Boston, too. That'd be nice. At least here they'd appreciate you. On a more personal note, since this is the last installment of "Welcome to the Jungle," I want to let you know how much I've loved writing each week. I truly hope you've enjoyed reading it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks so much. Ross Marrinson graduates today with a degree in international relations. He can be reached at Ross.Marrinson@tufts.edu.


The Setonian
Sports

After NESCACs, Jumbos shift focus

Ever since the men's track and field team narrowly missed out on a league title at the NESCAC Championships on April 26, the focus has shifted away from team events and toward the individuals. Since the conference meet, the Jumbos have participated in the New England Div. III Championships and the Open New England Championships. "At NESCACs, we really lay out as a team," senior quad-captain Jeremy Arak said. "New Englands happen during the middle of finals, and because it's the week after NESCACs, we can't go full gear. We end up resting a lot of guys, especially from the distance group. New Englands is more of an individual meet, but NESCACs are team-oriented." At New Englands the weekend of May 2-3, several Jumbos witnessed individual success. Sophomore Trevor Donadt placed first in the 400-meter hurdles with his time of 54.36 seconds, more than a second ahead of the next-closest competitor, and also clinched second in the 110-meter. In the high jump, both Arak and junior James Bradley cleared 6 feet, 4.75 inches, but it was Bradley who took the New England title, with Arak coming in second. "I didn't care about coming second to a teammate," Arak said. "I was happy we were able to go first and second." Other highlights included sophomore Ikenna Acholonu's third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles and senior Joe Brown's hammer hurl of 172 feet, his best of the season. The toss earned Brown just seventh place, but it was well ahead of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 168 feet, 10 inches. While the team ultimately came up short of the top prize, Tufts fought hard to win NESCACs the week before. The squad did well in the 110-meter hurdles, as Acholonu won by exactly matching the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 14.95 seconds, while Donadt and classmate Jared Engelking took second and third place, respectively. Donadt once again repeated his success from New Englands by winning the 400-meter hurdles.


The Setonian
Sports

Baseball | Trinity, Amherst losses spell end to Tufts' season

An up-and-down season for the baseball team stayed true to form during the NESCAC Tournament. After defeating West champion Williams in the first round, the Jumbos could do no more damage, dropping their final two games of the double-elimination tournament to end their season at 19-15. On the heels of their victory over the Ephs, the Jumbos faced undefeated Trinity on May 10 looking to secure their third consecutive trip to the conference championship game. But the national No. 3 Bantams, who went on to win the NESCAC championship, were no ordinary opponents, boasting an unbeaten 35-0 mark heading into the contest. "I was just trying to go in and treat it like any regular game and regular team," said freshman Pat O'Donnell, who took the mound for Tufts. "You've got to focus on what you can do and you hope things will go favorably. I just wanted to try to give our team a chance to win the game. Against Trinity, they're going to score runs, so you just have to keep it as low as possible, and that's what I tried to do." O'Donnell did just that, limiting the Bantams to just one run through the first four frames, courtesy of a first-inning sacrifice fly from sophomore first baseman Kent Graham. But Trinity pounded out nine hits and four runs over the next three innings to build a commanding 5-0 lead. That was more than enough for Bantams sophomore starter Jeremiah Bayer, who held the Jumbos scoreless for seven innings and recorded nine strikeouts against just one walk. "Trinity is a great team," senior co-captain Adam Telian said. "We have the potential to beat them, but they've just played great all year." The setback forced Tufts into a do-or-die situation against Amherst on the morning of May 11, with the winner going on to face Trinity in the championship game and the loser headed home. Behind a 5-for-6, three-RBI performance from junior third baseman Brendan Powers, Amherst prevailed 10-7.


The Setonian
Sports

Women's Tennis | Valiant effort against No. 9 Wellesley in NCAA Tourney comes up just short

The NCAA Tournament marked the culmination of an already successful season for the women's tennis team, as Tufts qualified for the tourney for the eighth straight year. The Jumbos easily advanced past Roger Williams in the first round before finding themselves on the wrong side of a 5-4 heartbreaker against Wellesley. Tufts went into the second round of the tourney looking to avenge a 7-2 loss to Wellesley on April 18. This time, the Jumbos found themselves in a much tighter match. Tufts fell at first doubles but nabbed a victory at third doubles by a score of 8-3, as freshmen Julia Browne and Edwina Stewart finished off a perfect season as a pair, going 10-0 on the doubles court. "Edwina and Julia played flawless doubles at three," coach Kate Bayard said. With the score tied 1-1, only second doubles remained on the court, as sophomores Erica Miller and Meghan McCooey played in arguably the most exciting doubles match of Tufts' season. The duo was in a hole, down 7-5 in the eight-game pro set, but with the entire team looking on, the Jumbos won four straight games to take a 9-7 victory. "Erica and Meghan played gutsy tennis," Bayard said. "They won it because they trusted their shots at net and played aggressively. They continued to play smart but they went for their shots." "They had a huge win," sophomore co-captain Laura Hoguet said. "After the match everybody was so pumped up, and we had really big momentum to carry into singles." In the April match against Wellesley, Tufts was swept in the three doubles matches and went into singles just two points from a loss. This time around, the result at second doubles gave Tufts the coveted edge entering singles play. Only four singles matches were played at a time due to limited court availability, so Tufts sent out its top four singles players to try to seal the match. McCooey ended her No. 2 singles match first, easily handling her opponent 6-0, 6-1 and giving Tufts a 3-1 lead. Senior co-captain Andrea Cenko was next off, falling at fourth singles and bringing the match score to 3-2. At first singles, Browne defeated the No. 22-ranked woman in Div. III, Wellesley junior Jenna Mezin, putting Tufts just a point from victory with three matches to play.



The Setonian
Sports

Softball | Martinez, Eagles deny Jumbos World Series berth

Heading into the NCAA Tournament New England Regional, the softball team appeared to be in good position to contend for its first berth in the College World Series since 2000. On May 4, the Jumbos successfully defended their conference championship with a 10-3 victory over Wesleyan in the NESCAC title game, their sixth win by five runs or more in their last eight games. Four days later, the team carried that momentum into the Providence, R.I. regional bracket, where it had earned the No. 2 seed. That's when Tufts ran into Jennifer Martinez. St. Joseph's record-breaking ace pitcher brought her NCAA-leading 0.47 ERA into two double-elimination tourney contests against the Jumbos and shut them down, downing Tufts 3-0 in eight innings on May 10 and 3-1 later that weekend to end the Jumbos' season shy of a trip to Salem, Va. "She's probably the best pitcher that our team has ever seen," senior co-captain Danielle Lopez said. "We were really disappointed in the fact that we couldn't get past her. It's still kind of shocking to think that our season is over because we had such a great team, and we had such high hopes, but props to her for beating one of the best offensive teams in the nation." After beginning the tournament with a 6-3 win over seventh-seeded Rivier, the Jumbos moved on to their first meeting against Martinez, who entered the game having assembled arguably the most dominant season by any pitcher in the history of Div. III softball: a 30-2 record, 202.1 innings pitched, 17 shutouts and an NCAA-record 465 strikeouts. Against Tufts, the Golden Eagles' senior tri-captain stayed true to form, limiting the Jumbos to just one hit - a bunt single by junior third baseman Samantha Kuhles in the bottom of the first inning - while striking out 15. "She had a very, very effective rise ball, in the zone and out of the zone, and a really great late-breaking curveball," coach Cheryl Milligan said. "We needed to find some ways to eke some runs out against her, but she certainly stymied our ability to do what we're used to doing."



The Setonian
Soccer

Women's soccer | Jumbos face Emmanuel in first-round game

By now, the women's soccer team has a pretty good feel for the other teams around New England. In their 15 games against some of the region's top teams, the Jumbos have beaten four of the top 10 to move themselves to No. 3 in the region.













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