This Week in Tufts Athletics: March 13 - 19

MEDFORD – It’s a big week for Tufts Athletics as men’s and women’s swimming competes in the NCAA Championships and women’s basketball makes their fourth consecutive Final Four appearance.  And in addition to that, many spring sports are joining in on the action!

Men’s and women’s lacrosse both continue their spring campaigns with games over spring break.  Baseball and softball and men’s and women’s tennis all open their spring seasons on spring break trips in warmer weather.  Men’s and women’s track and field are both competing over spring break as well.

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Women's Basketball to the Final Four

The No. 4 women’s basketball team will make their fourth consecutive Final Four appearance this weekend, and the Jumbos will be hoping for a different result this year.  The Jumbos fell in the national title game last year, and will look to bring a national championship trophy back to Medford with them this year.  Wins over No. 17 Scranton and No. 6 Washington University this past weekend at the NCAA Sectional in St. Louis punched the Jumbos their ticket to Grand Rapids Michigan and Calvin College who will host semifinal and final play on Friday and Saturday.

The fourth-ranked Jumbos will take on second ranked and undefeated St. Thomas on Friday at 5 pm EST.  The other semifinal game has No. 1 Amherst facing off with No. 7 Christopher Newport at 7:30 pm in the Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The championship game is on Saturday at 7:30 pm.

The Jumbos bring the No. 2 scoring defense into this weekends games, and will hope that that strong defense can lead the way for them. The Jumbos are allowing opponents just 42.5 points per game. Junior Lauren Dillon set a new single season steals record against Washington University on Saturday and the Jumbos have not allowed an opponent to score more than 48 points in any NCAA tournament game this year.  But, its not just the defense.  Senior Michela North exploded for 20 points and 15 rebounds against WashU and sophomore Jac Knapp is averaging 15.3 points per game in four NCAA tournament games.

St. Thomas is making their 24th tournament appearance, and brings a perfect record into the semifinal game on Friday.  The Tommies have 6-foot-3 center Kaitlin Langer who has been averaging 19.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 bocks this season.  Senior guard Gabby Zehrer is helping with 11.1 points per game and junior Lauren Fischer is turning in 9.5 points per game.

The other semifinal game has top-ranked Amherst taking on No. 7 Christopher Newport.  Amherst is making their tenth straight NCAA tournament appearance and bring the No. 1 scoring defense into Friday, allowing opponents just 40 points per game.  The Purple and White have been the only team to beat the Jumbos this year, once by a point and once by four points.  Ali and Meredith Doswell are the leaders for Amherst, as Ali is averaging 12.9 points per game and Meredith helped with 8.3 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 1.5 blocks per game.  Looking to upset the Purple and White will be Christopher Newport.  The Captains are making their second-ever Final Four appearance.  Sam Porter is averaging 12.9 points per game and seven rebounds per game in addition to having a team-high 115 steals.

 NCAA Championships for Swimming and Diving

Both the men’s and the women’s swimming team will be represented at the NCAA Division III Championships this Wednesday through Sunday in Shenadoah, Texas.  The men’s team has nine Jumbos that have qualified, while the women’s team has two Jumbos going to Texas to compete.

The nine swimmers for the men is the most since the 2009-10 season.  Senior captain and diver Matt Rohrer is a veteran and will lead this group, as he is making his fourth appearance at the national meet.  Rohrer has four All-American honors in his career, and will look to add to that with a national title this week.  Last spring Rohrer finished seventh on the 1-meter board and 3-metere boards. Sophomore Kingsley Bowen is also familiar with the national stage, as he is making his second NCAA appearance.  He earned two All-American honors last year along with an honorable mention All-American honor.  Aside from those two with experience, juniors Zach Wallace, James McElduff and Lorenzo Lau, sophomore Noah Cagley and freshmen Costa Camerano, Roger Gu, and Eric Shi will all be making their first appearance at the NCAA meet.

In the first day of action Bowen, Shi, Wallace and Gu will swim in the 200 medley relay, while Gu will also compete in the 50 freestyle and McElduff and Wallace will compete in the 200 IM.  Thursday has Bowen, Shi, Wallace and Gu in the 400 medley relay and Camerano, McElduff, Wallace and Gu in the 200 freestyle relay.  Bowen will race in the 100 butterfly and Rohrer will start the 1-meter diving.  Finally, McElduff and Wallace will swim the 400 IM.  Friday has McElduff, Wallace, Cagley and Bowen in the 800 freestyle relay, Bowen in the 100 backstroke, McElduff in the 200 butterfly.  On the final day McElduff, Bowen, Lau and Gu will swim in the 400 freestyle relay, Bowen and Wallace will compete in the 200 backstroke and Gu will swim the 100 freestyle.  Rohrer competes off the 3-meter board on Saturday.

On the women’s side senior Amanda Gottschalk and sophomore Colleen Doolan will represent the Jumbos on the national stage for the second consecutive year.  The duo made the trip to nationals last year, as the first Jumbos to represent Tufts at the national event since 2013.  This year Doolan will compete in the 100 buttterfly on Thursday, the 200 butterfly on Friday and the 100 freestyle on Saturday.  Gottschalk will swim the 400 IM on Thursday, the 100 breaststroke on Friday and the 200 breaststroke on Saturday.  At last year’s meet Doolan placed 12th overall in the final 200 butterfly and Gottschalk finished 12th in the 200 breaststroke. Both earned honorable mention All-American honors for their performances.  This year the Jumbos will hope to pick that up a notch and bring All-American honors back to Medford.

MLAX: Saturday at Colby at 1 pm
What you need to know: After a busy three-game week on Bello Field this past week, the No. 3 men’s lacrosse team will have a quiet week before a Saturday trip up to Colby for a 1 pm start. The Mules are 1-2 this season, having lost to Hamilton and University of New England to open the season, and then picked up a win over Trinity this past Sunday.  Senior Austin Sayre is leading the Mules offense with six goals while classmate Kevin Seiler has scored five times. The Jumbos won, 16-8, last year. The last Colby win was back during the 2006 season.

WLAX: Wednesday vs. Claremont Mudd-Scripps at 6 pm and Saturday vs. Colby at 12 pm
What you need to know:  After picking up an opening season win over MIT the Jumbos traveled up to Middlebury this past weekend to take on the top-ranked and defending national champion Panthers, and suffered their first set back of the season.  The Jumbos will look to get back in the win column this week with a Wednesday contest against Claremont Mudd-Scripps and then a 12 pm start with Colby on Saturday. The Athenas are up first this week and they are off to a 4-0 start this year.  They are making the trip out east to take on not only the Jumbos but also Connecticut College and Amherst. The Athenas have been able to score this year, with 13 goals being the least they have scored through four games, and including a 21-0 blanking of Whittier at the beginning of March.  After the midweek contest the Jumbos will turn their attention back to the NESCAC as Colby visits Medford on Saturday for a 12 pm start. The Mules are 1-2 this season and are currently ranked No. 20 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll.  Most recently, the Mules lost a double overtime game to No. 2 Trinity this past Friday. The Mules won, 13-8, when the two teams faced off last year and have the 13-7 advantage in the series, dating back to 1999.

BASEBALL: Friday vs. Castleton @ Apprentice at 4 pm, Saturday vs. St. Vincent @ Apprentice at 1 pm and at Apprentice at 4 pm, Sunday vs. St. Vincent @ Apprentice at 9 am
What you need to know:  The baseball team will join in the fun this week, kicking off their season on Friday when they take on Castleton at the Apprentice School.  The opening weekend has the Jumbos taking on St. Vincent twice and the host Apprentice once.  This weekend opens a 10-game spring break for the Jumbos down in the Virginia area. The Jumbos welcome back hurlers Tim Superko and Speros Varinos who were two of their best arms last year.  Also back this year is senior Harry Brown who led the team with a .397 batting average last year and junior Tommy O’Hara who hit .325 as a sophomore last year. First up for the Jumbos will be the Spartans, who open their season on Thursday with two games against Apprentice.  The Jumbos played Castleton twice to open spring break last year and won 15-5 and 5-2.  After the Spartans, the Jumbos take on both St. Vincent and Apprentice on Saturday. St. Vincent is 3-4 this year and will also take on Apprentice twice before facing off with the Jumbos.  Apprentice is off to a 13-7 start this year.  The Jumbos won 4-0 when the two teams faced off last year.

SBALL: Saturday vs. Plymouth State at 9 am and vs. Linfield at 11:30 am, Sunday vs. Buffalo State at 11:30 am and vs. Clarkson at 2 pm
What you need to know: The softball team heads to Florida this week and will open up a busy spring break trip on Saturday.  The Jumbos will play 14 games in eight days down in the Orlando area.  After losing only two to graduation, but both those two having been starters for the Jumbos, an eight woman freshman class brings more depth to the Jumbos team this year.  That depth will be put to the test right away as the Jumbos face off with Plymouth State and No. 8 Linfield.  On Sunday the Jumbos take on Buffalo State and Clarkson. Plymouth State opens their season on Friday and will have two games under their belt before taking on the Jumbos.  Linfield is the team with the most games played so far. The Wildcats are 12-2 so far this year and are currently ranked eighth in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association national poll.  Clarkson opened their season at the beginning of March and won once and lost once against both Salisbury and Washington College. Buffalo State also opened their season at the beginning of March and dropped four games at the Virginia Wesleyan Beach Blast.

MTRACK: Saturday at Spring Break Meet #1
What you need to know: After a great weekend at the NCAA Championship this past weekend in Naperville, Illinois where senior Tim Nichols won the 5,000 meters for his first national title, the Jumbos will get ready to begin the spring season this weekend.  First up is the Spring Breatk Meet #1.

WTRACK: Saturday at Spring Break Meet #1
What you need to know: The women’s track team will be running in warmer weather this weekend.  They make a trip out to Las Vegas to compete in the UNLV Spring Invitational on Saturday.  The Jumbos made the trip out west last year facing off with UNLV, Weber State, Utah Valley, BYU and Southern Utah at this meet.  This year’s meet might be a bit bigger, featuring some different schools.  Forty different Jumbos will make the trip out west and will compete for Tufts on Saturday.

MTENNIS: Saturday at Point Loma at 11 am and Sunday at College of the Desert at 2 pm
What you need to know:  After a fall of all tournament play, the men’s tennis team opens up play this weekend taking on Point Loma and College of the Desert in their first dual matches of the year. The Jumbos played in various tournaments this fall, but Saturday will be their first dual match of the season.  The Jumbos will be led by their three senior captains this year.  Joining the seniors as upperclassmen are six juniors. Six freshmen were welcomed to the team this fall and will look to break into the Jumbos lineup. Juniors Rohan Gupte, Zain Ali and Danny Coran all played near the top of the singles lineup for the Jumbos last spring and will be back this year.  Point Loma is 2-10 so far this year, with both of those wins coming against Sonoma State. The College of the Desert is 4-4 so far this season, and will play three more matches before facing off with the Jumbos on Sunday. The Jumbos faced off with the Roadrunners back during the 2014-15 season, and they picked up the 8-1 win.

WTENNIS: Sunday vs. Oberlin at Pepperdine at 10:30 am
What you need to know: The women’s tennis team opens up their spring break trip on Sunday with a 10:30 am match against Oberlin.  The Jumbos will be playing in their first dual match of the season, as they only played in tournaments this fall and this is their first spring competition. After not losing a single senior to graduation, the Jumbos return their full team from last year, and add some new faces to that roster.  Junior Lauren Louks, sophomore Mina Karamercan and senior Conner Calabro anchored the top of the Jumbos singles lineup last year, helping the Jumbos advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.  The duo of Louks and Karamercan finished in the top eight at the doubles championship last year and will look to be even stronger in year two together. The Jumbos also addedthree new faces to the roster this year in rookies Eliza Brown, Afua Ofori-Darko and Katherine Wiley. Oberlin is 5-6 this year so far, and has nine matches under their belts this spring.  Their next time on the courts will be against the Jumbos out west.


Tim Nichols, Senior, Men’s Track and Field

Senior Tim Nichols continued his outstanding senior year by winning the 5,000 meters national title at the Division III Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships this past Friday.  Nichols was the No. 1 seed and he did not disappoint in the big race, winning with a time that set a facility record (14:25.08).  Nichols won the race by a margin of 3.07 seconds, beating North Central sophomore Dhruvil Patel and scoring ten points for the Tufts team with his win.



Michela North, Senior, Women’s Basketball

Senior Michela North had a big weekend at the NCAA Sectionals, helping the Jumbos beat two nationally ranked opponents to advance to their fourth consecutive Final Four.  North started with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the Jumbos 65-48 win over No. 17 Scranton on Friday night.  North then turned in a game-high 20 points and 15 rebounds, adding three blocks, to the Jumbos 57-43 win over No. 6 Washington University.  The Jumbos advance to their fourth consecutive Final Four and will be looking to bring home the program’s first ever National Championship.



The No. 4 women’s basketball team picked up wins over Scranton and No. 6 Washington University in NCAA Sectional play on Friday and Saturday.  The Jumbos traveled to St. Louis and opened up sectional play with a 65-48 win over No. 17 Scranton on Friday night.  They then topped the host Bears, 57-43, on Saturday evening to advance to their fourth consecutive Final Four.

The men’s track and field team traveled to Naperville, Illinois for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend and came back to Medford with a national champion and an All-American.  Senior Tim Nichols won the 5,000 meter run on Friday with a facility record time to claim his first ever national title.  Sophomore Hiroto Watanabe finished eighth in the 800 meters for the first All-American honor of his career.  The Jumbos finished 18th as a team, which is their third top 20 finish in the last three out of four seasons.

The women’s track and field team sent two Jumbos to the Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend, and both brought All-American honors back home with them.  Junior Brittany Bowman finished eighth in the 5,000 meters on Friday night to pick up All-American honors and then junior Annalisa BeBari finished fifth in the 60 hurdles for her first career All-American nod.

The No. 3 men’s lacrosse team picked up three wins this week at home on Bello Field.  The Jumbos started with a 24-16 win over Keene State on Wednesday.  They then topped No. 12 Middlebury on Friday night under the lights at Bello with a 16-13 final score.  The Jumbos wrapped up their week with a 18-10 win over Endicott on Sunday afternoon.