Wins by Bhalla & Black Lead Men's Track & Field to 3rd at New England Division III's

Linus Gordon was the New England D3 runner-up in the long jump

CAMBRIDGE - Tufts seniors Veer Bhalla and Mitchell Black added to their win totals at the New England Division III Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships held today at MIT.

Bhalla won the 600 meters for the third straight year and Black is the 800 meters champ for the second time in his career. With their wins, Tufts scored 74 points to place third as a team at the meet.

With a 1:20.10 time to win the 600, Bhalla broke Black's year-old school record of 1:20.21 in the race. Black posted a winning time of 1:52 flat in the 800 meters today. The pair now have a total of eight New England Division III indoor titles. In addition to Bhalla's three straight in the 600 and Black's two 800 wins (also in 2014), Black was the 1,000 meters champ last season and they were both on the 4x800 relay which won the NED3 title last year and in 2013.

The Jumbo 4x400-meter relay was the New England runner-up with a 3:22.48 time on Saturday. The foursome of sophomore Andrew DiMaiti, freshman Nico Agosti, junior Alex Kasemir, and junior Nick Usoff were just 0.18 behind race champion MIT (3:22.30).

Freshman Josh Etkind took it up a notch in the 60-meter hurdles on Saturday. His 8.39 time in the preliminaries broke the 8.49 record he set on February 6. He then blazed an 8.25 in the final to take third and improve the record again. The time is ranked #14 nationally.

Senior Bryson Hoover-Hankerson and sophomore Peter Clark went back-and-forth with the 60-meter dash school record at the New England D3 meet. It was Hoover-Hankerson's entering the day at 7.14 seconds. Clark's 7.09 in the preliminaries established a new mark. However, Hoover-Hankerson, whose 7.11 in the prelims was also better, capped the competition with a 7.07 for fifth in the race and the Jumbo record. Clark was eighth in the final (7.14).

The best scoring event for Tufts was the long jump, where sophomore Linus Gordon was second and Hoover-Hankerson was fourth to combined for 12 points. Gordon's 22'5 3/4" (6.85m) was his season-best. Hoover-Hankerson was also at his best with 22' 1 3/4" (6.75m) distance. Gordon also chipped in a point with his 44'8 3/4" (13.63m) for eighth in the triple jump.

Junior Tim Nichols was edged out of second place in the 5,000 meters, settling for a strong third. His 14:57.42 was 0.18 behind Bates runner-up Allen Sumrall (14:57.24). Senior James Traester had one of the team's higher finishes with his fourth in the mile run, crossing the finish line in a 4:28.18 time. Junior Luke O'Connor also scored fourth in the 3,000 meters running 8:31.03.

The distance medley group of sophomore Sam Little, freshman Thomas Doyle, freshman Colin Raposo, and Traester scored with a 10:32.90 for sixth. Senior Francis Goins added a pair of points in the 400 meters with a 50.93 time.

Senior Alex Apostolides just missed scoring in the 1,000 meters (2:34.38) in ninth place. He also led off the 4x800 relay which similarly just missed a scoring spot. Joined by sophomore Tom DePalma, Black, and Bhalla, they ran 8:02.07 for ninth.

Host MIT won the New England Division III title with a 138 score, just six in front of second-place Williams (132). The Jumbos' 74 score was well in front of fourth-place Bowdoin (55).

Up next for Tufts is the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships at Boston University next weekend (Feb. 26-27).

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