MEDFORD - The Tufts University men's track & field team won its fifth New England Division III Indoor Championship and its first since 2008 at home on Saturday at the Gantcher Center. Tufts' winning total of 127 points was 35 more than second-place Williams College (92).
|Peter Clark won the 60-meter dash in a school-record time|
Head coach Joel Williams' Jumbos won four events, earned four runner-up finishes and filled in the rest with extraordinary depth. The Jumbos scored in 16 of 20 events, including 16 points in the 200 meters, 14 in the 60-meter dash and 13 in the 600 meters.
"Our keys to victory were momentum and a total team effort, from guys winning events to non-qualifiers circling the track to cheer each other on, every guy earned this title," Coach Williams said. "I have said all season these guys don't compete for points, places or titles. They compete for each other."
Among many Jumbo performances that surpassed their rankings entering the meet, junior Peter Clark won the 60-meter dash in a school-record 6.99 seconds. Clark was the ninth seed in the race, but led three Tufts sprinters who scored. The time broke the previous Tufts record of 7.00 set earlier this season by senior Blake Coolidge, who was sixth today with a 7.04 finish. Freshman Robert Jones, seeded 21st, scored a point with an eighth-place time of 7.13 seconds.
"If I had to pick one most impressive performance I would say it came from Peter Clark," Williams said. "Winning the 60 meters and becoming the first Jumbo to dip under seven seconds. All season long he has been floating in the middle of our pack. Today he is the New England champion and Tufts record holder."
Junior Andrew DiMaiti became the fourth consecutive Tufts runner to win the New England Division III indoor 600 meters title with a 1:21.25 time today. His former teammate Veer Bhalla had won the event at the three previous New England DIII meets. Freshman Billy Witrock added a sixth-place effort of 1:23.28 in today's 600.
In the most exciting Jumbo finish of the day, sophomore Hiroto Watanabe won the 800 meters by 0.03 seconds with a 1:54.13 time. He edged Middlebury's James Mulliken who crossed the finish line with a 1:54.16 mark. The winning time improved on Watanabe's season-best and he now ranks ninth nationally in the event as of Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The fourth Tufts win came in the high jump where junior Stefan Duvivier topped 6'8" (2.03m). In an interesting twist, Duvivier started the winter season as a member of the Tufts basketball team. However, he switched teams in the middle of the year and is now a key contributor to a New England champion.
Clark and Coolidge were two of the four Jumbos to score in the 200 meters today. Coolidge's 22.41 led the way in third place, and improved his national ranking to #26. Sophomore Anthony Kardonsky was fourth in 22.63, sophomore Thomas Miller was sixth in 22.673 and Clark scored seventh at 22.674 seconds.
Sophomore Josh Etkind tallied 13 points for the Jumbos. He was second in the 60-meter hurdles final with a time of 8.28 seconds, improving his national ranking to 15th. He also went 45'1 1/2" (13.75m) in the triple jump for fourth place. Both were season-bests for him. In the 60 hurdles, senior tri-captain Thomas Wang came out of the 23rd seed to earn a spot in the final with an 8.67 preliminary. He scored an eighth-place point in the final.
Senior tri-captain Luke O'Connor and junior Linus Gordon both posted runner-up finishes while improving their national rankings. Gordon was second in the long jump with a 23'0" (7.01m) best which is #22 in the country at the moment. O'Connor's 14:55.54 for second in the 5,000 meters nudged his national mark to 23rd.
The Jumbos also received eight second-place points from a young distance medley relay. The foursome of sophomore Colin Raposo, freshman Jordan Abate, freshman Jackson Mihm and sophomore Christian Swenson combined on a 10:22.54 time that was the runner-up.
DiMaiti, Usoff, Witrock and sophomore Thomas Doyle were fourth in the 4x400-meters relay with a 3:22.20 mark that is Tufts' season-best in the event. Sophomore Henry Hintermeister was also fourth in the heptathlon, scoring 4,481 points. The Jumbos are top 20 nationally in both events, as the 4x4 is at #16 and Hintermeister is 19th in the multi-event.
Raposo added a sixth-place in the mile with a season-best 4:19.15 time. Freshman Kevin Quisumbing took eighth in the shot put (46'6 1/4" - 14.18m).
Tufts adds this 2017 New England title to its previous Division III indoor crowns won in 2008, 1991, 1983 and 1980.
"There were so many impressive performances," Williams said. "Guys competing with the flu or injured, .01 margins of victory, huge pr's, perfectly executed relay legs, and gutting out off days to score points. I can't explain how proud and excited I am for these guys."
MIT, the #2-ranked team in the nation, finished third today with an 84 score. Middlebury (79) and Bowdoin (56) rounded out the top five teams.
The Jumbos continue championship season next weekend at the Open New England's in Boston on Friday and Saturday.
Head Coach Joel Williams addresses the 2017 New England Division III Indoor Champions