O'Connor Wins 3,000 Steeplechase at NEICAAA Meet as Men's Track & Field Finishes Fourth

Luke O'Connor won the All-New England 3,000 steeplechase

WILLIAMSTOWN - Senior tri-captain Luke O'Connor of the Tufts University men's outdoor track & field team won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Championships hosted by Williams College on Saturday.

The Jumbos scored in seven events overall on Saturday at the meet featuring Division I, II and III performers from around the region. Including senior Tim Nichols' win in the 5K on Friday (14:12.63), Tufts scored 56 team points to finish fourth overall. They were the highest scoring Division III squad. Only meet champion University of Rhode Island (163), runner-up Northeastern University (145) and third-place Dartmouth College (76) scored more team points. The Jumbos have been a top 10 finisher at this meet five years in a row now.

O'Connor won the steeplechase today by a convincing margin. His 8:59.57 time was more than seven seconds ahead of runner-up Aidan Gilson from MIT (9:05.61). The second sub-9:00 time of his career, O'Connor was just 1.11 seconds off his season-best mark of 8:58.46 that ranks #1 in the nation.

Junior Andrew DiMaiti was the runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles. His time of 52.84 seconds was 1.07 behind the 51.77 timed by Rhode Island's Adam Franklin to win the race. DiMaiti was just 0.37 off his season-best 52.47 mark that is sixth in Division III.

The Tufts 4x1 was the fastest in Division III at the meet and third overall. Sophomore Brandon Levenstein, sophomore Anthony Kardonsky, senior Blake Coolidge and freshman Robert Jones combined on a time of 42.06 seconds.

Coolidge was the fastest DIII runner in the 100 meters final with a fourth-place time of 10.79 seconds. He was just 0.02 off Kardonsky's school-record 10.77 set last week at the New England DIII meet at the same venue.

Sophomore Christian Swenson is emerging for the Jumbos. After scoring third in the 1,500 at the New England DIII's last weekend, he was fourth in the event at the All-New England's today. His 3:53.26 time is ranked 32nd nationally. Sophomore Colin Raposo narrowly missed scoring in the 1,500 as well with his 3:54.72 finishing ninth.

Junior Stefan Duvivier and sophomore Josh Etkind both delivered third-place efforts. Duvivier clearned 6'7" (2.01m) in the high jump and Etkind ran 14.59 in the 110-meter hurdles final. Etkind was the top Division III finisher.

Tufts nearly added points in the 4x400-meter relay where they finished ninth. The foursome was freshman Jordan Abate, senior tri-captain Nick Usoff, sophomore Thomas Doyle and DiMaiti. Their time of 3:17.08 is the #34 national mark and was two-tenths of a second behind WPI (3:16.88) at the meet.

With one week remaining in the regular season, the Jumbos appear to have a healthy contingent set to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships coming up May 25-27 in Geneva, Ohio. They have one last attempt to improve their national qualifying marks at the MIT Last Chance Qualifier coming up on Thursday and Friday (May 18-19).

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