|Stefan Duvivier is the defending champion in the high jump|
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 last season at the Gantcher Center. Head coach Joel Williams' Jumbos will defend that title this weekend (Feb. 16-17) at Middlebury College.
Senior co-captain Peter Clark in the 60-meter dash, senior co-captain Drew DiMaiti in the 600 meters, senior Stefan Duvivier in the high jump and junior Hiroto Watanabe in the 800 each won New England D3 titles last season and will look to repeat.
Last year at home, Clark became the first sprinter in Jumbo history to record a time under seven seconds in the 60 when he won the race in 6.99 seconds. The record has since been broken, but Clark had been seeded ninth entering last year's race and again this season will look to provide the team with a huge lift.
DiMaiti became the fourth consecutive Tufts runner to win the New England Division III indoor 600 meters title last season. This year he's ranked 14th nationally in the 400 meters with a 48.80 banked track time. He also has the team's best 600 meters time this winter with a 1:21.63 mark.
Duvivier, 10th indoors and third outdoors in his event at last year's NCAA meets, has been working his way back from a nagging injury and posted his season-best this past weekend of 6'8" (2.03m). That's tied for the sixth-best mark among New England Division III competitors this season.
Watanabe was an indoor 800 All-American last season and has already topped that time this year. He had a 1:52.56 in the event at Tufts' Cupid Challenge on February 3.
Junior Anthony Kardonsky has been one of the nation's top sprinters thus far in 2018. He's 17th nationally in the 60 meters with a 6.96 career-best and is also at #17 in the 200 with a school-record time of 21.91 seconds.
The Jumbos also hope to score big in the relays. They currently have the nation's second-best distance medley relay after junior Christian Swenson, DiMaiti, Watanabe and junior Colin Raposo ran a school-record 9:54.92 at BU last weekend. The 4x4's 3:20.62 - run by DiMaiti, junior Thomas Doyle, senior Patrick Milne and Watanabe - is a top 40 national time.
Raposo and classmate Josh Etkind, both NCAA qualifiers in the past, figure to be key contributors this weekend. Raposo is ranked 19th nationally in the mile with a 4:12.36 adjusted time. Etkind, the runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles at this meet last year, has a season-best mark of 8.33 seconds (22nd in DIII).
Junior Henry Hintermeister scored fourth in the heptathlon last year and will look to move up. Sophomores Matt D'Anieri (mid-distance), Robert Jones (sprints) and Kevin Quisumbing (throws) have been enjoying good indoor campaigns and hope to be big factors in the Jumbos' scoring at Middlebury. Freshmen Matthew Manteiga and Michael Mecha have shown good promise in the jumps, while junior Ben Wallace is enjoying his best season in the pole vault.
Among the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national rankings are New England squads MIT at #3, Tufts (16th), Williams at #24, WPI (25th) and Middlebury at #38. The Jumbos' competition for the regional title should come from among that group.
Live stats for this weekend's meet will be available at http://802timing.com/results/18results/trackresults/2.16_17.18d3midd/. Video coverage of Saturday's event can be seen at https://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/middlebury/.