MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's cross country team will travel to New Gloucester, Maine this Saturday to take part in the 2017 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship hosted by Bates College.
|Brian Reaney was 28th at the NESCAC race last fall|
The Jumbos have seen a good amount of success in the past few seasons at the conference championship. They tied for third last year, came in third in 2015, and were fifth in 2014.
In 2016, three current members were part of Tufts' top five runners at the race, the two other having since graduated. Brian Reaney (26:52.02) and Christian Swenson (27:07.39), then sophomores, were the Jumbos' third and fourth place finishers at 28th and 41st overall. David Ng'etich (27:21.54) rounded out the top five coming in 55th.
With the departure of the seniors from last year, this season Tufts has really stressed a pack mentality in its races, knowing they can be stronger by running together. Four different Jumbos have been the team's top finisher this fall.
"In our earlier season races, the men have done a great job of finding each other within the crowd of competition and cueing off teammates to push and motivate each other," Director of men's cross country Michael Schmidt said. "If we use this pack-running strength to help our group move up through the conference race, we will have a strong performance. We have raced at Bates before and are familiar with the layout of the course."
Tufts has finished in the top portion of teams in all of their races so far this season. They began their campaign with a second-place finish at the Bates Invitational. Junior Dylan Jones was the team's top finisher as he came in 11th overall.
The team's season continued with a 10th of 26 finish at the Purple Valley Classic. They also competed in the Paul Short Invitational (ninth of 24), the All New England Championships (sixth of 14), and the Connecticut College Invitational (seventh of 20).
Fourteen different runners have cracked Tufts' top five finishers this season. In the races where the Jumbos sent out their varsity team, this excludes the All-New England Championship, juniors Colin Raposo, Jones, and Reaney have finished in Tufts' top five all four times.
Raposo was the first Jumbo to finish at the Paul Short Invitational when he came in 46th overall. He was second at both Bates and Connecticut College. He rounded out the top five at the Purple Valley Classic.
Jones has been the Jumbos' top finisher twice so far when he came in 11th overall at Bates and 29th at Connecticut College. He was their fourth finisher at the Purple Valley Classic and fifth at the Paul Short Invitational.
Reaney was Tufts' top finisher at the Purple Valley Classic, second at the Paul Short Invitational, fourth at Connecticut College and fifth at Bates.
Freshman Patrick Nero has finished in Tufts' top five on three occasions this season during his rookie campaign. He was third at the Purple Valley Classic, fourth at the Paul Short Invitational, and fifth at Connecticut College.
Swenson was the Jumbos' second finisher at the Purple Valley Classic.
The conference championship will feature all 11 NESCAC teams. The top five runners from each school will be taken into account in the team's scoring, with the first place finisher receiving one point, second place two points, and so on. The group with the lowest total combined score will win.
"Individually, the guys have put in great work over the past months and are prepared to be running their best races now when the stakes are higher," Schmidt said. "Our lineup is filled with upperclassmen who have succeeded both at cross-country and track championships, so our many freshmen will have those veterans to rely on and draw from their experiences. We should have many guys looking to be leading the group at different points in the race."
Written by Curtis Stoychoff, Athletic Communications Intern