MEDFORD – Tufts men's cross country will host the 2018 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship on Saturday at Franklin Park in Boston starting at 11 am. The Jumbos are 21st in the country according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) after their strong performance at the Connecticut College Invitational (fourth of 27) on October 13. The team hopes to use that as a springboard into the championship season.
"We want to improve on our sixth-place finish from a year ago in the NESCAC Championship and carry our momentum forward from a strong race at the Connecticut College Invitational," said Michael Schmidt, head coach of the Jumbos. "We were missing one of our top runners in Brian Reaney two weekends ago as well, so that should be a boost to bring him back for NESCAC's."
Last year, the Jumbos came in sixth at NESCAC's led by some solid outings from many current seniors. Last year's juniors were the Jumbos' five scrorers and six of the top seven overall. Colin Raposo was Tufts' top finisher at 20th overall and a time of 25:55.7. Reaney (26:10) and Dylan Jones (26:12.8) placed 28th and 30th respectively for the brown and blue. Christian Swenson scored fourth for Tufts (26:26.8) and Andrew Doherty Munro (26:27.7) was fifth. Current senior Hiroto Watanabe (26:29.8) and sophomore Patrick Nero (26:30.4) rounded out the top seven for Tufts.
The Jumbos will look to lean on their veterans on Saturday in their final NESCAC Championship. All eight of their seniors will be competing - Rory Buckman, Munro, Doyle, Jones, Reaney, Raposo, Swenson and Watanabe. Also competing will be sophomores Peter Horvath, Nero, and Tanner, and freshmen Jack Cyprus, Neerav Gade, Sam Gatti, and Joseph Harmon. Freshmen Phil Hempstead, Collin O'Sullivan, and John Pappo are the alternates.
For the season, Tufts has competed in five events in preparation for the NESCAC Championship. Tri-captain Jones has had a solid senior season as he finished first overall at the Pineland XC Shootout and was the Jumbos' top finisher at the Purple Valley Classic. Fellow tri-captain Raposo clocked Tufts' best time at the Connecticut College Invitational. Doherty Munro and Watanabe have also consistently been amongst the brown and blue's top finishers.
Tufts has already competed on the Franklin Park course three weeks ago at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association race.
"Competing at Franklin Park already is a big help, as everyone has been able to get familiar with the turns and variations in terrain," Schmidt said. "We know the course well and are excited to host."
The brown and blue will be one of 11 teams competing at the NESCAC Championship. Hosting for the first time since 2002, the Jumbos have won four conference titles (2012, 2003-05).
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello