Watanabe Improves National Ranking in 800 at Tufts Final Qualifying Meet

Blake Coolidge broke Tufts' 60-meter dash record today

MEDFORD - Jumbo sophomore Hiroto Watanabe lowered his season-best time in the 800 meters by almost a second at the Tufts Final Qualifying Meet held at the Gantcher Center on Saturday.

The meet was an opportunity for track & field athletes to improve their national qualifying marks in an attempt to earn an invitation to the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships next weekend (Mar. 10-11).

Watanabe's 1:53.50 time to win today's 800 race improved upon his 1:54.13 previous season-best. He entered the day ranked 13th in the 800 and was at #11 as of Saturday at 5 p.m.

As a general rule of thumb, the top 15 marks in every event will qualify for the NCAA meet. All Division III results across the country are expected to be final by 6 p.m. this evening. The official NCAA entries will be announced tomorrow.

Though senior Tim Nichols and sophomore Josh Etkind did not improve their national rankings today, both are looking good for NCAA's. Nichols ran an 8:22.87 in the 3,000 today, but has an 8:21.51 season-best that is currently #11 in the nation. Etkind's 8.48 time in the 60-meter hurdles today did not improve upon his 8.16 season-best that is tied for 10th in DIII.

Senior Luke O'Connor is on the bubble regarding NCAA's. His 8:33.42 in the 3K today did not lower his 8:24.21 season-best that is #17 currently. Similarly, today's 4x4 of Andrew DiMaitiNick UsoffBilly Witrock and Thomas Doyle improved their national time to 3:20.43 today, but it's also on the bubble at #19 nationally. Today's time was better than their 3:21.49 from earlier this season.

Senior Blake Coolidge set a school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.95 seconds. It's the third time this season that the Jumbo 60m record has been broken. Coolidge replaces teammate Peter Clark's 6.99 from the New England Division III Championships two weeks ago. Coolidge's record time is tied for 30th nationally.

Sophomore Colin Raposo ran his best mile of the year wtih a 4:16.92 today. He along with DiMaiti in the 400 (49.697), Coolidge in the 60 and 200 (22.43) and Kevin Quisumbing in the shot put (45'4 1/4" - 13.82m) - all who competed today - should finish the season with national top 50 marks.

Junior Stefan Duvivier, who competed in the triple jump today, is ranked third nationally in the high jump with his school-record 6'10 3/4" (2.10m). Nichols is also second in the 5,000 meters with a 14:19.45 time.

The NCAA meet will be held at the Res Rec Center in Naperville, Illinos.