Last season was one of the most successful in Tufts University men's track & field history as head coach Joel Williams' Jumbos won the New England Division III indoor championship and qualified a best-ever 11 student-athletes for the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championship Meet. Many of the Jumbos who helped the team reach those heights are back as the 2017-18 season begins on Saturday at home with the Tufts Invitational at the Gantcher Center.
|Stefan Duvivier broke the team's indoor and outdoor high jump records last season|
Returnees Stefan Duvivier, who was third in the NCAA Outdoor high jump last May, Josh Etkind (8th in NCAA Outdoor 110-meter hurdles) and Hiroto Watanabe (8th in NCAA Indoor 800 meters) all posted All-American performances at NCAA championship meets last season. Senior Andrew DiMaiti, an All-American as a freshman in 2015, is a three-time NCAA qualifier while Duvivier and Etkind have both competed at Nationals twice. Additionally, Henry Hintermeister, Robert Jones, Anthony Kardonsky, Brandon Levenstein, Tommy Miller, Colin Raposo and Christian Swenson are other Jumbos who have national championship experience.
Tufts will have some holes to fill as distance studs Tim Nichols and Luke O'Connor graduated last May. Outdoor 100 meters record-holder Blake Coolidge, versatile scorer Nick Usoff and hurdler Thomas Wang will also be difficult to replace.
Duvivier started the 2016-17 season on the Jumbo basketball team, but left mid-season to join track & field and won four championships in the high jump – New England Division III indoors and outdoors, All-New England indoors and NESCAC (outdoors). He broke both school records last year with 6'11" (2.11m) clearance outdoors and a 6'10 ¾" (2.10m) mark indoors.
DiMaiti is well known as one of the top competitors in the longer sprints indoors and in the 400-meter hurdles outdoors. He won the 600 meters at the New England Division III indoor championships last March and then posted back-to-back victories in the 400h at NESCAC's and NED3's outdoors. DiMaiti is also the leading member of the 4x4, with his name in the school record book as the anchor of a 3:15.3 mark from 2015.
After breaking his own school record with an 8.16 in the 60-meter hurdles to qualify nationally last March, Etkind won the 110-hurdles event at NESCAC's and NED3's in the spring. He went on to earn his first career All-American honor with a 14.37 school-record at Nationals. He is also a high scorer in the triple jump and will look to take a step up to the national-qualifying level there this year.
Two sprinters were also among the several Jumbos who were New England champions a year ago. Now a junior, Kardonsky was first in the NESCAC 100-meters and in the New England DIII Outdoor 200 last spring. His 21.71 to win the NED3 race is a school record. Senior Peter Clark was first in the New England DIII 60-meters last season. Tufts boasts a deep group in the sprints overall. Jones was a regular scorer in the 2017 championship season and Miller was a one-time school record-holder in the 100. Levenstein is emerging after joining Kardonsky, Miller and Jones to win the New England Division III outdoor crown and qualify nationally with a school-record 41.43 in the 4x100-meter relay. Senior Pat Milne was the team's lead leg on the NESCAC runner-up 4x1 and looks like he will be an impact player this year.
Watanabe added a New England D3 indoor win in the 800 meters leading up to his All-American performance in the event. Swenson is another Jumbo whose performance improved as the 2017 season moved along. He put down a school record 3:49.25 in the 1,500 to earn his first-ever trip to the NCAA's last May. Raposo is a veteran middle-distance performer in the championship meets and ran with the 2016 distance medley relay which qualified nationally.
Hintermeister is the Jumbos' most versatile athlete. He was fourth in the multi-event at the New England D3's indoors, scored in the 110-meter hurdles at the New England D3 outdoor meet and qualified nationally in the javelin. Billy Witrock was one of the team's top freshman performers last season, scoring in the New England D3 indoor 600, the NESCAC 400-meter hurdles and playing a key role with the 4x400 relay.
Senior Linus Gordon has valuable experience in the jumps, including a New England D3 runner-up showing in the long jump last winter. Senior Shant Mahrokhian and junior Charles Pennington have another year of experience to add better depth here. Junior Ben Wallace and senior Nile Abularrage are the top returning pole vaulters.
The Jumbos will look for new leaders to step up in the distance events and throws. Sophomore Kevin Quisumbing is the leading returnee in the throws. Dylan Jones, Andrew Doherty Munro and and Brian Reaney were leading cross country performers this fall who will look to become distance scorers on the track.
Other Jumbos expected to make significant contributions include sophomore Jordan Abate (long sprints), junior Nico Agosti (sprints), sophomore Matt D'Anieri (mid-distance), senior Tom DePalma (mid-distance), junior Thomas Doyle (long sprints), senior Chris Gregory (mid-distance), senior Sam Little (distance), sophomore Roman Lovell (mid-distance), sophomore Dylan McEniry (mid-distance), and sophomore Jackson Mihm (mid-distance).