Nichols Third, O'Connor 20th at NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship Race


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senior Tim Nichols posted the best-ever finish by a Tufts University men's cross country runner at the NCAA Championship race with a third-place time of 24:09.7 today at the 2016 national championship which was run at  E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville.

Joining Nichols with a second Jumbo All-American performance (top 35) today was classmate Luke O'Connor, whose 24:42.4 time was 20th overall. This marked the first time in team history that two Tufts runners posted All-American efforts in the same NCAA race.

Nichols' third place showing topped a sixth-place finish by Rod Hemingway as the best Tufts individual finish at Nationals in school history. Nichols' 24:09.7 time was also the fastest at an NCAA meet for a Jumbo runner, surpassing a 24:36 by Matt Rand in 2011. O'Connor's time is the third-best in team history at the NCAA Championship.

The All-American honor for Nichols is his second straight after he was 19th at last year's national race (24:46.20). The third-place NCAA finish capped a 2016 season in which Nichols was the New England Small College Athletic Conference champion and also won the NCAA New England Regional Championship race.

Today was the first cross country All-American accolade for O'Connor. His 20th place tied for the 10th-best finish at NCAA's by a Jumbo.

Nichols was less than a second out of second place, which was taken by Ernie Pitone from Widener with a 24:09.0 time. Ian LaMere from Wisconsin-Platteville won the individual title with a 23:40.4 mark. A total of 278 runners finished the race.

Nichols and O'Connor were both running at the NCAA Cross Country Championship for the fourth straight season, but for the first time as individuals. Tufts narrowly missed earning a team berth after placing fifth at the NCAA Regional.

North Central dominated the team competition with a final score of 60 to win the national championship.