Men's Track & Field Opens Outdoor Season with a Bang in San Diego

SAN DIEGO – The Tufts University men's track & field team appeared to be in mid-season form as it opened the 2017 outdoor season at the Point Loma Nazarene (PLNU) Invitational in San Diego on Saturday. The Jumbos posted nine top 10 national marks at the meet.

Andrew DiMati won the 400-meter hurdles with the #3 time in the nation

Senior tri-captain Luke O'Connor ran 9:11.70 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, more than 12 seconds faster than anyone else in DIII has timed as of Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. EST. Fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the event last season, today's time was the second-best of O'Connor's career. He was just 0.34 behind race winner Reid Buchanan from Mammoth Track Club (9:11.36) today.

Jumbo sophomore Josh Etkind posted the #3 time in the nation for early in the outdoor season with a 14.81 in the 110-meter hurdles. Just a tick off his season-best from last year (14.80), Etkind was third at the race. He also posted the #9 national mark in the triple jump, reaching 45'5 ¼" (13.85m) for second place at the PLNU meet.

With a finish of 53.74 seconds, junior Andrew DiMaiti notched the #4 mark in the country today. He won the race at PLNU by more than 3.5 seconds over second-place finisher Reynaldo Gomez from Cal Poly Pomona (57.28).

The Jumbos broke a school record and had four national top 40times in the 100 meters race. Senior Blake Coolidge ran a 10.81 to break teammate Tommy Miller's 10.86 school record in the event from last year. Coolidge's mark today is seventh in DIII. Other Jumbos ranking in the top 40 nationally with their 100 races today are junior Anthony Kardonsky at #23(10.990), Miller at #30 (11.03) and freshman Robert Jones at #36 (11.055). Coolidge was third at PLNU.

Not surprisingly, a foursome composed out of that group ran the second-fastest 4x100-meter relay time in Tufts history at today's meet. Junior Peter Clark joined Coolidge, Miller and Jones to combine for a 42.05 time that ranks fourth nationally and was third at the meet. Clark and Miller were a part of last year's 41.65 that sits as the school record.

The sprint group also made their mark in the 200 meters. Coolidge's 21.91 is eighth nationally, Kardonsky's 22.07 comes in at #12 and a 22.10 by Miller stands 14th. Coolidge was the runner-up in the race while Kardonsky was fourth and Miller was fifth.

The 4x400-meter group of DiMaiti, senior tri-captain Nick Usoff, freshman Billy Witrock and sophomore Niko Agosti put down a 3:19.52 that is #9 in the nation.

Other top 10 national performances by the Jumbos came from sophomore Henry Hintermeister in the javelin throw with a 193'3 ½" (58.92m) that is #10, freshman Kevin Quisumbing in the shot put with the #22 distance in DIII (47'10 ¾" – 14.60m) and sophomore Colin Raposo with a 3:57.53 in the 1,500 (#12). Hintermeiser and Quisumbing were both runners-up at the PLNU meet.

Jumbos posting other notable efforts were Usoff in the javelin 172'3 ¼" (52.52m) and freshman Jordan Abate in both the 200 meters (22.51) and 400 meters (49.85).

Head coach Joel Williams' Tufts team won the team scoring with 144 points. Cal Poly Pomona was second (115.5) while New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foes Williams (114) and Middlebury (112) followed.

Tufts opens its home and New England schedules next Saturday with the annual Snowflake Classic at Dussault Track.