Medford, MA – In Eph head coach Ethan Barron's return to Tufts University, the men's track and field team put up another round of strong performances across the board in anticipation of the fast–approaching championship season. Coach Barron's squad took advantage of the competitive field to qualify a handful of athletes for the Division III New England Championship taking place in two weeks.
Leading the charge from the start of the meet was Chris Lyons '17. Lyons continued his breakout season in the weight throw by setting yet another personal best this week. He came through in the clutch and on his final attempt threw 15.08m to secure the win. Lyons has continued to lead by example all season, and the captain is the first thrower on the team this year to qualify for Division III New Englands in the weight throw.
David Folsom '17 set the tone for the running events in the mile. Folsom was seeded almost 6 seconds behind the top seed in his heat, but was not deterred by the fact. He stayed with the top pack and kicked down the leader from Amherst on the final lap. Folsom commandingly ran away with the win in 4:29.83.
Another trio of great efforts came in the 1000m. Alex Cowen '18 was the only Eph in his heat, but worked hard and pushed himself to a personal best 2:32.40. He qualified for Division III New Englands and ECACs with his team–leading time in the event. Kyle Kistinger '16 and Lucas Estrada '19 had strong races of their own in a different heat. Kistinger went out hard with the leader and Estrada sat back in the 2nd pack to start. While Kistinger held strong to 2nd place in the heat, Estrada moved up. Estrada managed to finish the race almost at Kistinger's side, bolting his last lap to finish in 2:34.67 to Kistinger's 2:34.48. Both men also qualified for Division III New Englands and ECACs.
Connor Harris '18 was the top long jumper for the Ephs today. Harris wasted no time in the event, launching himself to a personal best 6.58m jump on his first attempt. His team–leading mark was good enough to capture 2nd overall. Although he already qualified for Division III New Englands earlier this season, it was encouraging to see Harris continue to improve.
Both heats of the 3k featured strong races for the Ephs. Finishing 2nd overall in the fast heat, and the event, was Peter Hale '17. Hale went out in the chase pack and bided his time for the first mile, sensing the race was going out too quickly. He reeled in the leaders one by one in the back half of the race, and with an incredible display of speed powered his way past most of the field. He kicked very hard and made the winner work for his victory. Hale finished 2nd overall in 8:26.31, a time that qualifies him for Division III New Englands, ECACs, and All New Englands. He also currently sits in the top 10 in Division III in the 3000m, in addition to the 5000m. This race was no doubt a confidence builder for Hale as he ran to a fast finish and was not baited by the early fast pace.
In the 2nd heat of the 3000m, it was Austin Anderson '19 who had the strongest showing for the Ephs. Anderson entered the race eyeing the 8:55 mark, which he needed to eclipse to qualify for Division III New Englands. He started behind the lead pack but used his consistency to move up while other racers fell off the pace. With about 800m to go, Anderson took the lead and got his qualifying time, winning the race in 8:51.45.
Pierceson Brown '18 put on another show in the pole vault today. The sophomore vaulter set his 2nd personal best in three meets today, sending himself over the bar set at 4.55m on his final attempt at the height. Brown also qualified for All New Englands with his mark.
"As a whole, we competed well today. And you can see how that grit led to improvements across every event group," coach Barron reflected. "At this point in the year, I'm occasionally asked 'are you where you expected [to be]?' Honestly, it's not about expectations. The question is 'where are we at right now and what do we have to do to be better?'"
"This squad is anything but complacent," he concluded. "We're definitely hungry for more and we get another shot next Saturday."
The Ephs will split up next weekend to compete at both the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University and the Gordon Kelley Invitational at MIT.