Men’s and women’s track and field dominated two matches last weekend

On Sunday, men’s track and field sent teams to compete in both the Boston University-hosted John Thomas Terrier Classic and the Tufts-hosted Branwen Smith-King Invitational. Two days earlier, on Friday, the women competed in a separate day of the John Thomas Terrier Classic in BU.

For men, the BU meeting featured dominant performances from junior Alex Lemieux and sophomore Luke Botsford. Lemieux posted a 21.66 in the 200m, which was good for fifth place out of 108 runners. This race not only gives him the school record in the event, but also a time that places in the top 30 in Div. III of all time. Botsford did equally well, finishing 21.92 in the 200m and 49.16 in the 400m. His 200-meter performance put him 9th out of 108, while his 400-meter mark was 10th out of 76. Both stats are top 20 in Dept. III this season.

Despite his great performance Botsford felt he had room for improvement. This was Botsford’s first 400m race on an indoor track and he was still getting used to the 200m, which requires more turns than an outdoor 400m.

“My goal goes in[to the race] should go under 49 seconds,” Botsford said. “My PR for the outdoor stretch was 48.1, so I just wanted to get somewhere close. And I knew it was possible just because of the competition and this track is a banked corner that makes you go a lot faster.”

The women’s team was also littered with national-level times on Friday. First-year Aoife Hernon finished 30th of 87 in the 200 with a time of 25.74, good for 15th place in the Div. III after conversion due to the steep track. The 4 x 400 meter team also achieved a top 15 time in the Div. III. Freshman Annika Kral, senior Luana Machado, senior Hannah Neilon and freshman Emma Smith made up this 4×4 unit, which recorded a time of 3:58.97. Smith ran the 400 in 59.34, which was good for 27th of 82, and was the 33rd best 400 time in the Div. III this season. Two jumbos came in the top 15 in the 500m race, with Machado finishing 11th with a time of 1:17.04 and Neilon finishing in 1:18.05, good for 12th place .

With races taking place in two different locations on Sunday, there was some communication in the form of a Slack group chat that took place between the runners in the BU and those running at home, which gave the runners a big boost.

“Whenever someone does something impressive, there’s usually a conversation, and it’s nice to see your name and someone else’s name,” Botsford said. “It was really great. Just because you can not only connect with your teammates in your class, but also talk to seniors.

There was a lot going on in the group chat as the performances were impressive not only at the BU meeting but also at the home Branwen Smith-King Invitational.

As a team, the men took first place out of 10 teams, while the women took second place. In the men’s sprint, Tufts made it to the final of the 60-meter dash with three runners. They included junior Amos Trinidad, who finished second, first-year Naheim Washington, who finished third, and sophomore Daniel Williams, who finished fourth.

Junior Carter Rosewell won the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.98, which is a personal record for him. In the 600m, six jumbos were in the top seven, with sophomore Chris Tilton leading the field with a time of 1:24.58. Three jumbos were also in the top seven in both the mile and 3000 meters, with junior Connor Giersch taking second place in the 5000 meters with a time of 16:02.32.

The 4 x 400 meter team, consisting of Junior Andrii Campbell, First Year Ethan Forde, First Year Noah Turner and Junior Sawyer Wilson, took first place with a combined time of 3:29.56. In the field events, Harry Rienecker-Found, a sophomore, was first in the high jump, and in the triple jump, three jumbos were all on the podium. Senior Alex Zsikla led with a jump of 45′ 3.75”, and first-years Washington and Anthony Bhangdia followed closely behind with jumps of 41′ 1.5” and 40′ 9.5”, respectively.

“I am very satisfied with my performance. I think it’s still very early in the season, which means it’s a good indicator of the result,” said Zsikla.

When it came to the team’s overall performance, Zsikla was just as excited.

“I think it should be said that the other two people who competed with me were not doing 100% but 80% of their maximum power. We have a much higher cap than what is just stated on a stat sheet,” said Zskila.

In the women’s 400m, freshman Alexa Burst finished third with a time of 1:05.19. Three jumbos placed in the top six in the 1000 meter, with first-year Carly Rinko taking first place with a time of 3:06.23, followed closely by sophomore Rose Kitz.

Three women made it to the 60m hurdles final and a sophomore Sarah Pillon won the race with a time of 9.33. Team Tufts ‘A’ beat Team Tufts ‘B’ in a small friendly competition in the 4 x 800m relay to secure first place in the event. The A-Team consisted of Rinko, Kitz and seniors Tara Lowensohn and Anna Slager.

In the field events, the women took first place in the high jump, pole vault and triple jump. Junior Jaidyn Appel won the high jump with a jump of 5′ 7.25″, first year Sarah Firth won the pole vault with a jump of 11′ 7.75″ and junior Lia Rotti led four jumbos in the top seven in the triple jump with a jump of 38 ‘ 5.5″.

With those two successful encounters, the focus is now on building on those achievements.

“We are heading towards the championship season,” said Zskila. “We only have three weeks until we have to get ready to go. We don’t have time to sit around anymore. We have to go out there and give 100 percent day in and day out because there are only so many days left.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will continue that journey at this weekend’s NEICAAA Championships at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston.

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