MEDFORD - The Tufts Men's Cross Country team is set to open their season on Saturday at the Bates Invitational in Gloucester, Maine starting at 11:45 a.m.
Last year, the Jumbos placed in the top half of every meet they competed in. The Jumbos finished sixth out of 11 teams in the NESCAC Championship. Tufts then went on to compete in the Division III New England Regionals and finished eighth out of the 55 teams. The top five finishers in the New England Regionals return this season for the Jumbos.
|Senior Colin Raposo is looking to have a standout senior season|
The Jumbos are led by coaches Joel Williams and Michael Schmidt. Coach Williams enters his third season and Coach Schmidt will begin his sixth season with the program. Both coaches have guided All-Americans as well as received Coach of the Year Awards while being on the Jumbos' staff.
Coach Schmidt, who oversees the cross country team, had this to say about the team's goals for the season. "We aim to better our finishes from last year's conference (6th) and regional (8th) championships, eyeing strong team performances at each meet we will attend. We start small at Bates with only three teams, taking things one week at a time."
Tufts finished in second at the Bates Invitational last season. Dylan Jones, now a senior, finished a team-best 11th with a time of 27:04.5 in the eight-kilometer contest. Classmate Colin Raposo placed 13th overall clocking in a time of 27:11.1.
Tufts brings back seniors Raposo, Brian Reaney, Jones, Christian Swenson, and Andrew Doherty Munro who were consistently five of the top seven finishers a season ago. This senior class has had many accomplishments in their time at Tufts, but will look to build on what they did a season ago. The roster consists of eight seniors, six juniors, eight sophomores, and ten freshmen overall, so the team brings an abundance of veteran leaders and young runners looking to make an impact.
Raposo clocked the Jumbos' best finish, 20th overall in the NESCAC Championship. Other top finishers included seniors Reaney (28th), Jones (30th), Swenson (41st), and Munro (42nd). In the New England Regionals Raposo placed 35th overall to lead the Jumbos. Jones finished 51st, Doherty Munro (54th), Reaney (55th), and Swenson (64th). Other Jumbos who made an impact a season ago include current sophomores Patrick Nero and Peter Horvath as well as senior Hiroto Watanabe.
Tufts Cross Country enters the season ranked sixth in the NCAA DIII Regional Rankings. The NESCAC has seven teams that rank in the top 10 in the Preseason Rankings.
"The NESCAC has been one of the strongest conferences in the country for many years now and is typically the very strongest in terms of qualifying teams to the NCAA Championships," Schmidt said. "We know we always need to be ready to put forth our best effort to be able to beat these teams and can rely on great competition every time we toe the line with our NESCAC foes. They help us be a better team and we push the other squads right back."
The Jumbos will partake in seven meets during the season, three in September, three in October including the NESCAC Championship October 27, and the NCAA Regional Championship on November 10. The Jumbos will look to have a second meet in November, which would be the NCAA Championships.
"The strengths of this year's team are that we return our entire top ten from last year, and the majority of our upperclassmen have championship meet experience," Schmidt said. "Dylan Jones, Brian Reaney, and Colin Raposo are all exemplary captains with strong leaders to support them throughout each class year. The group has worked hard over the summer to form a strong pack and looks to push each other every practice to build team races together."
Written by Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello