MEDFORD – After winning the first race of his collegiate career, Tufts University sophomore Walter Wagude has earned New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Performer of the Week honors today.
Wagude, who trained with the team as a freshman in cross country last year and competed outdoors with track, toed the line for his first cross country race on Saturday at the Trinity College Bantam Invitational. The hilly five-kilometer course at Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn., proved challenging with muddy conditions.
Another challenge awaited him, and his victory would end up dramatic. Running with the pack until the final mile, Wagude broke free and was leading the race with ease. However, on the finishing stretch, the lead vehicle pulled off and guided Wagude the wrong way. That allowed Trinity's Travis Martin to catch up and pass him with 200 meters to go. Wagude was able to sprint ahead again though, passing Martin at the line to win by less than one second. Wagude's mark was 16:21.2 to Martin's 16:22.1.
The effort led the Tufts team to victory out of seven schools at the meet. It was the team's first win since September 15, 2018 when the Jumbos were first place at Bates. Wagude's victory was Tufts' first individually since Dylan Jones won that year at Bates.
Wagude is the first Jumbo men's cross country runner to win the conference's weekly honor since Tim Nichols on November 14, 2016.