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Date: Thursday, January 25, 2001
Writen by Leslie Crofton


MEDFORD -- Tufts University's women's track senior trio Folake Aaron (Edison, NJ), Leslie Crofton (Somerset, MA/Somerset), and Sarah Deeb (West St. Paul, MN/Visitation), as well as the team's returning All-American distance medley relay, have their sights set on qualifying for the NCAA Division III Track & Field Championship to be held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this March.

The three seniors have already posted fast times in their respective events so far this season. Prior to winter break Deeb, a three-time All-American (distance medley relay, 4X400m relay, 400m), just missed a provisionally qualifying time in the 400m (58.82) while winning her first race of the year at The Reggie Lewis center in Roxbury. The following week Crofton, who was fifth in the Division III Cross Country NCAAs this past fall, qualified provisionally for the indoor NCAAs on her home track, running a 17:41 5k. Aaron has come into her own after the winter recess, running extremely fast early times (8.78) in the 55m hurdles. Aaron, who has made a trip to the NCAAs in outdoor track, is looking to qualify this indoor season.

The distance medley relay team consisting of Deeb, Crofton, and juniors Colleen Burns (Englishtown, NJ) and Lauren Esposito (Gayles Ferry, CT) is hoping to improve upon their third place finish at last years NCAAs.

Backing up these NCAA hopefuls this season will be senior Nadia Samadani (Beaver Dam, WI) in the horizontal jumps and juniors Heather Ballantyne (Winchester, MA/Winchester) and Sarah Leistikow (Lafayette, CO) in the distance events and pentathalon, respectively. Sophomore Myriam Claudio (Woburn, MA/Woburn) and freshman standout Jess Trombly (Nashua, NH/Bishop Guertin) will be team leaders in the sprints. Under the guidance of first-year coach Kristen Morwick (previously at Williams), the squad hopes to peak during the championship season and prove to be a force in New England Division III track. The team has competed at the competitive Northeastern Husky Invitational and Dartmouth Relays and has won all of its home meets thus far.

The Tufts University's Men's Track & Field team is off to a solid start this indoor season, having won both of its scoring home meets. Coming off of an NCAA qualifying Cross Country season this past fall, the team's fourth in the last five years, the distance squad is one of the strongest in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Although many key athletes in the other event groups are currently injured or just coming back from injury, the other events should prove to be just as competitive, if not quite as deep.

Senior captain and Cross Country All-American Dave Patterson (Shutesbury, MA/Amherst) is looking to qualify for the national meet, to be held in Oshkosh Wisconsin, in the 1500m. Patterson, along with junior teammate Ben Smith (Noank, CT), have run solid early times in that event, placing second (4:03) and third (4:05) respectively at the January 13th home meet. Juniors Jason Mann (Rosemont, PA/Germantown Friends) and JR Cruz (Centereach, NY) will challenge in the distance events as well. Senior 800m standout John McGuire (Brunswick, ME) is currently fighting injury but should be in the mix for a NCAA qualifying slot in that event if healthy.

Other injury-plagued key athletes include two recovering sprinters, senior Ryan Guilmartin (Middletown, CT) and junior Andy Benedict (Dix Hills, NY). Sophomore Bryan Pitko (Arlington, MA/Arlington) is also fighting injury, if healthy he is expected to combine with standout classmate Greg Divine (Springfield, MA) in the hurdles and sprints.

Senior captain Darren Fabbri and Adam Barrer (Lansdale, PA), a junior back from studying abroad, will be major point scorers in the sprints. Patrick Taylor (Washington, D.C.) will lead in the horizontal jumps while Seniors Matt Payne (Ambler, PA) and Kevin Waltrous (Brooklyn, NY) will dominate the throws along with sophomore Chris Martin (New York City, NY).