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Date: Monday, February 18, 2002


MEDFORD – Junior Bryan Pitko (Arlington, MA/Arlington) of the Tufts University men's track team is the New England Division III champion in the 55 Meter Hurdles. At the championship meet hosted by Bates on Saturday, Pitko raced to a time of 7.67 seconds to edge Brandeis' Wole Ogunkoya (7.73) and teammate Greg Devine (Springfield, MA/Central) (7.8) in the finals.

Jumbos dominated this particular event. Devine and Pitko both posted 7.77s to qualify for the finals, right behind Ogunkoya' s top 7.74 qualifying time. Tufts freshman Nate Thompson (South Portland, ME/South Portland) was the sixth out of eight qualifiers at 7.91.

In the finals, Jumbos took first, third and fourth, with Thompson running a 7.90 for five fourth-place points. Tufts scored 21 points total in the 55 Meter Hurdles. Pitko' s winning 7.67 time currently stands as fifth best in the nation this season. He and Devine will likely run in the 55 Hurdles at the NCAA Championships in Ohio next month.

Head Coach Connie Putnam' s team placed fourth overall with 60 points, up one from fifth place last winter. Pitko and Devine, along with distance man J.R. Cruz (Centereach, NY/Centereach), are the strength of the team and proved it. Devine was fourth in the 200 Meters (22.67) and Cruz was third in the 5,000 (15:08.24). Junior Bryant Coen (Oakton, VA/Oakton) was fourth in the 600 Meters (1:23.87).

The team will focus on national qualifying times next weekend at the All-New England Championships hosted by Boston University.