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Tuesday, March 23, 2004
By Julie Fox


Thirteen Tufts athletes competed on the national stage during the past two weekends (March 11-13 and March 18-20) and eight came away with top-12 performances, capping off excellent seasons for both indoor track & field teams, and the swimming & diving teams.

Coming into the NCAA Division III Women's Indoor Championships at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater ranked second in the 4x400 meter relay, the women's track and field team was represented by senior tri-captain Jess Trombly (Nashua, NH), juniors Sika Henry (Upper Montclair, NJ) and Emily Bersin (Orleans, MA), and sophomore Rachel Bloom (Sharon, MA). The team ran a sub-par preliminary race and went into the finals in fifth place and in the slow heat. However, they bounced back to finish the finals in 3 minutes, 53.45 seconds, behind only Illinois Wesleyan's 3:52.36. The eight points the relay earned for the team placed the Jumbos tied for 23rd in the country.

In the men's meet, junior Nate Brigham (Penacook, NH) and freshman Fred Jones (Northfield, MA) qualified for the 5,000 meter run and the triple jump, respectively. After the preliminary round, Jones was ranked fifth. Despite improving on his preliminary jumps by seven inches to finish at 47 feet, 4 1/2 inches, Jones dropped one spot to finish sixth in the finals, earning three points for the team as Tufts finished in 40th place in the country. Brigham was seeded 12th coming into his race, but out-ran three opponents to finish ninth with a time of 15:00.10.

Seniors Mika Sumiyoshi (Fukuoka City, Japan) and Beth Wecksell (Great Neck, NY) traveled to Principia College in Missouri to participate in the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships on March 11-13. Sumiyoshi earned All-American status for her fourth place finish in the 200 individual medey, as well as her sixth place finish in the 400 IM. After finishing the preliminaries of the 200 IM in seventh place, Sumiyoshi turned it up in the finals to finish in 2:08.33. In the 400 IM, she finished the preliminaries in eighth place, then used her 4:32.67 time to move up to sixth. Wecksell competed in both diving events from the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. She finished 12th in both events, scoring 303.95 points in 1-meter and 336.50 points in the 3-meter to earn Honorable Mention All-American status in both events.

At the men's swimming & diving nationals, the Tufts 4x200 freestyle relay foursome of freshman Mike Kinsella (Hinsdale, IL), junior Rich Halpert (Acton, MA), senior Nick Ghoussaini (Frankfurt, Germany) and sophomore Brett Baker (Englewood, CO) placed 12th in the preliminaries with a time of 1 minute, 24.96 seconds. That qualified for the finals later in the day, where the relay placed 15th in the finals with a 1:25.88 time.