By Arnav Sacheti
Despite the challenges that Tufts sport teams have faced throughout the last two years, trying to compete and practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jumbos have shown resilience and patience. Not only have our athletes survived, but they have thrived. Many spring sports, including softball and lacrosse, achieved tremendous success at the NESCAC and national levels last year. Now, with relatively fewer COVID-19 restrictions, here are what spring sports at Tufts will be up to this season.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
The men’s and women’s track and field squads kicked off 2022 by hosting the Tufts Jumbo Invitational at the Gantcher Center on Saturday. Both the men’s and women’s teams secured first place in their respective overall competitions, laying a strong foundation for the rest of their season. Tufts will host five more meets this semester, both in indoor and outdoor track.
The women look to build on the success they achieved last spring, when they placed sixth at the NCAA Championships for their best finish in over 30 years. Senior Danielle Page will lead the Jumbos, along with seven out of the other eight runners who qualified for the NCAA Championships last spring according to Tufts Athletics.
Led by senior captain Ben Stein, an experienced runner who has competed in many track and field events throughout his career, the men feature a strong contingent that has had past success in track and cross country. Seniors Nick Delaney and Collin O’Sullivan, as well as junior Andrii Campbell, led the distance and mid-distance squads, while sophomore Walter Wagude looks to build on his success in this past cross country season. In the meantime, junior Alex Lemieux and sophomore Luke Botsford lead the sprinting squad, looking to build on their regional and national level performances.
After winning its 12th NESCAC Championship title last season, the Tufts softball team will look to continue its recent success this season.
The team will kick off its season just as spring break begins on March 19 in Clermont, Fla. The Jumbos will play a total of 15 games during an 8-day stretch in Clermont that features competition from all over the country. They will then return home to complete their season playing against teams in the NESCAC.
Although three key members of last year’s team have graduated, the team retains most of its core that won them the NESCAC Championship, and, led by head coach Lauren Ebstein, the Jumbos will look to repeat and advance further in the NCAA tournament.
Tufts Class of 1993 alumnus and former Tufts baseball star Paul Svagdis takes the helm as the Tufts baseball head coach, replacing head coach John Casey, who was the head coach for nearly 40 years. With this new era, the Jumbos look to continue building on the success they have had for the last 20 years, winning six NESCAC Championships since 2001.
The team will begin its season on March 12, playing 34 games in its regular season before the NESCAC tournament. 11 of those games will be home games, and 12 are interconference games.
Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse
Both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams look to build on the outstanding heights they both reached last season. Both the men’s and women’s teams won their respective 2021 NESCAC Championships, with the women winning the title for the first time ever. The men reached the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, and the women narrowly lost in the finals.
The men and women both will kick off their seasons against Colby College on March 5. The men will play at home, and the women will travel to Colby. Both of them will play 15 regular season games prior to the NESCAC and NCAA Championships, with the men playing six home games and the women playing seven home games. They both will play 10 and nine games, respectively, across NESCAC opponents to prepare for the NESCAC Championships.
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
After a break since mid-October, Tufts tennis will start its season up again on March 12 against Middlebury College. Both men’s and women’s teams will play at Middlebury, and both will play 18 matches, with the men playing seven home matches and the women playing nine home matches. Both teams will conclude their seasons on May 1 against Amherst College.