With the NESCAC Championships only two weeks away, the women’s track and field team went to work this past weekend, building on its momentum and strong baseline performances as the pre−championship season nears an end. The results were promising, including a first−place overall finish in the 10−team Skyhawk Classic hosted by Stonehill College and first place in Tufts’ first and only heptathlon of the season at Ellis Oval.
“It was a good day. We had a strong showing, all our girls were out there feeling good and ready to go,” senior tri−captain Katherine Tang said. “It was our first really nice meet weather−wise, everyone was really excited, and we got to increase our times and distance marks.”
As is becoming the norm, the Jumbos posted strong marks on the field side, especially in throwing. Junior Kelly Allen lit up the discus competition with a meet−record throw of 143−4, to go along with her victory in the shot put with a final distance of 43−2 1/4. Allen also notched second place in the hammer throw with a 156−5, bested only by her own teammate, junior Sabienne Brutus, who had a toss of 157−9. Junior Ronke Oyekunle followed close behind with a top−three finish in both the hammer throw and shot put, recording distances of 141−8 and 40−3 1/4 in the two events, respectively.
In the javelin throw, sophomore Robin Armstrong, who had already placed fourth behind Oyekunle in the hammer throw with a heave of 137−4, added to the Jumbos’ victory streak on the field by earning a final distance of 118−8.
Senior Heather Theiss achieved victory in the pole vault, with a final meet−record clearance of 11−6 1/2. Tang, along with sophomore Colleen Flanagan, both backed Theiss by tying for third, each finishing with a clearance of 9−6 1/4.
Senior Nakeisha Jones won the triple jump, notching a height of 37−11 1/4. Jones also earned third place in the 100−meter hurdle with a time of 15.53 seconds.
Other impressive finishes included junior Leah Small’s second−place effort in the high jump with a 4−11 and sophomore LaTisha Curtiss’ tie for runner−up alongside Bridgewater’s Carrie Robitaille in the long jump. They each hit 16−10 1/2.
On the track end of the meet, freshman Christina Harvey led the Jumbos by winning the 100−meter dash with a final time of 12.53 seconds. Sophomore Laura Peterson earned a top−three finish in the 3,000−meter steeplechase with a final time of 11:49.33, and in the 5,000−meter run, sophomore Abby Barker earned runner−up honors with a time of 18:51.04.
Altogether, the team raked in 206.50 points, including seven event victories and numerous other top−five finishes. Host Stonehill came in second with 175 points, and Boston University rounded up a third−place finish with 144.50 points.
“I think we have a really strong team so far,” Tang said. “We’ve been focused the whole season and performing really well. I think we’re definitely going to come out in the top−three at NESCACs. We’re going after that championship.”
While a majority of the team competed at Stonehill, five members stayed home at Ellis Oval to compete in the first multi−event meet of the season — and the last home−meet of the pre−championship season — the heptathlon.
“We had nice weather, and the competition was great,” senior tri−captain Kayley Pettoruto said. “It was really fun to compete in and to watch, with a little bit of everything, and to see how the training we did all week paid off in the events and the qualifying marks.”
Sophomore Jana Hieber, already an All−American in the indoor pentathlon, led all competitors in the eight−athlete meet with a cumulative score of 4,285 points, a mark that ranks her 10th nationally. Hieber picked up victories in all three track events, with a time of 15.50 seconds in the 100−meter hurdle, 26.65 seconds in the 200−meter dash and 2:22.42 in the final event, the 800−meter.
“Jana Hieber had an awesome performance. She’s a hard worker and did extremely well,” Pettoruto said. “As a team I think we had an excellent performance overall.”
Pettoruto finished third in the heptathlon with a total of 3,572 points. Her best events included a victory in the javelin throw behind a toss of 30.75 meters, a runner−up finish in the 800−meter run with a time of 2:31.38 and a top−three effort in the 200−meter dash with a mark of 27.86 seconds.
Sophomore Bethanne Goldman and junior Sarah Schiferl followed by placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Goldman tallied 3,193 points, including top−three finishes in the long jump the 800−meter. Schiferl accumulated 3,129 points, just shy of a qualifying mark and highlighted by a runner−up effort in the shot put with a throw of 9.77 meters. Freshman Hannah Carlin brought up the rear with 2,159 points, good for seventh place.
With plenty of qualifying marks under their belts, the team’s next visit will be to the MIT Spring Invitational next weekend before traveling to Bates the following weekend for the NESCAC Championships.
“NESCACs have always been a big team goal,” Pettoruto said. “We have a lot of potential, and I think we can win if we’re to put everything together.”