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Women's Track and Field | Runners, throwers excel at Cupid Invitational

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 09:02

 The women’s track and field team hosted its final regular season meet, the Tufts Cupid Invitational, over the weekend at the Gantcher Center. The meet was the largest ever held in Gantcher with a slew of Div. I, II and III teams from across the country convening in Medford for what the USTFCCCA (U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) called the “Meet of the Week.” At such a high level of competition, the Jumbos, who recently fell below the national top-25 rankings, did not disappoint.

In the race of the day on the women’s side, sophomore Audrey Gould, fresh off her national and school top-five performance in the 5,000-meter run at Boston University’s David Hemery Invite, anchored the distance medley relay (DMR) team, consisting of sophomore Sydney Smith, senior Colleen Flanagan, and sophomore Hanako Shigenobu to a No. 7 finish nationally. Gould split 5:06 in the 1,600-meter leg to lead her team to a 12:05.59 third-place finish, behind MIT (1st, 12:02.67) and Bates (2nd, 12:02.83).

Although most of head coach Kristen Morwick’s squad raced only once in order to stay fresh for the coming weeks, Flanagan doubled in the meet, as she later returned to run the 600-meter dash in a time of 1:43.74, placing right behind senior Misha Patel, who finished seventh with a time of 1:42.88. Junior Lauren Gormer was second in the race with a time of 1:40.18, finishing just behind Stonehill junior Maria Curit. Sophomore Katie Kurtz posted an impressive time in the 800-meter run, running 2:26.36 out of the first heat, while freshman Sam Cox, coming off a 2:24 800-meter leg in the DMR, won the second heat with a time of 2:28.07. Sophomore Alex Kiesling also placed well for the Jumbos, running a time of 10:46.09 for eighth in the 3,000-meter run and qualifying for ECACs.

“This was our last chance to qualify many of our athletes for Div. III New England’s next week, or improve our seed marks for it,” freshman Kelly Fahey said. “It was also the last home meet for the seniors, so we really wanted to perform well across the board.”

The sprinting duo of junior Christina Harvey and senior Anya Kaufmann were able to take third and fourth in the 60-meter dash, as both ran ECAC qualifying marks of 7.89 and 7.96 seconds, respectively. Senior multi-eventer Jana Hieber and sophomore Marilyn Allen were also both able to take third and fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, sprinting over the barriers in times of 9.08 and 9.16 seconds, respectively. At the conclusion of the meet, the 4x400 squad of freshman Hannah Loss, Kaufmann, Allen, and Hieber were able to close the meet for the Jumbos with a 4:04.81, good enough for second place behind NESCAC rival Colby.

In the field events, freshman Keren Hendel got the job done in the pole vault, as she cleared the bar at 11’ 1 3/4”, just 1 1/4” off of her season best jump, to cement a seventh place finish. Meanwhile, junior Grace Demyan continued her quality season as Tufts’ number one thrower, as she placed fifth in the shot put with a heave of 37’ 9 1/4”, and sixth in the weight throw with a toss of 48’ 1/2”.

“Personally, my goal was to get better and improve for New Englands.” Demyan told the Daily in an email. “As a team, we wanted to get as many last chance qualifiers to New Englands as possible, like Bailey Conner, a freshman who set a [personal record] in the weight throw to qualify for New Englands next week.”

Tufts will have a strong contingent in the shot put and weight throw next week. Throwers will be looking to score some valuable points and propel the team to a successful championship weekend. 

“I think we responded very well to competing with a high quality field.” Fahey said. “Many girls set PRs, which put the ball in motion for the coming weeks.”

Next week, the Jumbos will travel to Springfield College for the Div. III New England Regional Championships, where they will take on many of their season-long rivals.

“We just need to stay focused and be supportive of each other.” Fahey said. “We hope to beat MIT.”

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