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Women's Track and Field | Women’s track and field off to promising start at Dartmouth Relays

Published: Friday, January 17, 2014

Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 03:01

Women’s track and field, represented by a small group of competitors, inaugurated the spring semester with a trek to Hanover, N.H., on Jan. 12 for the Dartmouth Relays. Despite the particularly small Tufts representation, the team powered to a seventh place finish among 14 schools.

“Dartmouth is the type of meet we go into as individuals to try to see where we are at after the break,” tri-captain Anya Kaufmann, a senior, said. “We use Dartmouth to help us get any nerves out before the big meets during the season.”

Concluding the meet with 18 points, Tufts fell below NESCAC rivals Williams and Middlebury in the standings, each of which consistently boasts a formidable squad. Dartmouth and Harvard finished in first and second. Harvard beat the third-place team, UMass Lowell, by a whopping 76 points. 

Seniors and sophomores dominated the meet. With long jump leaps of 17’9.5” and 16’6.5”, Kaufmann and Jana Hieber, a senior, placed third and seventh, Tufts’ best finishes at the meet. Both women recorded personal bests in the event, cementing an integral part of the team’s leadership for the season.

Kaufmann and Hieber set the tone on the track as well, with Kaufmann finishing 18th in the 60-meter dash and Hieber placing 12th in the 60-meter hurdles.

Not to be outdone by the veterans, Audrey Gould, a sophomore, notched Tufts’ most successful track, finishing in fourth place with a 10:24.64 time in the 3,000-meter race. Fellow sophomore Sydney Smith snagged her own top-10 finish with a 5:20.70 mile.  

In the pit, alongside Robin Armstrong, a senior, Bailey Conner, a freshman, represented the neophytes, looking nothing like a first-year in a promising effort. Conner finished 22nd in the shot put with a toss of 32’10.5” and 23rd in the weight throw with a heave of 35’6.” 

“We have a talented freshmen class who we expect to contribute to our success this season,” tri-captain Laura Peterson, a senior, said. “There are a lot of cross-country runners coming off a strong first season, [and] we have a stronger sprint group than we’ve had in the past three years, as well as a talented freshman pole vaulter [in] Keren Hendel.”

Armstrong, who finished two places behind Conner in the shot put, narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in the weight throw; her heave of 41’5” was just over two feet from 10th place. 

Fresh off one of its best cross-country seasons in recent memory, Tufts, the defending indoor Div. III New England champion, looks to maintain the title. It appears that they have gotten off to the ideal start, and are taking steps in the right direction. 

“Everybody who competed at Dartmouth looked strong, and we’re excited to see the rest of the team compete at our first home meet this weekend,” Kaufmann said. “We think it will be a great year for our team.”

Next up for Tufts is the first home meet of the season tomorrow, the Tufts Invite #1, at Ellis Oval, where the team will be looking to continue their championship defense.

“Obviously losing a strong group of throwers to graduation is difficult, but this freshman class shows promise in helping us continue to our success,” Peterson said. “We have a solid group of returning athletes who are looking better than they ever have.”

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