Women’s Track and Field | At Nationals, strong finish for Jumbos
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 01:03
Four members of the Tufts women’s indoor track and field team traveled to North Central College in Naperville, Ill. this weekend for the NCAA Div. III National Championship meet, where they finished in 43rd.
Junior Jana Hieber, senior Kelly Allen, senior Ronke Oyekunle and senior Sabienne Brutus represented the university. Hieber competed in the Pentathlon, while Allen and Oyekunle competed in both the shot put and weight throw and Brutus competed in the weight throw.
At Nationals, team scoring is not the main focus, with far more emphasis placed on individual performance. This meant the athletes made certain to focus on their preparation for this meet and on performing up to their potential.
“The four of us that did qualify went out there and did our best for ourselves, for the team and for the school” Brutus said.
Coming into the meet, Oyekunle said, training was done and all that there was left to do was to achieve a positive and competitive mindset.
“In terms of preparing for Friday and Saturday, it was all about getting into a competitive state of mind” said Oyekunle.
For Brutus, the key was to not be intimidated by the big stage.
“It’s all about treating it like a regular meet” she said. “Putting too much pressure on yourself messes up your performance.”
Hieber, in her third appearance at the Indoor National meet, took eighth place in the Pentathlon with 3353 points, earning an All-American title for the third time in her career. Her highest finish among the five events was in the 800-meter run, which she won with a time of 2:19.92, earning her 825 points.
Oyekunle finished in 11th place in the weight throw with a distance of 53 feet 9 1/4 inches, and eighth place in the shot put with a throw of 45 feet 1 inch, a personal record toss that also gave her All-American honors to make up for a disappointing performance on day one.
“My performance on Friday in the weight throw was not good enough to get me into finals, and I was very disappointed” said Oyekunle. “On Saturday, I notched a personal record in the shot put. Although I know I could have performed better, I was happy that I was able to receive my first All-American award.”
Brutus placed seventh in weight throw with a distance of 56 feet 1 3/4 inches, also taking home All-American honors despite competing for the entire season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“I had been working towards the All-American title for a long time” she said. “Competing with a torn ACL has not allowed me to take the sport for granted and to give it my all every time I compete.”
And even just after a throw that brought her near the top of the sport, Brutus has already turned her mind away from this weekend to avoid complacency in her training.
“Although I want to enjoy this moment, I know that today’s moment is tomorrow’s history” she said. “I’m already working towards outdoor [season] right now because there are things that need to be done. More work needs to be done.”
Allen, who has been a high scorer for the team all season, placed 10th in the weight throw with a distance of 55 feet 3/4 inches, and 12th in shot put, with a throw of 43 feet 9 1/4 inches to finish out a strong indoor season with yet another All-American showing.
With Nationals in the books, Hieber, Allen, Brutus and Oyekunle can now turn their attention to the outdoor season, where they will look to repeat their All-American performances.