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Women's Track and Field | Jumbos capture Div. III New England Crown

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 08:02


Sofia Adams / The Tufts Daily

The Jumbos pulled out a narrow victory on the weekend as they took the Div. III New England Championships in dramatic fashion.

The Tufts women’s track and field team won the New England Div. III Indoor Championship on Saturday for the second time in its 24−year history, and for the first time since 2008.

In the win, the Jumbos recorded 116 points to best the field of 23 teams, edging second place MIT by a mere seven points.

After a frustrating showing at last year’s meet in which they finished fourth, the Jumbos were out for some redemption. They got it this year, in the form of 12 top−5 finishes—an impressive performance across the board.

“We had been waiting for this moment for a long time,” thrower Sabienne Brutus, a senior, said.

The meet started with a bang on Friday night in the pentathlon.

Junior Jana Hieber won the event with 3,287 points, kickstarting the weekend for the team before Saturday’s events began.

As usual, Saturday was dominated by Tufts’ throwers.

Senior Kelly Allen took first−place in both shot put and weight throw, scoring a team−high 20 points in the two events. Her throw of 45 feet one inch in the shot put was a personal record.

“Saturday was great for me” Allen said. “I went into the meet knowing that I needed to score as many points as I could for the team, because every point counts.”

Senior Ronke Oyekunle placed second in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet 5 ¼ inches, earning eight points for the team, while Sophomore Grace Demyan placed seventh with a throw of 40 feet 8 ¾ inches for an additional two points.

“The performance by Kelly, Ronke and Grace in the shot put was stellar,” Brutus said.

Brutus herself placed second in the weight throw with a throw of 54 feet 8 ¾ inches, finishing only behind Allen’s throw of 55 feet 1 ½ inches for a total of 18 points for the Jumbos.

“My performance this past weekend was a significant improvement from past years’,” Brutus said. “I was happy to be able to contribute to our win.”

Tufts’ best showing on the track came in the 600 meter run, where senior Sam Bissonnette placed second in 1:37.49, and sophomore Lauren Gormer finished right behind her, placing third with a time of 1:37.99.

The Jumbos also had two scorers in the 1000−meter run. Junior Laura Peterson took second with a time of 2:59.41, and freshman Hanako Shigenobu finished sixth, crossing the line in 3:02.56.

Two other promising freshmen also made important contributions for the team on the track. Marilyn Allen placed second in the 55−meter hurdles with a time of 8.44 seconds, and Audrey Gould finished fifth in the 5000, crossing in 17:32.56. Gould’s time ranks in the top 20 in the nation.

The final race was the decisive event after a full weekend of competition. With MIT leading the Jumbos by just one point, Tufts needed to finish ahead of the Engineers in the 4 x 800 meter relay to take the championship. MIT took an early lead but was then disqualified on a baton pass, allowing the Jumbos to finish second in that race with a time of 9:33.81 and earn eights points to seize the day from MIT.

With such an impressive performance, the Jumbos will be looking to continue to put impressive performances in the coming weeks, beginning with the All−New England Championship at Boston University next weekend.

“Winning [the Div. III Championship] definitely will help bring us into the end of indoor season and into the outdoor season as a strong, united team, going after a NESCAC title” Allen said.

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