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Women's Track and Field | Jumbos impress at home in regular season finale

Div. III Championships fast approaching

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 01:02

For the second straight weekend the Jumbos competed at home in the friendly confines of the Gantcher Center, this time hosting 14 schools from all over New England for the Tufts Cupid Challenge.

The meet, twice rescheduled due to Winter Storm Nemo, took place on Monday night.

“This past weekend really tested us all on how well we can cope with situations that are out of our control” junior Laura Peterson said.

“There are always things we can’t control about our meets: From the time of our events, to our competition, to the location of the meet. I think we all handled the change well, though,” she said. “We came into the meet with the right mindset.”

With the New England Div. III Championships less than a week away, there was no team scoring at the meet, meaning the focus was solely on individual performances, giving those who had not achieved the qualification requirements one last chance. Some athletes that have already qualified for the Championships did not compete, but still found ways to be a positive influence for the team.

“Girls who didn’t compete did a fantastic job of supporting teammates and helping to keep the meet running smoothly,” Peterson said.

The Jumbos who did compete Monday night had nine top−three finishes among the 17 events they competed in, including four event wins.

The most successful event of the night for the Jumbos was the 3000−meter dash. Sophomore Meghan Gillis, freshman Alexandra Kiesling, sophomore Caroline Kimball−Katz and freshman Michelle de Mars took the top 4 spots, dominating the rest of the field with times of 10:48, 10:55, 10:56 and 10:59, respectively.

“Personally, it was a four second [personal record], and I’m pleased with how I did” Gillis said. “I feel like having the meet at home always gives us a confidence that helps us perform better and more like a team. I felt so much support last night during the race because I could hear our team cheering the entire time.”

The three other first−place finishes for the Jumbos came in field events, where they enjoyed their usual success even with the absence of senior standout thrower Sabienne Brutus.

Freshman Emily Smithwick placed first in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 10 feet 11 3/4 inches, while classmate Julia Rogers, a sophomore, placed fourth in the event with a vault of 9 feet and one fourth of an inch. Senior Ronke Oyekunle won the weight throw with a distance of 52 feet 10 and three−fourths inches, and followed that up with a win in shot put, with a throw of 42 feet 2 inches.

On the track, senior Samantha Bissonnette ran an impressive race in the 400−meter dash, placing second with a time of 1:00.17. Sophomore Lauren Gormer secured a second place finish in the 600 with a time of 1:39.66. And in the distance events, senior Toby Crispin crossed the finish line in a season−best time of 5:06.61 in the mile.

With the regular season at its end, these next few days leading up to championship season are vital for those that will be competing further.

The New England Div. III Championships will take place at the University of Southern Maine on Feb. 15 and 16. Tufts finished fourth out of 22 teams last year and would like to improve upon that by taking home a victory this year.

“This week leading into championships, we have to really focus on everything we do off the track,” Peterson said. “Our fitness is where it is at this point, so sleeping enough and eating right are all we can really control.”

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