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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Women's Track | Jumbos crush rivals to win Tufts Invitational

Freshmen Catherine Beck, Katy O'Brien, and Laura Walls know what it's like to run together. They've been doing it for five months now and they're getting pretty good at it.

In the open mile, the classmates traded off the lead with O'Brien in front on the first few laps and Walls taking over halfway through the eight-lap race. The teamwork helped the girls take second, third, and fifth in the event. O'Brien led the trio in 5:12.75, barely out-kicking Beck (5:12.98) on the final stretch, with Walls coming in at 5:15.30. All three qualified for the ECAC Championships.

Beck cited the teamwork in the Jumbos' success.

"It's awesome to have teammates around because you all work together," she said.

The strong Tufts performance in the mile was just one notch on a great day for the Jumbos at the second Tufts Invitational of the season, held at the Gantcher Center on Saturday. Tufts demolished the competition, scoring 227.5 points and finishing first among thirteen teams. The closet scoring team was Keene State College with 92 points.

In the sprints, junior Rachel Bloom led the Jumbos, taking first in the 200 meter dash (26.81) and third in the 55 (7.63). Bloom's two top-three finishes on Saturday followed a strong performance last week when she took first in the 400.

"I have placed well in the last two meets," Bloom said. "However, it is still early in the season, so my times are not where I would like them yet."

Despite her modesty, Bloom qualified for the New England Div. III Championships in the 55, and has already qualified for ECACs in the 200 and the 400 with her 1:00.04 finish last week.

Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick took second in the 200, finishing right behind Bloom at 27.01. Despite fouling in the triple jump, Fitzpatrick had a solid day in the field, and her 5.26 meter long jump was enough to nab first place and qualify her for ECACs. Fitzpatrick has performed well all season for the Jumbos, placing well in the 55 and the triple jump despite coming off a foot injury in the fall and resting an injured hamstring this past week.

"It's really a credit to Coach [Kristen] Morwick and the girls on the team who have been working with me since this past summer," Fitzpatrick said of her success.

Morwick looks ahead to the freshman returning at full strength.

"As she gets healthier, she will be a major impact in the sprints and jumps," she said.

Morwick has been impressed by the performances of this year's freshman class. Last week, Beck, O'Brien, Walls, and Anna Shih broke the school record in the 4x800 relay.

The freshmen were equally strong this week as Jenna Weir took first in the triple jump (10.45m), Shih took fourth in the 500 (1:24.16), and Walls (2:21.36) and Marisa Mann (2:26.24) took second and fourth respectively in the 800, with sophomore teammate Kate Makai taking third in 2:24.12.

"We had a great recruiting class that has been able to make an immediate impact," Morwick said.

Freshmen weren't the only team members having a good day for the Jumbos. Sophomore Sarah Crispin (3:03.69) and senior Katie Sheedy (3:04.64) finished second and third respectively in the 1,000. Junior Daniela Fairchild (3rd-1:23.34) and sophomores Sade Campbell (5th-1:25.20) and Maggie Clary (6th-1:25.60) joined Shih to lead Tufts in the 500.

Sophomore Jillian Warner (1:00.95) took first in the 400, followed by senior Claudia Clarke in third (1:01.74). Senior Ayako Sawanobori finished eighth in the 55 (7.86) and fourth in the 200 (28.44) and freshman Joyce Uang took sixth in the 200 (28.61). Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe also took third in the 55 meter hurdles (9.17).

In the field events, freshman Marissa Pierce and sophomore Caroline Chow both cleared 2.30 meters in the pole vault to take second and third, despite both jumpers competing in the event for the first time. Senior Jessica Colby took second in both the shot put (10.93m) and the weight throw (12.76) and senior Katie Antle took third in the shot put (10.68m).

"Overall, I'm pleased with all the performances this weekend, especially given how early in the season it is," Morwick said. "In terms of our progress, we are ahead of where we were this time last year, which is encouraging, but we also have some people just starting to get into it. We return a few people from abroad and some others from injury or other sports, so we look to be even stronger over the next few weeks."