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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Women's Track & Field | Tufts places second at Div. III Championships

The Williams juggernaut may have prevailed again, but a solid showing from the women's track team earned the Jumbos second place for the third year in a row at the New England Div. III Championships, held Saturday at Smith College.

The Ephs took the meet with 212 points, with Tufts lagging behind in second with 125. Amherst finished third with 73 points.

"Williams is unbelievable and has a really talented team," senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy said. "They beat us by a fair amount of points, so there was not really a chance for us to catch them at any point in the meet. They have so much depth and some really talented athletes."

For Tufts, sophomore Raquel Morgan started the day off with a jolt, finishing second in the 5,000-meter run in 17:52.16. The time was fast enough to hit the provisional qualifying time for the NCAA Div. III Championships. Morgan stuck with the lead pack through much of the race, a pack that included Amherst All-American Carter Hamill, and then out-sprinted Colby's Karina Johnson at the end to take second.

"When you get to the big meets late in the season you don't really concentrate on time as much as place," Morgan said. "You use time to qualify, but once you're there it's all about place. [Assistant coach] Liz Brown was yelling out splits, but I didn't even really listen to the time, because I was trying to hang with the leaders and concentrate on beating them."

The 4x400-meter relay team of senior Claudia Clarke, junior Rachel Bloom and sophomores Kate Makai and Jill Warner provided its own excitement. Warner anchored the relay to first place in 4:07.43, beating Amherst by 0.20 seconds and Williams by 0.26 seconds. Freshmen Laura Walls, Anna Shih, and Katy O'Brien and Sheedy followed the 4x400 with a first place victory for the 4x800-meter relay, winning the event in 9:29.07, a new school record.

"It was an awesome finish to the day, and we were all really excited," Sheedy said. "Everyone contributed. There was not one athlete who dominated for us and scored most of our points. We all worked together which was great."

In the sprints, Warner and Bloom took third (26.49) and fifth (26.80), respectively, in the 200-meter dash. Bloom also took fourth in the 400-meter dash (1:00.43) and Makai took fifth in the 600-meter dash (1:40.61). In middle distance, Walls took third in the 800-meter run in 2:18.30 while in the 1,000-meter run sophomores Sarah Crispin, Sheedy and Shih took second (3:00.44), fourth (3:03.68) and sixth (3:06.47) respectively.

Like many Jumbos on Saturday, freshman Catherine Beck improved her own personal record in the 3,000-meter run, taking third in 10:12.43. Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe took fifth in the 55 hurdles (8.91). In the field, freshman Jenna Weir took third in the long jump (5.15 meters) and sixth in the triple jump (10.54m). Meanwhile, teammates and fellow freshmen Catherine Greenlee and Kaleigh Fitzpatrick took fourth (10.62) and fifth (10.55), respectively, also in the triple jump. The 4x200 relay team of Warner, Clarke, senior Ayako Sawanobori and freshman Joyce Uang also took fourth in 1:49.08.

The Jumbos showed considerable strength in the pentathlon. Rawcliffe used first place finishes in the 55-meter hurdles (9.03 seconds) and the long jump (4.96m) to score 3,066 points and earn second place overall. Junior Daniela Fairchild also placed well in the long jump (4.86m), taking third, as well as taking second in the high jump (1.53m) and third in the 800 (2:27.47). Her efforts scored 3,032 points and took fourth place in the pentathlon. The top four finishers in the pentathlon were separated by only 64 points. Teammate Maggie Clary took second in the 800 (2:27.09) and scored 2,897 points to take sixth in the pentathlon.

"I thought the team did an amazing job pulling together for this meet," Morgan said. "Yeah, we lost to Williams, but regardless I think everyone left Smith feeling pretty fulfilled, whether it was their last meet of the season, or just the end of the beginning. The team has a lot of young talent, which brings for an optimistic future. So, with that, Williams better watch their back, because we'll get them next year."