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

Women's Track and Field | On new track, Jumbos have big day

The first annual Tufts Hillside Relays, held this weekend, marked the beginning of the regular season for the women's track and field team. It was also the Jumbos' first meet ever held on the newly resurfaced outdoor track. The Relays, an individual meet, served as a warm-up for the more team-oriented meets that will be held later in the season.

The Jumbos' strength in the short to middle distance events was on display as junior Rachel Bloom and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick finished first and second, respectively, in the 100 meter dash. The teammates were on each other's tails as Bloom finished in 12.67 seconds with Fitzpatrick right behind her at 12.70. The nearest competitor, Holy Cross junior Meghan Carrette, finished third at 12.95.

"Really, Kaleigh was my toughest competitor. She had a great start and got ahead of me. I had to work hard to catch up. It's great having her as my competition. It keeps me motivated to do well," Bloom said.

Bloom also finished first in the 200m dash in a time of 26.54, an impressive three tenths of a second ahead of the next competitor.

Taking top honors in the middle distance 800m event was sophomore Sarah Crispin, with senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy capturing second place. Sophomore Kate Makai also had a strong showing, finishing fourth.

The Jumbos had some difficulty placing in the long distance events. The team failed to place a runner in the top three in either the 1500, the 5000 or the 10,000m.

In the 5K, sophomore Jennifer Torpey finished fourth (19:10.40) and in the 10K sophomores Raquel Morgan and Julia Goldberg finished fourth (39:59.00) and fifth (43:56.50), respectively. In the 300m steeplechase, freshman Katy O'Brien finished second (11:45.66) and freshman Catherine Beck finished fourth (11:52.16). It was a new event for both runners.

Torpey, who set a personal record in the 5K on Saturday, had only good things to say regarding the long distance races.

"I think the distance runners had a good day," Torpey said. "We had some freshman trying new events like the steeplechase. There was a lot of excellent competition."

"It is really good to have that many people to run against," she added, referring to the 27 runners who came out for the 5K.

The Jumbos enjoyed success in other events. Fitzpatrick displayed her versatility, grabbing first place in the triple jump.

"Kaleigh really makes a huge impact in the jumps," Bloom said. "She is definitely one of the top competitors we have."

In the field, freshman Jenna Weir took first place in the long jump with a distance of 5.11m while freshman Ashley Lowe finished third with a distance of 4.78m.

In the throwing events, the women were able to edge out their competitors, finishing strongly in several events.

Senior throwers Katie Antle and Jessica Gauthier finished first and third in the discus with distances of 35.32 and 33.63, respectively. In the shot put, Gauthier managed a second-place finish with a distance of 10.85m, behind All American Kelly Godsey from Bates who threw an impressive 12.52.

In the relay events the 4x400 team placed second to the Greater Boston Track club in a time of 44.36. The relay team consisted of different runners than the team the Jumbos sent to Nationals at the conclusion of the indoor season. Bloom was the only returning member as junior Jillian Warner was unable to compete and senior Claudia Clarke opted out of track in the spring. Fitzpatrick did not run in the relay due to her involvement with other events. Replacing these three were Crispin, Makai and Sheedy. Both Crispin and Sheedy also qualified for indoor Nationals in the 800m and the DMR, respectively.

Bloom anchored the relay and took the handoff trailing Jane Farrell, a junior from Brandeis, by about 15 meters. Bloom gradually made up ground and overtook Farrell in the final 200 meters of the race to give Tufts second.

The 4x100 relay team finished first in a time of 50.31, just edging out Holy Cross, their nearest competitor, by six tenths of a second.

Overall, the team enjoyed its success in the first meet of the season.

"I think everyone ran well," Bloom said. "The weather was a huge factor in our success. Also, it was great to have a home meet. The support that we get from our fans really helps us get motivated."

"It was our first home meet in five years and the new track makes all the difference," Torpey said. "I think everyone ran a great race because of it."