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

Women's Track | Freshmen runners on track to excellence

Despite fierce competition from top rival Williams and a poorly administered meet, the Jumbos were strong in several events at the George Davis Invitational, held last weekend at UMass-Lowell. The meet is second on the women's track and field team's 2005 outdoor schedule.

Tufts freshman excelled in the 800 meter run, placing three runners in the top ten. After finishing second in the 3000 meter steeplechase last weekend, freshman Katy O'Brien moved to the 800, finishing first with a time of 2:18.31, almost four seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Freshman Anna Shih finished sixth with a time of 2:27.88 with her classmate Marisa Mann a couple seconds behind her at 2:29.15. Feshman Sarah Kalil finished nineteenth in a time of 2:40.85.

In the 200 meter dash, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick ran well for the second week in a row, earning the fourth spot in a time of 26.52. In the triple jump, Fitzpatrick also finished fourth behind a commanding set of Williams jumpers.

Coming off a first place finish in both the 100 and the 200 in last week's meet, junior Rachel Bloom entered the 400 against tough competition. Finishing second in a time of 59.09, Bloom placed behind Josette Pierre-Louis of UMass Lowell, who put up an impressive time of 56.78.

In the middle to long-distance events, the Jumbos achieved some notable success. Sophomore Sarah Crispin finished third in the 1500 meter run in a time of 4:49.45, about nine seconds behind the leader, Shauneed Garrahan of Amherst. Senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy finished sixth at 4:50.00.

In the 5000 meter run, freshman Catherine Beck gave a solid performance, finishing third in a time of 18:22.72. Senior tri-captain Emily Pfeil also did well, placing seventh in a time of 18:33.56.

"The 1500 was a little slow. A slow pace was set early, which can bring times down for the entire group," Sheedy said. "It's easier to set better times when the pace is set faster."

Rounding out the running events, the 4x100 meter "A" relay team finished second in a time of 50.39. The team, consisting of sophomore Jessican Mactas, senior Ayako Sawanobori, sophomore Rachel Bloom and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, was less than a second behind the Williams team that posted a time of 49.98.

The 4x100 "B" team finished a solid seventh. Freshmen Katie Barksdale, Julie McKay and Joyce Uang and sophomore Meredith Dobbs completed the relay in a time of 54.09, a half a second behind the Keene State A squad.

In the 4x400 meter relay, the Tufts women placed fifth with a time of 4:14.52. The A team included juniors Kate Makai, Maggie Clary and freshmen Marisa Mann and Katie O'Brien.

In throwing events, the Jumbos continued to do well. Tufts throwers took fifth and sixth in the discus behind the arms of seniors Katie Antle and Jessica Gauthier. Antle threw a distance of 116 feet and Gauthier tossed 113. Gauthier also finished fifth in the shot put, firing 38 feet. In the javelin throw Cecilia Allende placed fifth with a throw of 99 feet.

Some Tufts runners complained about the meet was run.

"The meet ran late into the night, there was a lot of waiting around." Sheedy said. "Still, we were able to perform well regardless. It was a solid showing all around."

Although Coach Morwick was unable to attend the meet due to surgery after an ACL tear, she has been pleased with the progress the team has made so far.

"Sometimes the kids go into a slump after the indoor season and find it hard to get back up for outdoor," she said. "But things are looking pretty good right now. I think we are well-rounded, which is certainly a strength."

As far as the freshman's success goes, Morwick is excited yet cautious.

"It has been a long year for our freshman and we're hoping they can hang on into the championship season," she said.

With only one meet until the championship meets begin, there is already a lot of pressure on the team.

"The championship meets are just one meet away." Sheedy said. "It is hard to get our times up in the few meets before the real pressure is on. In general, we did pretty well this week, nothing outstanding, but still a solid performance."