The regular season for the women's track and field team came to a close this Saturday at the Dartmouth Invitational, and the Jumbos turned out solid showings from Tufts' throwers and short-to-middle range runners. The NESCAC championships will be held this Saturday at Colby and mark the beginning of the championship season.
With a large number of freshmen on the team this year, the goal for the regular season was finding a place for the new team members, and heading into the postseason, some underclassmen have done just that.
Freshman Kaitlyn O'Brien finished first at Dartmouth with a time of 11:23.60 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the, coming in a full 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and 22 seconds ahead of her time in the same event at the first meet of the year. The steeplechase, in which runners traverse a track littered with hurdles and a moat of water, tests endurance as runners must maintain their speed over a long distance while navigating obstacles.
"The steeplechase is seven and three quarter laps with four barriers and the water pit to jump each lap." O'Brien said. "This was only my second time doing it. It's not a common event in many high schools."
"It's a funny sight to see sometimes," junior Rachel Bloom said. "It is a long race, so at the end everyone is tired and some people end up falling into the water."
Overall, the Jumbos dominated the event with sophomore Raquel Morgan adding to O'Brien's win with a third-place finish (12:09.17) and senior Liz Bloomhardt coming in fifth (13:38.88).
In the throwing events, the Jumbos finished in the middle of the pack. Senior Jessica Gauthier took fifth, classmate Jess Colby took sixth, and senior Katie Antle tied with freshman Sarah Martin for seventh. The hammer throw yielded similar results, as Martin finishing third with a throw of 138'10", and Colby and Gauthier came in fifth and sixth, with distances of 133'2" and 131'4" respectively.
In the discus, Antle placed sixth with a throw of 108'9." Freshman Cecilia Allende threw the javelin 91'2", good for ninth against tough competition from Dartmouth.
In the short-to-middle distances, which have been the team's strength this year, the Jumbos again pulled off some high finishes. Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick had the highest finish with third place in the 200 meter run. Junior Ayako Sawanobori had a strong showing in the same event, placing sixth with a time of 27.51.
Rachel Bloom led the Jumbos in the 400 meter run with a fourth place finish at 1:00.12, about half a second from the lead runner. In the 800 meter run, sophomore Sarah Crispin took fifth place and senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy finished seventh with times of 2:19.87 and 2:22.11, respectively. Rounding out the middle distance, freshman Catherine Beck ran well in the 1,500 meter run with a fourth place finish of 4:42.11.
Sophomore MacKenzie Rawcliffe led all Tuft's jumpers with a second-place finish in the triple jump. Amy Roccio of the University of New Hampshire won the event. Sophomore Sade Campbell and senior Sika Henry finished third and fifth in the high jump with leaps of 5'4" and 5'2", respectively.
Looking ahead to the NESCAC Championships this weekend, the team will try to send as many people through to the next round as possible, including the 4x400 relay team, which placed sixth during the indoor nationals and earned the runners' All-American recognition. However, missing from that team is anchor runner senior Claudia Clarke who opted out of track this spring due to other obligations. Sarah Crispin earned All-American status individually during the winter finishing eighth in the 800.
However, with a young talented freshmen class the Jumbos hope to continue their regular season success this weekend.
"People have been doing really well during the last few meets and hopefully that will continue in the NESCAC championship." O'Brien said. "I'm looking forward to it. It is going to be some tough competition. I just hope I can perform well."