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

Women's Track and Field | Jumbos battle bad weather to place sixth at New Englands

Battling rough weather conditions, the women's track and field team placed sixth in the New England Div. III outdoor championships, held on May 6-7 at Bates. The Jumbos managed to secure some top finishes, but the difficulty of performing in the inclement weather took its toll.

Finishing with 45 points, the team fell to top-ranked Williams College by a wide margin. Williams finished first with 198 points scored. Out of the 29 teams participating, only eight finished with 40 points or more. Williams's dominance may be slightly exaggerated, as coach Kristen Morwick opted to not run athletes in certain events due to the weather and final exams.

"This past weekend we had probably a third of the team compete due to conflicts with finals," Morwick explained. "We really didn't have any great performances due to the weather and exams."

The weather certainly affected the team's performance. During the meet, the team was pelted with rain in cold temperatures and high winds. Due to the conditions, the running events were hand-timed.

The Jumbos' 4x800 meter relay, which won at the NESCAC Championship meet, did not run. The 4x400 squad, who also finished with a victory at NESCAC's, came in a disappointing twelfth out of thirteen teams. The 4x100 relay was able to secure fifth place, scoring points for the team in the process. Explaining the disappointing finishes of the relay teams, Morwick cites injury problems.

"We've had some key injuries this spring," Morwick said. "Jill Warner has been out with some bad migraines and was told she could not compete. Jill is one of our top sprinters, so it has really hurt our chances in the 4x100 and 4x400 for nationals. Laura Walls also has been hurt with shin splints. She is one of our top middle-to-long-distance runners. It's been a really tough spring in terms of injuries."

Sophomore Sarah Crispin had the strongest individual finish for the Jumbos in the running events. She ran the 800 in 2:19.40, which was good enough for fourth place. In the 200, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick continued the success she has had all season, finishing fifth in a time of 26.4.

Junior Rachel Bloom also managed to score points for the team, placing seventh in the 400 in a time of 60.0. Sophomore Kate Makai finished sixth in the 600 hurdles, clearing the course in 1:07.6. In the heptathlon, sophomore Margaret Clary grabbed fourth place.

The meet did not mark the end of the season. Several Jumbos competed in the All-New England Championships on May 13-14, which featured Div. I, II, and III competition. The team finished tied for eighteenth place.

Most recently, the Jumbos competed at the ECAC championships on May 19-20, but results were not available for press time. The team next competes at nationals on May 26-28 in Wartburg, Iowa.

Looking back on the season, the women's track team enjoyed limited success.

"We have had a really tough spring in terms of both weather and injuries," Morwick explained. "It has rained hard three weekends in a row. It is impossible to get good performances under those conditions, especially in the technical events. Up at Bates we had 50 mile-per-hour winds. It was a disaster. We are going to have to rely on the next two weekends to try and get some people into nationals."

Despite the difficulties, the Jumbos' record still boasts accomplishments. With a young team, they were able to finish in second place during the NESCAC championships. Furthermore, the Jumbos gained 11 spots on the All-NESCAC team for their competition at NESCAC's.

Bloom earned a spot for her second-place finish in the 100 and 200, as well as her participation on the 4x100 relay team. Freshman Catherine Beck and Crispin, who finished third and first in the 1,500, respectively, both received All-NESCAC honors and ran in the 4x800.

Sophomore Mackenzie Rawcliffe earned her spot by finishing third in the 100-meter hurdles. The entire 4x100 and 4x800 teams were honored with All-NESCAC recognition. The members included Fitzpatrick, sophomore Jess Mactas, Makai, senior tri-caption Katie Sheedy and freshman Anna Shih.