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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Women's Track and Field | Relays hit stride, qualify for nationals at St. Valentine's Day Invite

For the second straight season, Valentine's Day was good to the women's track and field team.

Once again, Tufts used the St. Valentine's Day Invitational at Boston University on Friday to qualify two of its relays and several individuals for the NCAA Championships.

The team also sent members to MIT for a non-scoring meet in order to drop some times in preparation for the Div. III New England Championships next weekend.

Saturday's meet at MIT showcased the throwers. Freshman Paula Dorman continued her strong season, winning the shot put and once again setting a personal record with a 39'01.25" throw.

Dorman has added more than eight feet since the first meet of the season and has given the Jumbos another scoring threat, joining sophomore Sarah Martin in the throws.

"Paula continues to improve and is ready to do damage this weekend," coach Kristen Morwick said. "She is very explosive and is a real competitor. She will hit 40' by the end of indoor."

Martin threw 42'05" in the weight throw, taking fifth, and will head into Div. III's this weekend seeded 10th in the event. Dorman is seeded sixth in the shot put.

Senior Daniela Fairchild took fourth in the 800 meters (2:29.37) as she prepares for the pentathlon this weekend, along with senior Megan Sears, junior Maggie Clary, and freshman Kathleen Rutecki. Sears, who set a personal record in the shot put this weekend with a throw of 31'04.5" on Saturday, is the highest seed of the Tufts pentathlon competitors at No. 8.

Freshman Katie Rizzolo became the seventh Jumbo to qualify for Div. III's in the 3,000 meter run, taking second in the event in 11:00.51 after missing over a month due to an injury. Junior Jenny Torpey, who is already qualified, took fourth in 11:10.54.

Friday's meet at BU was the first time this season that the Jumbos put their top relays on display, as the distance medley relay and the 4x400 meter relay both hit their stride, qualifying provisionally for Nationals.

The 4x400 team of senior Rachel Bloom, sophomore Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, and freshmen Aubrey Wasser and Jackie Ferry took third in its Div. I- and Div. II-stocked heat with 3:57.42, posting the thirteenth-fastest time of the day and beating out Dartmouth, Brown, and Delaware.

"We can get a lot more out of them," Morwick said. "Everyone had run an open event before the relay and [the time] puts us eighth in the nation and is the fourth-fastest in Tufts history."

Wasser led off the race in 1:00.50, followed by Ferry in 58.70. Fitzpatrick took the baton for the third leg and turned in the fastest segment of the relay in 58.6, and Bloom ran the anchor leg in 59.3.

Bloom and Fitzpatrick were both members of last season's 4x400 relay, which took sixth at the NCAA Championships last season and earned them All-American honors. This year's team cut three seconds off last season's All-American team's time.

With a fourth-place finish, the DMR team of junior Sarah Crispin and sophomores Laura Walls, Katy O'Brien, and Joyce Uang also qualified for Nationals with a time of 12:03.15.

O'Brien led off the 1200 meter leg in 3:36, followed by Uang in the 400, who set a new personal best by almost two seconds with a 59.7 time. Crispin handled the 800 leg in 2:19, and handed off to Walls for the mile. Walls ran her fastest time of the season in the mile with a time of 5:06.9 as the Jumbos came in ahead of Northeastern, UMass, and Providence.

"Those relays are good for now," Morwick said. "We'll just see what the next two weeks bring. But we are certainly ahead of where we were last year at this time."

Senior tri-captain Becca Ades could be headed to the NCAA Championships as well, as she set a new personal record of 17:36.32 in the 5,000 meters, improving her previous best by 45 seconds and easily beating the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 17:55.

"I was second-to-last [through] the mile," Ades said. "I ran a really evenly-paced race. I think people were slowing down and I just kept the pace. Since I didn't go out as hard, I had a little more left."

Ades currently holds the twelfth-fastest time in the country, and if she qualifies, could join sophomore Catherine Beck in the event at Nationals.

"There are still three weeks where people can run really good times," Ades said. "I probably have to run faster to go or just get lucky."

Not to be overlooked on Friday were the performances of freshmen Evelyn Sharkey and Susan Allegretti in the 1,000 meters. Sharkey qualified for All-New England's with her time of 3:03.90 and Allegretti wasn't far behind in 3:05.81.

Awaiting the Jumbos at the New England Div. III Championships is Williams, who has owned the title for the last three years and is very strong and deep this season, as usual.