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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Women's Track and Field | Individuals shine through cloudy day; O'Brien, Beck qualify again

While most Tufts students were indoors during the unseasonably cold weather last Saturday, the women's track team was heating up at the Tufts Hillsides Relays.

With temperatures below 40 degrees, the women had to move fast just to stay warm, and the team responded with many individual performances that overshadowed the cold weather.

Sophomores Catherine Beck and Katy O'Brien, who provisionally qualified for Nationals last weekend in the 1,500 meters and 800, respectively, added a second event to their postseason qualifications.

Beck won the 800 on Saturday, moving into the lead on the second lap of the race to cruise to a blazing 2:14.26, cutting her personal best by two seconds and qualifying provisionally for Nationals. O'Brien took third in the 3,000 steeplechase in 11:20.40, setting a new personal best, qualifying for All-New Englands, and missing the provisional mark for Nationals by less than a second. O'Brien also qualified for ECACs in the 400 hurdles, finishing third (1:08.91).

Senior tri-captain Becca Ades improved 17 seconds from last weekend in the steeplechase, taking second place in 11:13.28, and provisionally qualifying for Nationals.

"I think I'm at a really good starting point," Ades said. "I'm going to take a few weeks off from the steeple[chase] now, and when I come back to it, I'd like to go under 11:00."

Ades, who competed at Nationals in the steeplechase as a sophomore, understands the training that goes into qualifying for the event.

"It's nice to be on the list this early," Ades said. "In the end, though, you really have to hit a time that will go, so it's not like I can rest now. I still have a lot of work left to do."

The 800 and the 3,000 steeplechase both showcased the Jumbos at their finest on Saturday. Senior tri-captain Rachel Bloom, who has spent her Tufts career as one of the team's top runners in the short sprints, not only competed in the 800, but also qualified for ECACs with her fifth-place, 2:18.38 finish. Bloom and freshman Jackie Ferry, two of the four members of Tufts' formidable 4x400 meter relay, ran in the 800 this weekend to build strength training early in the season.

"I thought they did awesome," said sophomore Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, another member of the 4x400 meter relay. "That's a really tough race to run. They're both such tough runners. I feel like you can put them in any event and they'll succeed."

In the steeplechase, Ades and O'Brien were joined by freshmen Evelyn Sharkey, Susan Allegretti, and Kate Charyk. Sharkey's fourth-place finish in 11:50.53 qualified her for ECACs while both Allegretti (seventh, 12:13.00) and Charyk (eighth, 12:43.31) qualified for Div. IIIs. Charyk cut more than a minute off her time from last weekend.

Fitzpatrick led the sprinters with a third-place finish in the 200 meters (27.30). Freshman Halsey Stebbins took eighth in the event (27.92) while freshman Aubrey Wasser finished eleventh in the 400 meters (1:03.61). The 4x100 relay team of sophomore Erica Steinitz, Bloom, freshman Halsey Stebbins and Fitzpatrick finished fourth in 51.75 as coach Kristen Morwick continues to experiment with finding the right combination for a successful team.

"[Coach] is testing people out in the 100 and trying to see where people fit in with the handoffs and starting and anchoring," Fitzpatrick said. "Maybe next weekend we can put a solid team together and stick with it. I think we can do well and we have a lot of fast girls."

Freshman Katrine Dermody set a personal best in the pole vault on Saturday by clearing 9-05.25 and qualifying for Div. IIIs.

Senior tri-captain Megan Sears and junior Maggie Clary both spent Friday afternoon competing in the heptathlon. Sears' 3,667 points, just 433 points away from a National qualification, gave her second place and qualified her for ECACs. Clary was right behind and qualified for Div. IIIs with her third-place 3,385 points.

Sophomore Jenna Weir and Fitzpatrick represented Tufts in the long jump, taking ninth (15-11.50) and 10th (15-09.50), respectively. Weir also jumped 34-03 in the triple jump for fifth place. The two jumpers are still both getting used to the switch to outdoors, especially in the sub-40-degree weather.

"Sometimes the conditions are bad," Fitzpatrick said. "You have to get used to them after being indoors all season. Jenna and I are working on them and hoping to get our marks back up there."

Also in the field, sophomore Joyce Uang took second in the high jump with a jump of 5'01.75. Freshman Paula Dormon hit 38'02.25 in the shot put for second place and sophomore Sarah Martin finished ninth in the hammer (125-08). Sophomore Cecilia Allende and freshman Emily Bless finished eighth and ninth in the javelin, respectively, with throws of 96-06 and 95-07.

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