Three school records fell on Saturday as the Jumbos brought home second place at the NESCAC Championships for the fifth straight year.
The team finished behind Williams in exciting fashion, beating out Middlebury by four and a half points with a win in the 4x800 meter relay. The team scored 130.5 points during Saturday's meet at Bowdoin, with the relay setting a new school record to cap off an exciting weekend of racing for the team.
The relay team of juniors Sarah Crispin and Kate Makai and sophomores Katy O'Brien and Catherine Beck set a new Tufts best in the 4x800, running 9:20.24 and breaking the previous record of 9:21.2, set in 2000.
"We knew we had to win [the race] or at least beat Middlebury substantially," Beck said. "We were all just running scared in that race, trying to put as much distance between us and them."
Beck also won the 1,500 meter at NESCACs, setting a new personal best by four seconds with a time of 4:35.4 and beating the next closest competitor, Williams sophomore Lissy Robie, by six seconds. Though hand-timed, rather than automatically timed, the finish is 0.4 seconds better than the existing record of 4:35.8, set in 2000. Junior Sarah Crispin qualified for All-New England's with her third-place finish in the event, running 4:42.3.
Senior tri-captain Becca Ades set a new school record in the 3,000 steeplechase on Saturday with her second-place finish. Ades out-sprinted Colby sophomore Anna King on the final straightaway for a time of 10:52.5, breaking her own school record of 10:53.9 which she set as a sophomore.
The time is a new personal best for Ades and improves her standing for Nationals qualification by 21 seconds, putting her close to the top of the performance list.
"I wasn't expecting to run that fast," Ades said. "I was just trying to get a good place for the team. It should be good enough to get me to Nationals, but you never know."
Beck and Ades combined for just two of the many great performances at the meet. O'Brien won the 800 meters with a time of 2:14.65 to improve her provisional qualifying mark by 0.7 seconds. Despite an illness earlier in the week, O'Brien scored ten points for the team, overtaking Middlebury senior Beth Butler in the final stretch for the win.
"It looked like she was down for the count with 200 to go and then put on a burst and blew by the Middlebury girl in the last 50 meters," Tufts coach Kristen Morwick said.
Sophomore Kaleigh Fitzpatrick scored 20.5 points by herself on Saturday with performances in the long and triple jumps and in the 100 and 200 meters. She took fifth in the 100 and, running the 200 out of the slower heat, was still able to tie teammate senior tri-captain Rachel Bloom for fourth place with a time of 26.74. In the jumps, Fitzpatrick hit 17'02.25" in the long jump for second place and 34'08.5" in the triple for fifth place.
Morwick suggested she forego her final jump in the long jump to save energy for other events, but Fitzpatrick decided to compete, and hit her second-place mark.
"We've asked a lot of her in the past two team championships [this one and Div. III's during indoors] and she is so willing and such a competitor," Morwick said. "She's just tough as nails and wants to win, and it was such a boost to the team."
Sophomore Jenna Weir, who has been battling a knee injury all season long, joined Fitzpatrick with fifth place in the long (16'08") and eighth place in the triple jump (34'01.25") for five points.
The Jumbos stacked many of their top sprinters in the 200 meters on Saturday. In addition to Bloom and Fitzpatrick, freshmen Aubrey Wasser and Halsey Stebbins took sixth (26.92) and eighth place (27.05) respectively to score four important points.
"It's great to have the freshmen contribute and so great for Halsey and Aubrey, who have been fighting injuries since indoors," Morwick said.
Bloom was joined in the 400 by sophomore Joyce Uang and freshman Jackie Ferry, with all three scoring. Bloom took second place in 59.55, Uang finished in sixth (1:01.31) and Ferry came in seventh (1:01.43). Bloom, Uang, and Wasser also brought in six points with sophomore Erica Steinitz by taking third in the 4x100 meter relay, running 50.54. Bloom, Uang, Wasser, and Ferry also teamed up for the 4x400 meter relay to take second in 3:59.35.
Three other Jumbos took advantage of their last chance to qualify for All-New England's on Saturday. Senior Arielle Aaronson took sixth in the 5,000 meters in 18:22.21 and freshman Katie Rizzolo hit 39:57.62 in the 10,000 meters, taking 11th place. Freshman Kathleen Rutecki improved her personal best in the 400 hurdles by 2.5 seconds, running 1:06.29 and scoring six crucial points by taking third.
"It's so great to see a kid who had to do a million events in high school because she's a good athlete, but never was able to be great in anything because she was spread too thin to come to college with less demands on her," Morwick said. "[Rutecki] has really been able to flourish. Her race was key to our team success."
Junior Maggie Clary also took sixth in the event in 1:07.67, setting a new personal best and joining Rutecki in the point-scoring with three of her own.
Sophomore Cecilia Allende took sixth in the javelin with a personal best mark of 113'05", while freshman Paula Dormon barely missed the All-New England's qualifying mark in the shot put on Saturday with her fourth-place finish and personal best of 40'00.5". Dormon was angrier about losing to two Ephs, Williams senior Kathleen Krause and junior Abelee Esparaza, than she was satisfied with the throw.
"She throws a [personal best], but is pissed that the Williams kids beat her - and that's what makes good athletes great: never being satisfied and wanting more," Morwick said. "We have a lot of kids on our team and many of the freshmen with that attitude. It's nice to see it in the younger kids and bodes well for our future."