For a December track and field meet, this weekend's Husky Carnival at Northeastern was everything the women's team hoped it would be - a promising start and an indication of what the team still needs to work on before the season really gets going in January.
"Based on how the meet is run and the competition, it wasn't indicative of how good we are as a team," coach Kristen Morwick said. "We had a lot of people not competing, but the kids that did [compete] did pretty well. It was an eye opener for some people - it let them know what they need to work on fitness-wise."
The Jumbos were led by senior co-captain Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, senior Anna Shih and sophomore Logan Crane, all of whom posted top-10 finishes and qualified for ECAC Championships and New England Div. III Championships in the process.
Crane started things off, running the 55-meter dash in 7.51, good for ninth place. Fitzpatrick followed suit, taking seventh in the 200 meters with a clip of 26.31. The time was an indoor best for Fitzpatrick, who was the top Div. III finisher in the race.
Later on, Shih broke her personal record in the 3,000, clocking a 10:45.51. Shih was among the small group of distance runners to compete this weekend after switching over from a successful cross country season, as were junior Amy Hopkins and sophomore Erica Hylton, who also set a PR in the event.
"Everybody takes the transition a little differently," Shih said. "If you think your body needs some time off, people will cross-train and not race for a little while. It just depends on what level you're at and how much you feel like you want to do."
The 4x400 relay team also cracked the top 10, checking in at No. 9 in 4:06.31 as Morwick began exploring options for the squad. Freshman Andrea Caruth led off, followed by Crane, junior Jackie Ferry and Fitzpatrick.
"The 4x4 ran really well, especially throwing in a pretty inexperienced freshman in the leadoff leg," Morwick said. "[Caruth] told us after the relay that she'd never run the 400 indoors. They ran a pretty good time, so that was nice to see.
"We sort of had to piece it together at the end," Morwick continued. "We put Jackie in there on pretty short rest after her 800 - she hung on tough considering she had just run the 800 two events before. We'll have other people step in that didn't compete ... We're just missing a lot of people, so it's really hard to tell where we are."
Tufts' freshman sprinters also got their first looks at the track this weekend, with many running well in a successful debut. Among the top first-year finishers were Kanku Kabongo, who took 43rd in the 55 and 40th in the 200; Caruth, who, in addition to her performance in the 4x400, nailed down 16th in the open 400; and Laura Dinn, who was not far behind Caruth in the 400, finishing 25th.
"It was nice for our freshmen to get their first college race under their belts," Morwick said. "They clearly showed that they were freshmen - there was some good stuff and some bad stuff. But overall, I thought everyone's attitude was good."
The Jumbos also benefited from strong competition, as a number of Div. I schools were represented at the meet.
"It's always nice to have larger schools at meets with you," Shih said. "The increased competition will give you a better chance for a good performance, and it's nice to see how you do compared with Div. I."
But while the presence of Div. I schools gave the runners some valuable experience, the field event specialists suffered some adverse consequences due to the meet's size. Senior high jumper Joyce Uang, who placed 20th in a seven-way tie, was forced to wait long periods of time between jumps. For the throwers, only the first of the their three tosses were measured.
Still, the throwers managed to turn out impressive performances, with junior Paula Dormon leading the way for the shot putters in 17th place and senior Sarah Martin taking 11th in the weight throw.
The Jumbos will continue their strength and conditioning workouts and strive to maintain their fitness levels before winter break, focusing more on technique work when the team returns for Dartmouth Relays, which will take place Jan. 11-13.