The energy was high as the women's track and field team's regular season came to an end on Saturday in the Gantcher Center. The Tufts Invitational III marked the last meet for the Jumbos before postseason, and for the seniors, it was their final indoor meet at home.
The event was non-scoring in order to take some pressure off and let the women rest before the intense postseason schedule. Still, they pushed themselves in this meet and ended up with several personal records (PR), a good sign for next weekend's New England Div. III Championships.
Sophomore Logan Crane secured a college PR in the 55-meter dash, crossing the finish line at 7.31 seconds in the preliminaries and earning a provisional qualification for the NCAAs, which brings her one step closer to racing at the national championships.
Crane is especially looking to push herself in the postseason, since she is now a mere .03 seconds from beating the school record. The current record-holder, Vera Stenhouse (LA '91), has held that title since the 1991 season.
Senior co-captain Cat Beck scored an indoor personal record for the 800-meter run with a second place time of 2:14.36, while senior Anna Shih cracked the top 10, taking ninth place with her time of 2:25.07.
The freshman duo of Stephanie McNamara and Amy Wilfert gave Tufts a good showing in the 1,000-meter run, earning second and sixth place with times of 2:57.95 and 3:04.37 respectively.
Juniors Amy Hopkins and Veronica Jackson also represented the distance runners well, bringing in seventh and eighth place finishes in the 3,000-meter run, respectively.
In field events, Crane came in fifth place in the long jump, leaping 5.04 meters. Freshman Kanku Kabongo narrowly missed the top 10 with her 4.62 meter finish but earned an impressive fourth place in the triple jump with a distance of 10.61 meters.
Senior Joyce Uang leapt into seventh place for the Jumbos in the high jump, ending up at 1.55 meters, while freshman Allison Fetcher earned a 10th place finish in the pole vault at 2.82 meters.
As usual, senior Sarah Martin and junior Paula Dorman excelled in the weight throw, finishing in fourth and fifth place with tosses of 14 and 13.47 meters, respectively. Those scores were personal records for both girls.
"It's good to see," coach Kristen Morwick said. "[Throwing events] could be a really important event for us [at the Division III Championships]."
Although the Jumbos were excited to excel in their last home meet of the season, the real focus remained on the New England Div. III Championships next weekend at Smith. The team to beat is Williams College, whom Tufts has played runner-up to for the past five years.
"On paper, it looks pretty even," said Morwick, who used to coach at Williams. "We've never won New Englands, and we have a good chance this year."
Having endured years of painful second place finishes at this meet, it is the seniors who have been looking forward to this event all season long.
"Next weekend will be huge," senior co-captain Kaleigh Fitzpatrick said. "I've been waiting four years for this, and we're really hyped up."
Morwick is trying to put people in as many events as possible with the goal of maximizing points. Both Crane and Fitzpatrick will be running an unprecedented four events next week, while Beck will potentially run both the 3,000 meters and the mile. Although this will be difficult on the athletes, they are willing to push themselves.
The girls will spend the remainder of this week taking it easy and staying healthy in order to prepare for the important meet this weekend. They are ready to do everything in their power to finally break the Williams curse this year.