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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Women's Track and Field | Jumbos prep for NCAAs with third place at Stonehill

Following a second-place showing in its home opener last week, the women's track and field team followed with another strong effort over the weekend, taking third at the Stonehill Skyhawk Invitational this weekend. With over 20 top-10 finishes, the Jumbos accumulated 95.50 points, ending up behind UMass-Lowell and Boston College.

Though the weather was nothing like the rainy and blustery conditions from a week ago, the Jumbos still had to contend with cold conditions.

"It was a bit warmer, which was nice, but it still wasn't ideal, especially for the sprinters," senior Katy O'Brien said.

With the addition of the new outdoor field events, many sprinters and throwers found themselves competing in multiple events. Sophomore Andrea Ferri, for instance, performed in the 200-meter dash, the 100-meter hurdles, the javelin throw and both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.

Freshman Lauren Perini was also scheduled for a number of events, but ended up participating in just the 100-meter hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay due to shin splints.

"A lot of hurdlers get [the injury] because you hit the track so hard," Perini said.

The Sherborn, Mass. native still managed to earn seventh place in the 100-meter hurdles, while fellow first-year Andrea Caruth placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles. Perini hopes to qualify for Nationals this year, and with the season being so short, she is already focusing on that goal.

"Hurdles is my best event, so I'm trying to go the farthest I can with that," she said. "I'm more focused on the outdoor season, and for me indoor was kind of like training for outdoor."

As a freshman, Perini is still transitioning from running in high school to the stiff competition of college track and field.

"I think we all were the best runners in our high schools, so it's weird not winning every race anymore," Perini said. "We're all pretty equal, and it's great running with people who have the same kind of passion."

Starting off the day with the 100-meter dash, senior co-captain Kaleigh Fitzpatrick came in fourth place with a time of 12.79. In their next race, Fitzpatrick and Ferri both enjoyed top-10 finishes in the 200-meter dash, clocking in at fifth and ninth with times of 26.27 and 26.97, respectively.

The Jumbos also had a good showing in the 4x100 meter relay. The A team, consisting of junior Paula Dorman, Fitzpatrick, senior Erica Steinitz and sophomore Logan Crane took second in 51.29 seconds. The B team followed right behind, with Perini, junior Halsey Stebbins, senior Jenna Weir and Ferri ending up in fourth place.

In the field events, Tufts dominated the hammer throw. Dorman's throw of 36.28 meters, senior Sarah Martin's throw of 36.19 and freshman Kelly Smith's throw of 35.85 earned them second, third and fifth places, respectively. Dorman also competed in the shot put, where she finished in fourth place.

Freshmen pole vaulters Allison Fechter, Dana Harada, and Kelly Engelking all finished in the top 10. Fechter, who gained valuable experience during the indoor season, earned fourth place with a jump of 3.05 meters. Harada and Engelking came in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

Although two key runners, freshman Stephanie McNamara and senior co-captain Cat Beck, did not compete this weekend, the distance runners still put up several impressive performances. Senior Katy O'Brien won the 1,500-meter run, finishing in 4:41.73, a time just 1.73 seconds off the provisional NCAA qualifying time.

Several other Jumbos competed in the event, including sophomores Lisa Picascia and Erica Hylton and junior Kathryn Charyk.

In the 5,000-meter run, the longest event in track and field, junior Veronica Jackson and freshman Tina Milburn earned eighth and 11th places, respectively. Jackson's time was 19:23.97, while Milburn just missed finishing in less than 20 minutes with her time of 20:01.96.

Without having to deal with the wind and cold of last week, the Jumbos found the 3,000-meter steeplechase slightly more bearable. Freshman Amy Wilfert ran the race for the first time and came out with a strong performance. Her time of 11:47.95 earned her third place, while junior Susan Allegretti finished right behind her in fourth place.

Next week, the Jumbos will be traveling to Northeastern for the Bernard Solomon Invitational. They are now just five meets away from the postseason. As the school year comes to a close, the members of the track team are forced to balance the pressure of Nationals with studying for finals.

"It's always a crunch to get things done," O'Brien said. "I'm working on a thesis this year, so it will be a little more of a crunch for me. But we've been doing it for four years, so I think we're all pretty used to it."