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

Allen's victory headlines Tufts' performance at New Englands

On Saturday, the Jumbos competed in the Div. III New England Indoor Track and Field Championships, held at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Although collectively the team did not compete as well as it had hoped it would, it still posted some solid performances and gained some new All-New England certificates.

On the team side, the Jumbos scored 50 points, good enough for sixth place overall and fourth in the NESCAC behind Williams, Wesleyan and Amherst. MIT ran away with the meet, scoring 151 points (65 more than runner-up Williams) to take home the Div. III New England trophy. There were, however, many positives for the Jumbos throughout the day.

Junior Marilyn Allen was the star of the day for Tufts. Allen, who has had a phenomenal indoor campaign thus far, has run school records in both the 200 meters and the 60-meter hurdles in the last month. Her 60-meter hurdles time of 8.90 seconds before this weekend is also an all-time NESCAC record for the event.

Saturday was no different. Allen eased her way into the hurdles finals with a 9.02 third-place finish in the prelims. In the final, she set a facility record with her 8.93-second clocking, taking the win over the University of Southern Maine's Peyton Dostie -- who also finished in 8.93 seconds -- by fractions of a second. After this weekend, and with only a few weeks to go, Allen sits at 10th in the nation for the 60-meter hurdles, meaning a national berth is getting closer and closer to becoming reality. She also ran well in the 200, placing well and taking fifth overall in 26.27 seconds.

In other sprints action, junior Alexis Harrison was able to place sixth in the 200 meters in 26.32 seconds, scoring some points following a false start in the 60-meter dash. While Harrison's current U.S. ranking for the 60-meter dash, No. 23,  is outside of the top-15 national qualifying bubble, she will be looking to improve on that mark in the coming weeks. Harrison is no stranger to nationals; she qualified last spring in the 100 meters, so she knows what it will take to run a top-15 national time. The other individual sprinter at the meet also competed well.

First-year Annalisa DeBari placed 18th overall in the prelims of the 60 meter hurdles, running 9.73 seconds for a new season best by 0.14 seconds. In the 4 x 200-meter relay, the team of senior Christina Harvey, first-year Julia Prusaczyk and sophomores Hannah Loss and Rita Donohue took 10th overall, as well as the win in their heat, in 1:48.61 seconds. Loss, Donohue, Allen and senior Lauren Gormer later teamed up in the 4 x 400-meter relay, taking fifth overall in 4:02.56.

The Jumbos fared better in the distance events. First-year Olivia Nicholson got the day started with a fast 5000-meter race; she ran an 18-second personal record to take 11th overall in 18:32.76. The distance medley team of sophomore Alice Wasserman, first-years Prudence Sax and Sara Stokesbury and senior Meghan Gillis garnered All-Division III New England honors with their fourth-place, 12:35.43 minute effort. Gillis, who anchored the mile of the DMR in an unofficial 5:15 mile, later came back to double in the 3,000 meters, running 10:47.80 for 17th place overall. Also in the 3,000 meters, sophomore Kelly Fahey garnered All-Division III New England honors by running 10:18.74 for fourth overall, while first-year Margot Rashba made her indoor postseason debut, running 10:55.75 for 18th overall.

The mid-distance squad also had a decent day around the oval. Gormer placed seventh in the 600-meter run, running three laps around the 200-meter track in 1:38.46, her fastest time since she ran 1:37.99 in the 2013 season. Junior Sydney Smith placed eighth overall in the 800-meter run, adding a point to the Jumbos' scoring tally by running 2:18.55, a season best for her. The mid-distance performance of the day, however, came in the 4 x 800-meter relay, where the squad of Sax, first-year Lena Walton, sophomore Sam Cox and Smith took third in a time of 9:31.23, good for sixth overall in school history.

"Everyone really put their hearts into it," Cox said. "We wanted to run well coming in, and we did. It was also great to finally run closer to my potential."

The jumpers and throwers also had a solid day. Sophomore Keren Hendel locked up a fifth-place, All-Division III New England status by pole vaulting 10'11.75". Sophomore Bailey Conner also had a very good day in the ring, as she gained All-Division III New England status while setting personal bests in both the shot put and the weight throw. Conner threw 39'10.75" in the shot put for seventh place overall and seventh all time in school history, and she placed fourth in the weight throw by heaving the standard 49'0.25", good for fifth all time in school history.

"The meet overall didn't go as planned, but we still had some really good performances," Prusaczyk said. "Bailey [Conner] outperformed her seeds in both the shot put and weight throw, and Marilyn [Allen] set the facility record in the 60-meter hurdles, so there were many high points on the day."

Most of the team's members will now focus on preparing for the outdoor season, but for some of them, the postseason has just begun. Next weekend, a few individuals will compete at the Open New England Championships, held at Boston University, where they hope to post some fast times and high marks.

"Next week, we will have a nice group going to New Englands, then the week after some of us will be running at ECACs at the Armory in New York City," Prusaczyk said. "After that, some of the team will hopefully be competing at nationals."