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

Allen, DMR officially headed to Nationals

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Tufts distance runners had a weekend of fast times and national qualifying.

On Friday evening, junior Marilyn Allen, the distance medley relay (DMR) and a number of other Tufts athletes competed at the Last Chance Meet, held at the Gantcher Center. Allen again showed why she is one of the best hurdlers in the nation, as she posted another very fast 8.90 second time in the preliminary round. She won the final in 8.92 seconds, but the 8.90 second time, which she has run numerous times this season, was enough to qualify her for nationals and places her at 14th in the nation. First-years Annalisa Debari and Toluwa Akinyemi also competed in the 60 meter hurdles, with DeBari recording a personal best with a 9.69 second time in the prelims to make the final (where she placed eighth) and Akinyemi running her second-fastest time this season in 10.12 seconds.

Tufts' Last Chance Meet, as its name explains, was the athletes' final opportunity to punch their tickets to nationals. The DMR improved to seventh, while Allen, unable to shave any time off her school-record time of 8.90 seconds, remained in 13th in the 60-meter hurdles. Fahey, who anchors the DMR, will also be running the 3,000 at nationals, having run what is now the 16th-best time in the nation at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University on February 13. 

The distance medley relay team of Fahey, junior Sydney Smith, senior Lauren Gormer and sophomore Rita Donohoe, who is also an assistant copy editor for the Tufts Daily, also officially punched their ticket to nationals. The team posted a similar time to their time at BU last weekend, running 11:53.38 for third overall in the race, which is considered "faster" than the BU time since it was run on a flat track. As a result, the team is now ranked seventh in the nation for the event, and it has the goal of becoming All-Americans (top eight). Fahey will also run the 3000 meters, as she qualified last month at BU's David Hemmery Invitational.

"Our goal is to be All-Americans and improve on our ranking," Fahey said. "I think its a very realistic goal -- for the past two weeks everyone on the team has run their best for us to qualify, and I think once we get to nationals the competitive environment will help us run even faster."

The throws squad also competed well at the meet. In the shot put, first-year Jennifer Sherwill, sophomore Aliza Shapiro and first-year Amylee Anyoha went 3-4-5 with throws of 35'6.5", 31'9.25" and 30'6.5" respectively. This same crew, plus first-year Sophia Atik, also went third through seventh in the weight throw, throwing 45'8.5", 43'9.25", 38'0.25" and 32'8.5" respectively.

Next weekend, Allen, Fahey and the rest of the DMR will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships, where they will hope to run fast and become All-Americans. After nationals, many members of the team will be heading out to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for their spring break trip, where they will begin the outdoor campaign.

Concurrently, a separate cohort trekked down to the New York City Armory to compete in the annual Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships on Friday and Saturday.

Junior Alexis Harrison clocked a season-best time of 7.80 seconds in the 60-meter dash in the preliminary round; in the final, she placed eighth overall with a time of 7.86 seconds. In the 500 meter, first-year Julia Prusaczyk was able to earn all-ECAC honors by placing seventh overall, running 1:19.06,  just .01 seconds shy of her personal-best. Sophomore Hannah Loss also competed in the 500 meter, running 1:22.08 for 24th overall.

"Going into my race I was pretty nervous, just because it was my last race of the season, and I really wanted to do well," Prusaczyk said. "I was excited, too, because it was my first time at the Armory, and that is just a legendary place."

In the 1,000 meter, sophomore Sam Cox set a personal best by more than three seconds, earning herself all-ECAC honors as well with her time of 3:03.18, good enough for fifth place overall. Senior Meghan Gillis competed in the 3,000 meter, taking 24th overall in 10:48.69. The DMR squad of sophomore Alice Wasserman, Loss, junior Katie Kurtz and first-year Margot Rashba took 11th overall in running 12:36.46. The lone field event representative for Tufts was sophomore pole vaulter Keren Hendel, who earned all-ECAC honors by placing sixth overall with a vault of 11'4.25".

"Overall the meet went pretty well," Prusaczyk said. "Keren [Hendel] was sixth in the pole vault, Sam [Cox] had a great PR for fifth in the 1,000 and I placed, so overall Tufts performed nicely."