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

Allen leads Jumbos to team victory at Conn. College

Junior Julia Rogers, pictured here at last year's Snowflake Classic, placed second in the pole vault this weekend.

This past Friday and Saturday, the women's track and field team traveled to New London, Conn. for Conn. College's Silfen Invitational. On Friday evening, many Jumbos participated in a competition that was branded as an "elite distance night." The rest of the team competed on Saturday, and they did not disappoint: they took the team title with 171.5 points, outpacing Worcester State (143) and NESCAC rival Wesleyan (124.5 points).

Junior Marilyn Allen, who has been on fire in 2015, once again showed why she is one of the best hurdlers in Div. III. Allen first destroyed the 100-meter hurdles, running a wind-aided 14.44 seconds to win the event by over a second, setting a personal best and putting herself at US No. 5 on the Div. III national qualifying list. She then returned later in the day to run the 400-meter hurdles, winning the event in 1:05.08 seconds, good for US No. 34. Both performances qualified Allen for the Open New England Championships as well as the Div. III New England meet and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Div. III meet.

Tufts saw further success in the sprints when junior Alexis Harrison won the 100-meter dash in 12.47 seconds, a season best. First-year Annalisa DeBari took a point in the same event, running 13.22 seconds for eighth while also taking third in the 100-meter hurdles in a wind-aided 15.66 seconds, giving her a new personal record and qualifying her for the Div. III New England meet. Sophomore Rita Donohoe took fifth in the 200, running 27.14 seconds. Junior Sydney Smith,doubling from her second-place 800-meter race (2:13.98) the previous day, took sixth in the 400 with a 1:01.37 time. Senior Lauren Gormer, also doubling back from her first-place finish in the 1500-meter race the previous day, was behind Smith in 1:01.66 for seventh.

"The wind worked in favor of the shorter sprint races and jumps because it gave a nice tail wind," Harrison said. "For the other events people had to fight through it all the way around the track, but I think my teammates were able to handle it well and produce great performances regardless."

In the field, junior Julia Rogers was able to grab second place in the pole vault, getting over the bar at 9' 6.25". First-year Matea Friedel grabbed fourth place in the same event, getting over the bar at 9' 0.25". Harrison came back to take fourth in the long jump, leaping 16' 5.75", while first-year Toluwa Akinyemi nabbed eighth place with a 15' 1.25" leap.

Tufts obliterated the competition in the triple jump, as DeBari, junior Mary Ellen Caruso and Akinyemi took second, third and fourth with 34' 7.5", 33' 10" and 33' 4" bounds, respectively. The throws squad also dominated their competition. Sophomore Bailey Conner was second in the shot put (38' 9"), sixth in the discus (99' 4") and fifth in the hammer throw (128' 8"); first-year Jennifer Sherwill was fifth in the shot put (36' 1.25") and second in the discus (116' 6"); first-year Amylee Anyoha was sixth in the shot put (35' 8.5"), first in the discus (119' 8") and fourth in the hammer throw (129' 4") and first-year Rebecca Antwi was seventh in the shot put (34' 9.5").

On Friday evening, a few Jumbos competed in the elite distance races, comprised of the fastest runners from around the region. Smith set a strong personal record in the 800, running sub-2:14 for the first time in her career (2:13.98). It was two seconds faster than her previous personal best. The time also puts Smith at US No. 15 for the event. Gormer took the victory in the 1,500 meters, posting a time of 4:46.38, a new personal record. Sophomore Alice Wasserman was not far behind Gormer, running 4:48.07,also a new personal best.In the 3000-meter steeplechase, sophomore Lindsay Atkeson set a four-second personal record and qualified for Div. III New Englands with her 11:30.86 second-place finish.  In the 5,000, first-year Olivia Nicholson continued to drop seconds off of her best mark, this time setting a 13-second personal record by running 18:19.80 for ninth place overall.

"I think racing at night is totally different," Nicholson said. "Eating-wise, it's very hard to gauge and by the end of the day your body is just naturally tired, but I am happy with my race because I PRed. I was not happy with how I raced it; I went out way too fast, and I knew going into the race that the other girls were faster, but I went with them for the first mile, which hurt my second mile."

Harrison was impressed with the success the team had across the board.

"Many people did so well in their respective events and came away from the meet with new personal records," Harrison said. "I'm very proud of the whole team."

Next weekend, the Jumbos will undergo final preparations for the postseason by splitting the team up. A few athletes will travel to Princeton for the annual Larry Ellis Invitational, while the rest of the team will compete at the UMass Lowell Invitational.

"The goal for the rest of the season is to keep training hard and keep improving," Harrison added. "After this weekend, the results gave us added confidence as a team and more motivation to put ourselves back on top at NESCACs. We want the title of NESCAC champions and we're ready to put up a fight for it."