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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

Jumbos post fast times in MIT, Princeton meets

–Tufts senior Audrey Gould, front, and sophomore Brittany Bowman compete in the women's 5,000-meter run during the Final Qualifying Meet in Gantcher Center on March 4.

Splitting up its squad over the weekend, the women's track and field team sent senior quint-captain Audrey Gould and classmate Olivia Beltrani five hours down the coast on Friday evening to Princeton's annual Sam Howell Invitational, while the majority of the team stayed in the area and traveled just a few miles down the road to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Saturday for a quad-meet with MIT, Bates and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Distance may have separated the team, but the Jumbo presence was certainly felt at both venues.

The larger squad came in second at MIT, finishing behind only the hosts, a Div. III powerhouse. Tufts racked up 141.5 points on the day, ahead of RPI's 136 points and Bates' 129.

In a marginal improvement over the poor, early spring conditions of the previous weekend's weather at the Tufts Snowflake Classic, the day began with temperatures in the high 40s without a cloud in the sky but later got much colder and windier as the clouds rolled in.

"It was still less than ideal in terms of temperature ... got colder as the meet went on, but compared to the rainy conditions last week [at Snowflake], it was much better for sprinting and jumping," senior quint-captain Mary Ellen Caruso said.

Caruso was the top overall performer for the Jumbos on the day. So far, she has enjoyed a career year in her senior campaign and was recently named the team's fifth captain. At MIT, she set a new PR in the 100-meter dash, placing third overall in 13.29 seconds. Primarily a jumper, she also impressed in the triple jump, leaping out to 34 ft., two in. for second overall.In the long jump, she was able to place 11th with a jump of 14 ft., eight in.

"I had some good performances and some that I really want to improve on," Caruso said. "There were some really great performances by my teammates despite the cold weather conditions."

Senior quint-captain Alexis Harrison, already established as one of Div. III's fastest sprinters, was also in action. She was able to win the 200 handily in 26.21 seconds, anchored the 4x100-meter relay and placed ninth in the high jump in four ft., 10.25 in. Fellow senior quint-captain Marilyn Allen also had a solid day, winning the 100-meter hurdles in a new season's best time of 15.04 seconds.First-year Kylene DeSmith and sophomore Annalisa DeBari were right behind her in their placings, running to fourth and fifth overall in 16.67 and 16.98 seconds respectively. DeSmith also jumped well in the long jump, bounding out to 16 ft., one in. for a new collegiate best, tying with classmate Sydney Ladner for sixth. In other sprints action, sophomore Julia Prusaczyk placed third in the 400-meter hurdles in a new season's best time of 67.55 seconds.

The throwers showed big improvements as well. Sophomore Toluwa Akinyemi, a jumper-turned-thrower, set a new PR in the shot put while taking sixth in 35 ft., eight and a half in.Her classmate Amylee Anyoha continued to tear up the throwing circle with yet another PR, this time in the hammer throw, launching the weight 143 ft., two in.In the javelin, sophomore Jen Sherwill also put out a season's best throw of 104 ft., five in. for fourth.

The distance action was limited to some extent on the day but, nonetheless, the Jumbos who were competing ran fast times. Senior quint-captain Sydney Smith ran a solid race in the 1,500-meter, grabbing second in 4:37.42. At this point in the season, that is good for 13th in the national rankings. However, she will need to improve on this in order to cement her spot at the NCAA Championships this year. In the same race, sophomore Brittany Bowman moved down from her usual longer distance races and demonstrated some middle-distance speed, running 4:46.53 for fourth in the 1,500-meter.Junior Sam Cox set a new collegiate best in the 800-meter run, getting under 2:20 for third in 2:19.52.

"I just wanted to run as fast as I could handle for the first 400, then just hang on to the girls in front of me for the next 200 and finally give it whatever I had for the last 200," Cox said about her 800. "I am super happy to have finally broken 2:20 for the first time in college, and now I feel like I can start focusing on racing in the lower teens."

The 5,000-meter took place at the end of the meet, as conditions became cold and windy, but nonetheless, first-year Kelsey Tierney kicked hard for fourth in 18:18.00, while senior Michele de Mars set a huge 30 second PR, hanging tough and running 18:18.87 for fifth.

The day before the MIT meet, Gould and Beltrani both ran in the 10,000-meter race at the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton University, an early season meet that brings out the top Div. I, II and III athletes from around the east coast. Gould nabbed fifth in 36:19.86, a new PR, while Beltrani grabbed seventh in 36:44.14, also a new PR. Both marks qualify the women for Open New Englands in a month and are currently the fifth and seventh fastest times in the nation, respectively. For comparison, Gould's time would have ranked 21st nationally at the end of last year, while Beltrani's time would have ranked 28th nationally.

"Audrey [Gould] and Liv [Beltrani]'s performances were coming for a long time. They've both been following their training well and putting in work, and it's nice to see them succeed." Cox said. "They also had awesome competition, so that also helped."

Next weekend, the women will travel to Conn. College for the annual Silfen Invitational. Tufts will be well-represented at the elite night on Friday, as well as the invitational on Saturday, as they hope to get in another week of successful competition before the NESCAC Championships on April 30.

"At NESCACs we want to come out victorious," Caruso said. "We have a ton of talent and a ton of athletes who have been improving each week so this goal is definitely within reach."

"There are so many girls that are improving week to week and can have a huge impact at NESCACs," Cox said. "I'm really excited to see what we can do."

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