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

Jumbos post top marks in Sunshine Classic win

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Alexis Harrison (LA' 16) competes in the 200 Meter Dash at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23.

On Saturday, the women's track and field team hosted the first annual Sunshine Classic at Ellis Oval. Despite the relatively small size of the meet, with just seven teams competing, the women's team was still able to hit top marks and take first place for the third time this season. The meet served as a dress rehearsal before next weekend's NESCAC Championships at Amherst and also acted as a de facto "alumnae meet," as Tufts track and field alumni were invited to compete.

"Our team did pretty well today," first-year Sydney Ladner said. "Our goal for the meet was to make the marks and times that would get as many people competing at NESCACs as we could. It was also the last home meet for our seniors, and for a few, their last meet ever. So it was a great day to be out there with them."

The day started out rainy, as all of this season's Tufts-hosted outdoor track meets have; however, by midday, the rain had stopped.

The majority of competitors were from the Tufts squad, but that did not stop senior quint-captain Mary Ellen Caruso from running to a new lifetime best in the 100-meter dash (13.11 seconds in the preliminaries) to take third overall in the race.Caruso has had a career year, making significant improvements in all of her events. She has PR'd in every event she competed in this year, both indoors and out (60-meter, 100-meter, 200-meter, long jump and triple jump), as she's emerged as a model leader for the team.

Senior quint-captain Marilyn Allen was also in action, in the hurdles. She won the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 15.25 seconds, defeating alumna and former teammate Jana Hieber (LA '14), who won the 2014 National Championship in the 400-meter hurdles and set the second-fastest time in the history of Div. III for the event (58.58 seconds). Allen also had a solid race in the 400 hurdles, running a season's best67.95 seconds in a three-person race. Her day did not end there, as she also ran a leg on the 4x100-meter relay team.

Her classmate and fellow quint-captain Alexis Harrison was also in action, in the sprints. She ran a season best of 25.83 seconds to take second in the 200 meter, ran a leg on the winning 4x100-meter relay team and, in a fairly rare occurrence, competed in the high jump and took fourth with a leap of 4 ft., 10 1/4 in. Junior Rita Donohoe grabbed a PR in the 400-meters, coming close to the 60-second barrier with her time of 60.11 seconds, a collegiate best for Donohoe by almost a full second and a relatively huge jump by 400-meter standards.

Junior Samantha Cox had the highlight of the day on the mid-distance and distance side, as she ran to a new PR in the 800-meter, winning in 2:18.78. She has been having a very successful year thus far, getting under the 2:20 barrier twice already. If she can keep the momentum going, she'll likely be able to score at NESCACs next weekend. In the 1,500-meter, sophomore Eliza Lawless, fresh off a 5,000-meter PR last weekend, took second in 4:52.43. Her classmates, Margot Rashba and Sara Stokesbury, were fourth and fifth in 4:58.21 and 4:59.85 respectively. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Olivia Beltrani soloed to a new PR by running 11:29.46, which is currently good enough for seventh in NESCAC. Her classmate Lily Corcoran took second in the 5,000-meter, running 18:38.65.

"I was aiming to run a bit faster than I ended up running yesterday, and I think the small field was definitely a factor since I ended up running on my own basically from the start since there was no one I could try to match paces with," first-year Natalie Bettez, who placed third in the 5,000 in 19:10.70, said. "But overall, I have been really happy with my first collegiate outdoor season."

The first-years paved the way for the Jumbos in the field. Ladner was the team's top scorer in the pole vault with her vault of 9 ft., 6 1/4 in. for third. Senior Julia Rogers grabbed fourth in 9 ft., 1/4 in. while first-year Sharon Kelmar was fifth at the same height.In the long jump, first-years Brita Dawson and Kylene DeSmith grabbed third and fourth with leaps of 16 ft., 6 1/2 in. and 16 ft., 6 in., with DeSmith setting a new PR with that leap.

4/23/16 – Medford/Somerville, MA – Sydney Ladner (LA'19) competes in the Pole Vault at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23, 2016. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily) (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily) Sydney Ladner (LA' 19) competes in the Pole Vault at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily)


"I seem to be stuck at nine feet, six inches for the vault, but I hope that going into next week I will be able to clear 10 feet," Ladner said.

Sophomores Amylee Anyoha and Jennifer Sherwill continued to show why they are a solid one-two punch in the NESCAC throwing circle. Anyoha took second in the hammer throw in 149 ft., 1 in., while Sherwill grabbed third in the shot put with a heave of 36 ft., 6 1/4 in. Both have had solid 2016 campaigns and will look to put the weight of the Tufts throwing program on their shoulders next week at NESCACs.

Next weekend, the team will travel to Amherst for the biggest meet of the 2016 season: the NESCAC Championships. Last year, Tufts narrowly lost to Williams, a NESCAC powerhouse, by only 22 points, settling for second place. The Williams Ephs come in as the heavy favorites, but the Jumbos are led by Allen, Harrison, Caruso and fellow senior quint-captains Sydney Smith and Audrey Gould — all of whom are among the top competitors in their events — and are backed up by the team's serious depth. With so much talent and cohesion, Tufts has a great shot at pulling off a huge upset.

"Next weekend, we plan to really step it up and try to hit those marks that will help bump us up to point-earning territory. Many girls have the potential to score points, so we really just want to get out there and compete like we have been training for," Ladner said. "If everyone has a great day, then you never know what could happen."

Bettez agreed, highlighting that the synergy in the team would be useful when taking on its opponents.

"Middlebury and Williams are going to be tough competitors, but we've been training for this weekend all season, and we are going light this week in preparation," Bettez said. "There's a lot of hype and energy, and we have a really strong team this year, so it will be an interesting meet."

4/23/16 – Medford/Somerville, MA – Franchesca Burgos (LA'18), Marissa Donohue (LA'19) and Meredith Reynolds (E'17) compete in the 5000m at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23, 2016. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily) (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily) Franchesca Burgos (LA'18), Marissa Donohue (LA'19) and Meredith Reynolds (E'17) compete in the 5000 Meter at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily)
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