Things were looking a little grim for the women's track team after last weekend's performances at the Tufts Invitational I. The team had good individual performances, but coach Kristen Morwick characterized the team's overall look as "rusty."
Track And Field
Saturday will mark the beginning of the season for the women's track and field team as they take the track at the Reggie Lewis Center for the Winter Carnival at Northeastern University. But while competition is only just beginning, the team has been training throughout the semester and the women are ready to go. "Their fitness level is great," coach Kristen Morwick said. "They're really enthusiastic. They're itching to get out on the track on Saturday" Saturday's meet will give Morwick her first look at the team's progress since last season, and the women are confident they can do well. The team that sent a team record nine members out to the NCAA Indoor Championships last year and placed second in New England will be returning many members this season. "We have a lot of raw talent," senior tri-captain Megan Sears said. "We're excited for the season and looking forward to it." The middle distance runners have the strongest group of returnees. Sophomores Katy O'Brien and Laura Walls are back from the Distance Medley Relay team that competed at Nationals last season, and junior Sarah Crispin, an All-American in the 800, will also be returning. Junior Kate Makai, sophomores Anna Shih and Marisa Mann, and freshmen Susan Allegretti, Evelyn Sharkey and Megan Randall should plug the lone hole created by the loss of Katie Sheedy, who graduated last spring. Losing junior Jillian Warner for the season due to medical reasons and Claudia Clarke from last year's All-American 4x400 relay team hurts the Jumbos, but senior Rachel Bloom and sophomore Kaleigh Fitzpatrick have a strong group of runners waiting in the wings to help them get back to Nationals. Junior Jess Mactas and sophomores Jenna Weir and Joyce Uang will look to step up and they will be joined by freshmen Jackie Ferry, Aubrey Wasser and Halsey Stebbins. "We brought in a couple really good sprinters with good potential," Sears said. "There are a bunch of girls with talent who haven't had a lot of good coaching in high school. Rachel will still be leading us but we have a couple of girls on her heels." Seniors Arielle Aaronson and Becca Ades, who were both abroad last year, will help anchor a strong long distance group that includes junior Raquel Morgan and sophomore Catherine Beck, who both provisionally qualified for Nationals last season in the 5k. The team will also look to sophomore Ana Hoyos and freshman Morgan Medders for help in the longer distances. The girls are coming off a cross country season that saw the team head out to Nationals for the first time since 1999. "A much improved cross country season will I'm sure mean a better track season," Morwick said. In the field, the Jumbos will be anchored by their group of pentathletes and jumpers. Sears returns from an ACL injury that sidelined her all season long last year and has fellow senior Daniela Fairchild and junior Maggie Clary by her side. The team is hurt, though, by the news that junior Kenzie Rawcliffe may not be returning to compete this season. Rawcliffe was a few tenths of a second off a trip to Nationals in the 55 hurdles last year. Weir and Fitzpatrick both were two of the top jumpers last season at the Div. III New England Regional Championships, with Weir taking third in the long jump and sixth in the triple and Fitzpatrick getting fifth in the triple. Uang will improve at the high jump although Sade Campbell will be abroad. The team recruited two freshmen (Marisa Jones and Katrine Dermody) who they expect to fill in at pole vault. The freshmen additions, while inexperienced competitors, have already created excitement among the Jumbos. "The freshman class is stronger than we anticipated and they're all really into it," Morwick said. "They've sort of inspired everybody else." Growing pains will hurt the team in the throws however, as the squad loses Katie Antle and Jess Colby from last season. Colby broke the school record in the weight throw last season. Junior Joanna Utoh and sophomores Cecilia Allende and Sarah Martin will try to fill the void and they will have help from freshmen Paula Dorman, Emily Bleff and Kelsey Ettman. Although losses are a problem for the team, Morwick insists she's not worried. "There's no way we're worse," Morwick said. "We should be better and a lot will depend on just staying healthy and surviving a long track season." The ultimate goal will be to try to improve instead of resting on last season's laurels. That would mean catching up to regional champion Williams and sending runners to Nationals to bring back some hardware for the school. "A lot of people on this team have the potential to go to Nationals," Crispin said. "So we'll see what the season brings."
Battling rough weather conditions, the women's track and field team placed sixth in the New England Div. III outdoor championships, held on May 6-7 at Bates. The Jumbos managed to secure some top finishes, but the difficulty of performing in the inclement weather took its toll. Finishing with 45 points, the team fell to top-ranked Williams College by a wide margin. Williams finished first with 198 points scored. Out of the 29 teams participating, only eight finished with 40 points or more. Williams's dominance may be slightly exaggerated, as coach Kristen Morwick opted to not run athletes in certain events due to the weather and final exams. "This past weekend we had probably a third of the team compete due to conflicts with finals," Morwick explained. "We really didn't have any great performances due to the weather and exams." The weather certainly affected the team's performance. During the meet, the team was pelted with rain in cold temperatures and high winds. Due to the conditions, the running events were hand-timed. The Jumbos' 4x800 meter relay, which won at the NESCAC Championship meet, did not run. The 4x400 squad, who also finished with a victory at NESCAC's, came in a disappointing twelfth out of thirteen teams. The 4x100 relay was able to secure fifth place, scoring points for the team in the process. Explaining the disappointing finishes of the relay teams, Morwick cites injury problems. "We've had some key injuries this spring," Morwick said. "Jill Warner has been out with some bad migraines and was told she could not compete. Jill is one of our top sprinters, so it has really hurt our chances in the 4x100 and 4x400 for nationals. Laura Walls also has been hurt with shin splints. She is one of our top middle-to-long-distance runners. It's been a really tough spring in terms of injuries." Sophomore Sarah Crispin had the strongest individual finish for the Jumbos in the running events. She ran the 800 in 2:19.40, which was good enough for fourth place. In the 200, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick continued the success she has had all season, finishing fifth in a time of 26.4. Junior Rachel Bloom also managed to score points for the team, placing seventh in the 400 in a time of 60.0. Sophomore Kate Makai finished sixth in the 600 hurdles, clearing the course in 1:07.6. In the heptathlon, sophomore Margaret Clary grabbed fourth place. The meet did not mark the end of the season. Several Jumbos competed in the All-New England Championships on May 13-14, which featured Div. I, II, and III competition. The team finished tied for eighteenth place. Most recently, the Jumbos competed at the ECAC championships on May 19-20, but results were not available for press time. The team next competes at nationals on May 26-28 in Wartburg, Iowa. Looking back on the season, the women's track team enjoyed limited success. "We have had a really tough spring in terms of both weather and injuries," Morwick explained. "It has rained hard three weekends in a row. It is impossible to get good performances under those conditions, especially in the technical events. Up at Bates we had 50 mile-per-hour winds. It was a disaster. We are going to have to rely on the next two weekends to try and get some people into nationals." Despite the difficulties, the Jumbos' record still boasts accomplishments. With a young team, they were able to finish in second place during the NESCAC championships. Furthermore, the Jumbos gained 11 spots on the All-NESCAC team for their competition at NESCAC's. Bloom earned a spot for her second-place finish in the 100 and 200, as well as her participation on the 4x100 relay team. Freshman Catherine Beck and Crispin, who finished third and first in the 1,500, respectively, both received All-NESCAC honors and ran in the 4x800. Sophomore Mackenzie Rawcliffe earned her spot by finishing third in the 100-meter hurdles. The entire 4x100 and 4x800 teams were honored with All-NESCAC recognition. The members included Fitzpatrick, sophomore Jess Mactas, Makai, senior tri-caption Katie Sheedy and freshman Anna Shih.
The Tufts women's track and field team began the championship season strongly at Colby College on Saturday, scoring 126.5 points and finishing second out of 11 teams. Coach Kristen Morwick rejoined the team after a two-week absence due to health reasons, and her presence paid off as the Jumbos dominated in several events. "The NESCAC championship is our biggest team-oriented meet," junior Rachel Bloom said. "We have people participating in four or five events. Everyone puts in everything they have so by the end, it's hard to fight the exhaustion." But the team was able to finish strong, grabbing first place in the final two events of the day with the standout performances of the relay teams. The 4x800 relay team blew away the nearest competition, beating Bowdoin by nearly 10 seconds. Freshmen Anna Shih and Catherine Beck, sophomore Kate Makai and senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy put up an impressive time of 9:26.04 to earn the top spot and 10 points for Tufts. The 4x400 team finished first, just ahead of Williams, who won the meet with 211 points overall. The foursome of junior Rachel Bloom, senior Ayako Sawanobori and sophomores MacKenzie Rawcliffe and Sarah Crispin, came in with a time of 4:05.75. The 4x400 has been a strong one for Tufts this season, as Bloom, senior Claudia Clarke, sophomore Jillian Warner, and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick earned All-American status in the event at Nationals in March. "The 4x400 and 4x800 were the last two events of the meet," Bloom said. "By the end it was pouring rain and everyone was tired and cold. It really means a lot to the team to have been able to pull off wins in both events especially considering the weather conditions." The 4x100 relay put up a third place finish earning six points for the team. Bloom, sophomore Jessica Mactas, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, senior Ayako Sawanobori and finished in 50.17, less than a second behind first-place Williams and second-place Colby. Tufts nabbed two of the top three spots in the 1500 race, with Crispin coming in first with 4:45.60, undercutting her seed time by nearly four seconds, and freshman Catherine Beck taking third with a time of 4:47.04. In individual results, senior thrower Jessica Gauthier nailed a third-place finish in the discus with a distance of 40.60 meters. Gauthier also had a solid placing in the shot put gaining seventh place with a distance of 11.49 meters. In the javelin throw, freshman Cecilia Allende grabbed fourth place and five points for the team with a toss of 31.08 meters. Bloom finished second in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, less than a second behind Williams junior Katie Fulton, who took first in both events. Fitzpatrick took fourth in both events, part of an impressive day that yielded top-five finishes in four individual events, including a fifth place finish in the long jump and fourth place in the triple jump. Rawcliffe had several top finishes as well, taking third in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.37. She also managed a fifth place finish in the triple jump with a distance of 10.56 meters, just behind teammate Fitzpatrick, who landed at 10.75. Freshman steeplechase runner Katy O'Brien continued her streak of good finishes with a fifth place finish on Saturday with a time of 11:46.60. In the high jump, Tufts jumpers managed a three-way tie for fifth place. Senior Sika Henry and sophomore Sade Campbell shared fifth place with Jen Orbaker from Hamilton College with distances of 1.55 meters. In the end, Williams took the day with its fifth straight NESCAC championship, and 13th in 20 years, but Tufts finished strongly in second. The nearest competitor, Middlebury College landed at distant third with 98 points. The Jumbos look to continue their success during the New England Div. III Championships to be held at Bates next weekend. "From here on, the meets become more individual," Bloom said. "It is still team-oriented but the emphasis is more on the individual getting a qualifying time for nationals."
The regular season for the women's track and field team came to a close this Saturday at the Dartmouth Invitational, and the Jumbos turned out solid showings from Tufts' throwers and short-to-middle range runners. The NESCAC championships will be held this Saturday at Colby and mark the beginning of the championship season. With a large number of freshmen on the team this year, the goal for the regular season was finding a place for the new team members, and heading into the postseason, some underclassmen have done just that. Freshman Kaitlyn O'Brien finished first at Dartmouth with a time of 11:23.60 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the, coming in a full 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and 22 seconds ahead of her time in the same event at the first meet of the year. The steeplechase, in which runners traverse a track littered with hurdles and a moat of water, tests endurance as runners must maintain their speed over a long distance while navigating obstacles. "The steeplechase is seven and three quarter laps with four barriers and the water pit to jump each lap." O'Brien said. "This was only my second time doing it. It's not a common event in many high schools." "It's a funny sight to see sometimes," junior Rachel Bloom said. "It is a long race, so at the end everyone is tired and some people end up falling into the water." Overall, the Jumbos dominated the event with sophomore Raquel Morgan adding to O'Brien's win with a third-place finish (12:09.17) and senior Liz Bloomhardt coming in fifth (13:38.88). In the throwing events, the Jumbos finished in the middle of the pack. Senior Jessica Gauthier took fifth, classmate Jess Colby took sixth, and senior Katie Antle tied with freshman Sarah Martin for seventh. The hammer throw yielded similar results, as Martin finishing third with a throw of 138'10", and Colby and Gauthier came in fifth and sixth, with distances of 133'2" and 131'4" respectively. In the discus, Antle placed sixth with a throw of 108'9." Freshman Cecilia Allende threw the javelin 91'2", good for ninth against tough competition from Dartmouth. In the short-to-middle distances, which have been the team's strength this year, the Jumbos again pulled off some high finishes. Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick had the highest finish with third place in the 200 meter run. Junior Ayako Sawanobori had a strong showing in the same event, placing sixth with a time of 27.51. Rachel Bloom led the Jumbos in the 400 meter run with a fourth place finish at 1:00.12, about half a second from the lead runner. In the 800 meter run, sophomore Sarah Crispin took fifth place and senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy finished seventh with times of 2:19.87 and 2:22.11, respectively. Rounding out the middle distance, freshman Catherine Beck ran well in the 1,500 meter run with a fourth place finish of 4:42.11. Sophomore MacKenzie Rawcliffe led all Tuft's jumpers with a second-place finish in the triple jump. Amy Roccio of the University of New Hampshire won the event. Sophomore Sade Campbell and senior Sika Henry finished third and fifth in the high jump with leaps of 5'4" and 5'2", respectively. Looking ahead to the NESCAC Championships this weekend, the team will try to send as many people through to the next round as possible, including the 4x400 relay team, which placed sixth during the indoor nationals and earned the runners' All-American recognition. However, missing from that team is anchor runner senior Claudia Clarke who opted out of track this spring due to other obligations. Sarah Crispin earned All-American status individually during the winter finishing eighth in the 800. However, with a young talented freshmen class the Jumbos hope to continue their regular season success this weekend. "People have been doing really well during the last few meets and hopefully that will continue in the NESCAC championship." O'Brien said. "I'm looking forward to it. It is going to be some tough competition. I just hope I can perform well."
Despite fierce competition from top rival Williams and a poorly administered meet, the Jumbos were strong in several events at the George Davis Invitational, held last weekend at UMass-Lowell. The meet is second on the women's track and field team's 2005 outdoor schedule. Tufts freshman excelled in the 800 meter run, placing three runners in the top ten. After finishing second in the 3000 meter steeplechase last weekend, freshman Katy O'Brien moved to the 800, finishing first with a time of 2:18.31, almost four seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Freshman Anna Shih finished sixth with a time of 2:27.88 with her classmate Marisa Mann a couple seconds behind her at 2:29.15. Feshman Sarah Kalil finished nineteenth in a time of 2:40.85. In the 200 meter dash, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick ran well for the second week in a row, earning the fourth spot in a time of 26.52. In the triple jump, Fitzpatrick also finished fourth behind a commanding set of Williams jumpers. Coming off a first place finish in both the 100 and the 200 in last week's meet, junior Rachel Bloom entered the 400 against tough competition. Finishing second in a time of 59.09, Bloom placed behind Josette Pierre-Louis of UMass Lowell, who put up an impressive time of 56.78. In the middle to long-distance events, the Jumbos achieved some notable success. Sophomore Sarah Crispin finished third in the 1500 meter run in a time of 4:49.45, about nine seconds behind the leader, Shauneed Garrahan of Amherst. Senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy finished sixth at 4:50.00. In the 5000 meter run, freshman Catherine Beck gave a solid performance, finishing third in a time of 18:22.72. Senior tri-captain Emily Pfeil also did well, placing seventh in a time of 18:33.56. "The 1500 was a little slow. A slow pace was set early, which can bring times down for the entire group," Sheedy said. "It's easier to set better times when the pace is set faster." Rounding out the running events, the 4x100 meter "A" relay team finished second in a time of 50.39. The team, consisting of sophomore Jessican Mactas, senior Ayako Sawanobori, sophomore Rachel Bloom and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick, was less than a second behind the Williams team that posted a time of 49.98. The 4x100 "B" team finished a solid seventh. Freshmen Katie Barksdale, Julie McKay and Joyce Uang and sophomore Meredith Dobbs completed the relay in a time of 54.09, a half a second behind the Keene State A squad. In the 4x400 meter relay, the Tufts women placed fifth with a time of 4:14.52. The A team included juniors Kate Makai, Maggie Clary and freshmen Marisa Mann and Katie O'Brien. In throwing events, the Jumbos continued to do well. Tufts throwers took fifth and sixth in the discus behind the arms of seniors Katie Antle and Jessica Gauthier. Antle threw a distance of 116 feet and Gauthier tossed 113. Gauthier also finished fifth in the shot put, firing 38 feet. In the javelin throw Cecilia Allende placed fifth with a throw of 99 feet. Some Tufts runners complained about the meet was run. "The meet ran late into the night, there was a lot of waiting around." Sheedy said. "Still, we were able to perform well regardless. It was a solid showing all around." Although Coach Morwick was unable to attend the meet due to surgery after an ACL tear, she has been pleased with the progress the team has made so far. "Sometimes the kids go into a slump after the indoor season and find it hard to get back up for outdoor," she said. "But things are looking pretty good right now. I think we are well-rounded, which is certainly a strength." As far as the freshman's success goes, Morwick is excited yet cautious. "It has been a long year for our freshman and we're hoping they can hang on into the championship season," she said. With only one meet until the championship meets begin, there is already a lot of pressure on the team. "The championship meets are just one meet away." Sheedy said. "It is hard to get our times up in the few meets before the real pressure is on. In general, we did pretty well this week, nothing outstanding, but still a solid performance."
The first annual Tufts Hillside Relays, held this weekend, marked the beginning of the regular season for the women's track and field team. It was also the Jumbos' first meet ever held on the newly resurfaced outdoor track. The Relays, an individual meet, served as a warm-up for the more team-oriented meets that will be held later in the season. The Jumbos' strength in the short to middle distance events was on display as junior Rachel Bloom and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick finished first and second, respectively, in the 100 meter dash. The teammates were on each other's tails as Bloom finished in 12.67 seconds with Fitzpatrick right behind her at 12.70. The nearest competitor, Holy Cross junior Meghan Carrette, finished third at 12.95. "Really, Kaleigh was my toughest competitor. She had a great start and got ahead of me. I had to work hard to catch up. It's great having her as my competition. It keeps me motivated to do well," Bloom said. Bloom also finished first in the 200m dash in a time of 26.54, an impressive three tenths of a second ahead of the next competitor. Taking top honors in the middle distance 800m event was sophomore Sarah Crispin, with senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy capturing second place. Sophomore Kate Makai also had a strong showing, finishing fourth. The Jumbos had some difficulty placing in the long distance events. The team failed to place a runner in the top three in either the 1500, the 5000 or the 10,000m. In the 5K, sophomore Jennifer Torpey finished fourth (19:10.40) and in the 10K sophomores Raquel Morgan and Julia Goldberg finished fourth (39:59.00) and fifth (43:56.50), respectively. In the 300m steeplechase, freshman Katy O'Brien finished second (11:45.66) and freshman Catherine Beck finished fourth (11:52.16). It was a new event for both runners. Torpey, who set a personal record in the 5K on Saturday, had only good things to say regarding the long distance races. "I think the distance runners had a good day," Torpey said. "We had some freshman trying new events like the steeplechase. There was a lot of excellent competition." "It is really good to have that many people to run against," she added, referring to the 27 runners who came out for the 5K. The Jumbos enjoyed success in other events. Fitzpatrick displayed her versatility, grabbing first place in the triple jump. "Kaleigh really makes a huge impact in the jumps," Bloom said. "She is definitely one of the top competitors we have." In the field, freshman Jenna Weir took first place in the long jump with a distance of 5.11m while freshman Ashley Lowe finished third with a distance of 4.78m. In the throwing events, the women were able to edge out their competitors, finishing strongly in several events. Senior throwers Katie Antle and Jessica Gauthier finished first and third in the discus with distances of 35.32 and 33.63, respectively. In the shot put, Gauthier managed a second-place finish with a distance of 10.85m, behind All American Kelly Godsey from Bates who threw an impressive 12.52. In the relay events the 4x400 team placed second to the Greater Boston Track club in a time of 44.36. The relay team consisted of different runners than the team the Jumbos sent to Nationals at the conclusion of the indoor season. Bloom was the only returning member as junior Jillian Warner was unable to compete and senior Claudia Clarke opted out of track in the spring. Fitzpatrick did not run in the relay due to her involvement with other events. Replacing these three were Crispin, Makai and Sheedy. Both Crispin and Sheedy also qualified for indoor Nationals in the 800m and the DMR, respectively. Bloom anchored the relay and took the handoff trailing Jane Farrell, a junior from Brandeis, by about 15 meters. Bloom gradually made up ground and overtook Farrell in the final 200 meters of the race to give Tufts second. The 4x100 relay team finished first in a time of 50.31, just edging out Holy Cross, their nearest competitor, by six tenths of a second. Overall, the team enjoyed its success in the first meet of the season. "I think everyone ran well," Bloom said. "The weather was a huge factor in our success. Also, it was great to have a home meet. The support that we get from our fans really helps us get motivated." "It was our first home meet in five years and the new track makes all the difference," Torpey said. "I think everyone ran a great race because of it."
Led by coach Kristen Morwick, the woman's track team is hoping to maintain it's success heading into the spring season. Senior tri-captains Kate Sheedy, Jessica Colby and Emily Pfeil will lead the team that finished second to Williams in last year's Div. III New England Championships and sent six athletes to the Div. III NCAA Championships.
The winter season was nothing short of impressive for the women's track team. After losing a number of very good runners, the team coasted on the success of a mix of freshmen and veteran runners all the way to the NCAA Championships, sending four runners more than last year. "People just really wanted it, and it's not that they didn't want it last year," senior tri-captain Emily Pfeil said. "It just really came together. We had a lot of young runners that just thrived with the team atmosphere." This team entered the season knowing they would be without many of their top runners from last season, such as Lauren Caputo, Jess Trombly and Emily Bersin. Additionally, juniors Sika Henry and Melissa Gravely chose not to compete this year for personal reasons, while junior Becca Ades, the top distance runner on the cross country team, was abroad. Junior Megan Sears suffered an ACL tear, leaving the team's top pentathlete sidelined for the season. But the indoor track season also followed a tough cross country season where the women's team missed a trip to the NCAA Championships by just seven points. The cross country women came in knowing how close they had been and what could be accomplished in the future. The distance team that formed from that cross country team helped set the tone this season. Senior tri-captains Katie Sheedy and Pfeil, sophomores Sarah Crispin, Kate Makai, Sam Moland, Jenny Torpey, Raquel Morgan, and freshmen Catherine Beck, Katy O'Brien, Laura Walls and Anna Shih formed a solid core of hardworking distance runners. That group joined with strong competitors in both the sprints and the field. Junior Rachel Bloom, the only returning member from last season's Nationals team, joined seniors Claudia Clarke and Ayako Sawanobori, sophomore Jillian Warner, and freshmen Kaliegh Fitzpatrick, Jenna Weir and Joyce Uang in the sprints. As the outline of the team took shape, the squad won regularly with huge contributions from the freshmen. They took first in two of the three Tufts Invitationals and also won at Bowdoin. Walls, O'Brien, Beck, Shih, Fitzpatrick and Weir were having great performances as the freshmen started leading the team. "I was really surprised," Warner said. "Since the transition to college is so difficult, I thought a lot of the freshmen would be timid coming to the track team, but they all came together and basically took over. It helped us because I think a lot of people were discouraged because we basically graduated a lot of good runners." By the time the team reached the St. Valentine's Invitational at Boston University, qualifying for nationals became a reality instead of just a goal. The DMR team of O'Brien, Bloom, Sheedy and Walls ran 12:09.99 to provisionally qualify for nationals. The following week, the team traveled to Smith College for the New England Div. III Championships, where they pulled together to take second against a tough Williams team. From there, the Jumbos went on to the All New England Championships, which proved to be the season's highlight. The same distance medley relay team set a new Tufts record and qualified for nationals, running 11:59.80. The 4x400 relay team of Clarke, Bloom, Warner and Fitzpatrick, which finished a few tenths of a second away from a national qualifying time at the St. Valentine's meet, ran the second fastest time in Tufts history in the 4x400 with a 3:55.28. The 4x800 meter relay team of Makai, Sheedy, O'Brien, and Walls broke the school record just set the previous week by fourteen seconds, running 9:15.17. And Warner, Beck, and Crispin all qualified individually for events at nationals. Beck ran 17:39.57 in the 5,000, smashing her old previous best by fifteen seconds. Crispin ran a personal best of 2:15.80 in the 800 and Warner ran a 58.35 in the 400 to qualify for nationals. "It just seemed like all of everyone's hard work paid off in that one weekend," Warner said. Senior tri-captain Jess Colby ended her indoor career at Tufts by putting her name in the record books the following week at Trinity's Last Chance Invitational when she threw for 13.90 meters in the weight throw, beating the old record of 13.86. The team then sent nine women (two relays and two individuals) to nationals. The DMR, the 4x400 relay teams, Crispin and Beck traveled to Illinois Wesleyan to compete at the NCAA Championships. Crispin ran a new personal best of 2:15.46 in the preliminaries of the 800 and earned All American status, as did the 4x400 team, which qualified for the finals and finished sixth in 3:58.76. But the distance medley relay team finished last in the event and Beck did not finish her 5,000 due to injury. Three of the four freshmen, Beck, O'Brien and Walls, had tough trips, as each had sub-par performances. But with five All Americans, the future looks bright for the spring season. Coach Kristen Morwick brought home NCAA New England Region Coach of the Year in addition to the All American awards. "In outdoor it gets harder to qualify but I think we should have the same goals trying to qualify people in individuals and relays," Pfeil said. "The goal is just to try and maintain the quality of performances of the team."
Tufts sent nine women out to Bloomington, Illinois this weekend for the NCAA Championships at Illinois Wesleyan University. And the team made some noise, with five Jumbos earning All-American status at the most competitive meet of the season. Tufts finished 40th out of a field of 55 teams. The 4x400 meter relay team of senior Claudia Clarke, junior Rachel Bloom, sophomore Jillian Warner, and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick placed sixth out of eight teams in Saturday's final, running 3:58.76. The relay scored three points for the Jumbos, giving each runner All-American status. In Friday's preliminary race, Tufts faced Williams College and the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse and took second in its heat, running the seventh fastest time (3:57.42) of the day and earning a berth in the finals. Clarke led off in a personal best 59.8, handing off to Bloom, who ran 57.6. Fitzpatrick ran the third leg in 58.7 and Warner anchored the relay in 1:00.3. The team ran in the slower heat for the final with Washington University in St. Louis, Williams College, and Wheaton College. Washington University in St. Louis ran away in the finals, running 3:52.86 to take second overall in the event. For Tufts, Clarke led off with 1:00.6 and looked flustered after a lap. "We were in the hole pretty bad. By a lap, she was way behind," coach Kristen Morwick said. "If she had pushed through, she would have been fine." Other teams had also switched the order of their teams, putting faster runners in the opening leg to make Clarke's leg faster than normal. Bloom took the baton and immediately caught up to the pack, running a 57.0 for her fastest 400 split of the season. The handoff between Bloom and Fitzpatrick was messy, slowing Fitzpatrick down to a 59.8. Warner then took the baton for the anchor leg, battling Wheaton senior Kathrine Wallace. "She went out like a bandit and she was fighting with [Wallace] who was also in our heat," Clarke said of Warner. "They were going back and forth and they both wore each other out." Warner beat out Wallace, but anchored the relay in 1:00.00, somewhat slower than normal. The team managed to take sixth by edging out Wartburg, who ran 3:58.92 in the faster heat. While the team reached All-American status, they did not have their best day. Two weeks ago at the All-New England Championships at Boston University, the same 4x400 relay team raced to 3:55.28. This may be attributable to the flat track at Illinois Wesleyan, which can slow down times. "It's hard in a final to look at the splits and say it wasn't good or it was. You have to look at the race," Morwick said. "That relay far exceeded expectations, I'd have to say." Sophomore Sarah Crispin qualified for the finals on Friday in the 800, guaranteeing her All-American status. She needed to have one of the top eight times in the preliminaries to qualify and she took fifth in her heat, running 2:15.46 for the seventh fastest time in the preliminaries and her own personal best. Her heat was incredibly close, with the top six runners in the heat finishing within .7 seconds of each other. "It was a really tight race," Crispin said. "Everyone got stepped on and everyone got elbowed. Coming around the last turn I was sort of boxed in. I just kept fighting like everyone else, and I got lucky." Saturday's final was six seconds slower for Crispin, who took last in the eight-person field, running 2:21.39. "I think she kind of emptied the tank on [the preliminary race]," Morwick said. "I wasn't upset with eighth place," Crispin said. "The race didn't set up quite as well for me in the finals as it did in the trials, and I wish I'd run a better time in the finals. But honestly, with where I was a month ago, I was just so happy to be at nationals with my team." However, the distance medley relay team was in over its head on Friday. The foursome of senior Katie Sheedy, Bloom, and freshmen Katy O'Brien and Laura Walls placed last in 12:20, running its slowest time of the season. Two weeks ago at the All-New England Championships the same team ran 11:59.80. O'Brien led off the relay in 3:46.8 in the 1,200, which put the team in last place heading into the second leg. Bloom took the baton for the 400 leg only fifteen minutes after competing in the preliminaries for the 4x400 relay, but managed to run 59.1 to pull the relay closer. "Bloom was awesome. She was the all-star of the meet, hands down," Morwick said. "Just having that nationals experience just really paid off." Sheedy then ran the 800 leg in 2:19 to pull the team out of last place. The Jumbos were seventh going into Laura Walls' anchor leg in the mile. Walls, however, had a tough race, running 5:15, a full 13 seconds slower than the 5:02 she ran in the All-New England meet. Freshman Catherine Beck also competed on Saturday in the 5,000-meter final. However, Beck did not finish her race, stopping after about a mile. Beck had felt sick on Thursday and has battled hip problems in recent weeks. "She tried to make a few too many moves early in the race and it tired her out," Morwick said. "She got about a mile into the race and started limping." With five All-Americans but expectations left unfulfilled, the meet was a mixed bag for the Jumbos. "We had a good time. All of us, with the exception of [Bloom], were at Nationals for our first time," Crispin said. "So we did our best. It wasn't a perfect weekend, but I think we all learned from our experiences and had a great time."
Bloomington, Ill. will be the site where the Jumbos vie for the biggest prize of the season. Nine women will represent Tufts at Illinois Wesleyan University this weekend for the Div. III NCAA Championships (Nationals), the most important meet of the season.
The last chance for some Jumbos came and went on Friday. Tufts looked to qualify a few more competitors for the NCAA Championships next week and solidify holds on other national bids. The day had its shares of ups and downs. "Ultimately that meet wasn't ideal. You're on a bus for three plus hours in traffic and you're running at times that you're not used to running at," coach Kristen Morwick said. The meet at Yale took place late Friday night, with some races not starting until 10:30 p.m. Yale has a banked four-lane track, which is uncharacteristically steep. Sophomore Sarah Crispin fell off the track after her 800 leg in the distance medley relay. The 4x400 meter relay team of senior Claudia Clarke, junior Rachel Bloom, sophomore Jillian Warner, and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick shuffled its order, but could not achieve the same success it has had this year. Last weekend at the All-New England Championships, the team raced to a 3:55.28. On Friday, however, with a new order, the team ran 3:57.35, finishing second to Lincoln University, a team the Jumbos will certainly see next weekend. Fitzpatrick led off with a slow split of 60 seconds. "She got sucked out way too fast with the Lincoln kids," Morwick said. "We took a little chance and it didn't work out so we'll go back to the old order." Bloom ran her fastest indoor split for the 400, with a 57.4. Warner and Clarke both had similar times to Bloom. Currently, Tufts holds the eighth seed in the 4x400 relay and will travel on Wednesday to Illinois Wesleyan for Nationals. To warm up for their 400s, Warner and Bloom both raced in the open 200. Warner took fourth (26.09) with Bloom right behind her in fifth (26.40). Both ran their fastest times of the season, with Warner setting a new personal record for indoor. After a great weekend last week in running events in which two relays set new school records, the Jumbos excelled in the field this week. Senior tri-captain Jess Colby took fourth in the weight throw with a personal best 13.90 meters. The throw broke the Tufts school record. "I feel like the throwers sometimes are overlooked a lot because they're maybe not as exciting or obvious as the running events. They've been working really hard," senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy said. "I was really happy for her to end her college career indoor with that performance." Her freshman teammate, Sarah Martin, took sixth with 13.66. Colby also took twelfth in the shot put with 10.78. Sophomore Sade Campbell took seventh in the high jump with 1.54 meters. Freshman Jenna Weir qualified provisionally for Nationals in the triple jump on Friday with her jump of 11.30 meters, surpassing the qualifying mark of 11.18. The mark was a vast improvement of her previous best of 10.98 and puts her 18th on the performance list for nationals. However, only 16 women competed last season in the triple jump at Nationals last year. Weir also jumped a personal best of 5.17 meters in the long jump to take third. "She had a great series," Morwick said. "It'll be tough. Two or three people would have to not declare for her to make it." Sophomores Raquel Morgan and Kenzie Rawcliffe were both looking for their best times of the season in hopes of getting trips to Nationals. Rawcliffe needed 8.60 seconds or better in the 55 meter hurdles to qualify provisionally, but failed to make the finals in the event, running 9.00. Morgan, who already qualified provisionally for nationals in the 5,000 meter run, needed a faster time to improve her place on the performance list, which is now 22nd. She had a rough day, however, running an 18:35.57, 40 seconds off of the provisional qualifying time. "I think she's just had a couple weeks of high stress and it's tough banging out a 5k every week," Morwick said. "She doesn't like running on the banked track because of her calves. The pace was really slow. The top seed dropped out and after that everyone just fell apart." Tufts fielded a different distance medley relay (DMR) team for the Last Chance Invitational, since they already have qualified for nationals and currently occupy seventh on the performance list. The team of senior Ayako Sawanobori, Crispin, and freshmen Catherine Beck and Katy O'Brien placed second, running 12:08.59 and becoming the second Tufts DMR team to qualify for Nationals. "That was pretty sweet. Everyone ran really well," Beck said. "Personally I wasn't too thrilled with my time because I feel like I forgot how to run shorter distances." Despite her modesty, Beck anchored the team with a 5:08 mile. Crispin led off with a 3:38 1,200, with Sawanobori running the 400 leg in 61 seconds and O'Brien running a 2:17.5 800 leg. While the Jumbos can only field one team in the event, the accomplishment of qualifying two teams for Nationals in the same event demonstrates the depth of this team. Crispin will compete in the 800 next week at nationals while Beck will compete in the 5,000. O'Brien will run the 1,200 leg of the DMR at Nationals. "We are going to have great DMRs forever because our middle distance is so strong," Sheedy said. "We could probably throw in another team. I don't think many teams could do that." Sheedy took second in the 600, running 1:40.55. Her teammates, junior Daniela Fairchild and sophomore Maggie Clary, took sixth (1:41.97) and eighth (1:43.67), respectively. Sheedy will run the 800 leg of the DMR at nationals next weekend. Tufts looked to qualify more runners for Nationals in the 800 and entered freshmen Laura Walls and Anna Shih and sophomore Kate Makai in the event. Walls, who will run the mile in the DMR next week, finished eighth in 2:19.57. Makai finished twelfth in 2:21.67 and Shih took seventeenth in 2:25.35. The women needed 2:17.70 to qualify for nationals. All that's left now for the Jumbos are a few workouts before the plane ride out to Illinois Wesleyan for the NCAA Championships. Members of the team will leave Wednesday for the weekend meet. "We have a couple things this week to do to tune up," Sheedy said "We'll probably practice handoffs and do some 200s and then get on a plane."
The name of this weekend's meet says it all. The Jumbos will be competing at the Trinity Last Chance Invitational at Yale today. It's the last opportunity for many athletes to try to qualify for NCAA Championships, which take place next weekend at Illinois Wesleyan. "We have a lot of national qualifiers right now," senior tri-captain Emily Pfeil said. "This is a chance to try to get some more, and make any last minute improvements to assure a spot on the list." The distance medley relay team of senior Katie Sheedy, junior Rachel Bloom, and freshmen Laura Walls and Katy O'Brien currently holds the fifth fastest time in the country for Div. III and has an NCAA bid locked. Freshman Catherine Beck is 11th right now in the nation in the 5,000 meters, as is sophomore Sarah Crispin in the 800. Sophomore Jillian Warner's 58.55 seconds - converted because of the undersized track at Boston University - puts her 13th in the nation in the 400. Yet, more women would like to join them at nationals. The 4x400 team of Bloom, Warner, senior Claudia Clarke, and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick are currently seventh in the nation in Div. III. But a faster time would put the team in a more certain position since only ten teams get bids for nationals. "The 4x400 will race again with a new order to see if we can get a little more out of that group," coach Kristen Morwick said. "Last week's time should be pretty safe, but I think we can run a bit faster with a new order." Fitzpatrick will lead off, followed by Bloom, Clarke and finally Warner, who will anchor the relay. The team will run against Wheaton and Lincoln, two teams who have also both qualified provisionally for nationals but have slower times than Tufts. Tufts holds a 3:56.08 while Wheaton has 3:56.69 and Lincoln has 3:58.94. Morwick expects the team to run a faster time this weekend because the runners will have had more rest. Bloom and Warner will run in the open 200 to warm up for the 4x400 relay, while both Clarke and Fitzpatrick will be fresh. Only Fitzpatrick was fresh for the relay last weekend. "We just have to make sure we're all healthy and focused on running fast," Warner said. "We worked on handoffs this week, and the team's chemistry has gotten much stronger since the beginning of the season so I'm sure we'll be able to perform at our best." Sophomore Raquel Morgan has also already qualified provisionally for Nationals in the 5,000, but since she is only 19th, with a 17:52.16, on the performance list, she will be looking for a faster time this weekend to ensure a spot. Last season at Nationals only fourteen runners competed in the 5,000. Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe will look to hit a provisional qualifying mark in the 55 hurdles this weekend. She needs 8.60 seconds or better to provisionally qualify. Last weekend at the All-New England Championships she ran 8.77. Realistically, though, she'll need to hit 8.57 or better, since 8.57 is currently 16th best on the performance list. Only sixteen athletes competed last season at nationals in the 55 hurdles. "For me it depends mostly on what mental state I'm in," Rawcliffe said. "I can't let myself get distracted by any other thoughts other than 'go faster.'" The hurdles can be frustrating for competitors because of the emphasis on form, repetition, and technique. A misstep or missed hurdle can mean the difference between a trip to nationals or staying home. However, Rawcliffe enjoys the intricacies of the event and the determination necessary for success. "I really have to be in tune with my body and understand how my joints and muscles are working together," Rawcliffe said. "Once you get the basics down you really have to be able to concentrate on your movements and be aware of everything you're doing." Freshman Jenna Weir will also take another shot at qualifying for nationals. She jumped 10.98m last weekend in the triple and will need 11.18 to qualify provisionally. In the long jump, she will need 5.73 meters to qualify, while her current best is 5.15. "The girls are capable of achieving whatever they set their sights on. We proved that last weekend with some standout performances," Pfeil said. The Jumbos already headed to nationals will also be running this weekend to tune up for next week. In the distance medley relay, Crispin will run the 1200 leg, senior Ayako Sawanobori will run the 400, O'Brien will run the 800, and Beck will anchor the mile. Walls will join sophomore Kate Makai and freshman Anna Shih in the 800. All three will look to qualify provisionally for nationals, although Walls has qualified with the DMR, and will need a 2:17.70 on the banked track at Yale. Sheedy will compete in the 600 with teammates junior Daniela Fairchild and sophomore Maggie Clary. Senior tri-captain Jess Colby and freshman Sarah Martin will also compete in both the weight throw and shot put after taking last weekend off. "Getting in an extra race for some people is very valuable, and with nationals over a week away, you hate to have kids sit idle for two weeks before the biggest championship of the season," Morwick said. "Unless they are injured or sick, they need to compete."
The whole season came together on Friday and Saturday for the women's track and field team at the All-New England Championships. Multiple Jumbos posted personal bests while others qualified for the NCAA Championships as Tufts took ninth at the Boston University (BU) meet. "It was just an unbelievable weekend and [we did] better than we thought that we would do," senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy said. "It's just crazy to have everybody do well at the same time." Sheedy ran the 800-meter leg of the Distance Medley Relay (DMR). The DMR team took third place in the event and set a new school record (11:59.80), dropping ten seconds off of the time they ran at the St. Valentine's Invitational two weeks ago, which qualified the team provisionally for Nationals. Freshman Katy O'Brien led off in 3:39, battling in a very competitive field, including Williams All-American senior Jenn Campbell. "She was all over the track, running in lane two and surging ahead of people," Sheedy said of O'Brien. "She just stayed with everyone." Senior Rachel Bloom ran the 400 leg and Sheedy took the baton for the 800. Walls anchored, fending off competitors from the University of New Hampshire and Trinity. "We knew she could do it," Sheedy said of Walls. "She's really talented and she's been working out really hard. She ran really tough and really gutsy." The DMR team's record-breaking third-place finish was ahead of UConn, Boston University and the University of Rhode Island. "We beat the kids that get paid to run," coach Kristen Morwick said. "That's all I've got to say." The DMR was among the many relay teams that had great performances for Tufts on Saturday. The 4x400 team shaved five seconds off their St. Valentine's Invitational time and ran 3:55.28, placing sixth. Senior Claudia Clarke came through in 59.9, breaking 1:00 in the 400 for the first time in her career. Sophomore Jillian Warner followed in 58.2, a personal best for her. Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick ran the third leg in 58.7 and Bloom anchored, running 58.2. The time is the second fastest 4x400 time in Tufts history, and puts the relay team in great position to make Nationals. The 4x800 relay team broke the Tufts school record for the third time this season with a time of 9:15.17, 15 seconds better than its time last weekend at the New England Div. III Championships. Sophomore Kate Makai led off in 2:20 and Sheedy followed on the second leg, also in 2:20. O'Brien ran the third leg in 2:17.7 and Walls anchored in 2:16.5. Both Walls' and O'Brien's times would have qualified them provisionally for nationals in an open 800. Besides relay teams, individuals had fantastic performances for the Jumbos. Freshman Catherine Beck smashed her previous best in the 5,000 by 15 seconds, running 17:39.57 and qualifying provisionally for Nationals. "Beck is the most focused runner I have ever seen," Sheedy said. "She listens to what the coaches are telling her and she does it. She just picks people off and runs really smart. We're really excited for her, and that should be enough to get her in." Sophomore Raquel Morgan also ran the 5,000, but her 18:15.03 was sub-par compared to her other performances this season. She has already qualified provisionally for Nationals and will look to improve her time next week so she can ensure her place at Illinois Wesleyan. In the 800, sophomore Sarah Crispin made the finals and ran her personal best, indoor or outdoor, with a 2:15.80, qualifying her provisionally for Nationals. Crispin has battled health issues all season and has been limited to only a few races this season, making a NCAA qualifying time that much more impressive. "It felt good to race again," Crispin said. "I've been training with my friends the whole time. I've felt like I've been preparing with everyone else." "Crispin has fought some demons and returned to being one of the top mid-distance kids in the region," Morwick said. Warner ran a 58.35 in the 400, fast enough to provisionally qualify for Nationals, despite it being her third race of the weekend. Warner also turned in a 58.2 in the 4x400 relay and had to run in the preliminaries for the 400. "Warner has emerged as one of the top sprinters in New England," Morwick said. Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe ran 8.77 in the 55 hurdles and made the finals. She is .17 seconds away from the NCAA provisional qualifying time and will go for the mark next weekend at the Last Chance Invitational at Yale. Clarke ran 1:19.26 in the 500, in addition to her 4x400 performance. Freshman Jenna Weir turned in a new personal best in the triple jump with a 10.98 meter leap and freshman Anna Shih improved her own personal best in the 1,000 by four seconds, running 3:01.89. Weir and Shih join Beck, O'Brien, Walls, and Fitzpatrick to form the cornerstone of a freshmen class that has been invaluable this season, while the rest of the team has risen to the challenge of leading this team. With the losses of seniors Jess Trombly, Emily Bersin, and Lauren Caputo as well as juniors Becca Ades (studying abroad), Megan Sears (injury), and Sika Henry and Melissa Gravely, who left for personal reasons, the Jumbos were not expected to perform at such a high level. Heading to nationals this season for Tufts will be the DMR team, the 4x400 team, Warner in the 400, Crispin in the 800, and Morgan and Beck in the 5,000. Rawcliffe could very well join them. "Everybody pulled together. There were no superstars. Everybody just did what they had to do," Crispin said. "There wasn't Jess Trombly winning five events. There was everybody running one good event and we all came together. Everybody did their piece."
The Williams juggernaut may have prevailed again, but a solid showing from the women's track team earned the Jumbos second place for the third year in a row at the New England Div. III Championships, held Saturday at Smith College. The Ephs took the meet with 212 points, with Tufts lagging behind in second with 125. Amherst finished third with 73 points. "Williams is unbelievable and has a really talented team," senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy said. "They beat us by a fair amount of points, so there was not really a chance for us to catch them at any point in the meet. They have so much depth and some really talented athletes." For Tufts, sophomore Raquel Morgan started the day off with a jolt, finishing second in the 5,000-meter run in 17:52.16. The time was fast enough to hit the provisional qualifying time for the NCAA Div. III Championships. Morgan stuck with the lead pack through much of the race, a pack that included Amherst All-American Carter Hamill, and then out-sprinted Colby's Karina Johnson at the end to take second. "When you get to the big meets late in the season you don't really concentrate on time as much as place," Morgan said. "You use time to qualify, but once you're there it's all about place. [Assistant coach] Liz Brown was yelling out splits, but I didn't even really listen to the time, because I was trying to hang with the leaders and concentrate on beating them." The 4x400-meter relay team of senior Claudia Clarke, junior Rachel Bloom and sophomores Kate Makai and Jill Warner provided its own excitement. Warner anchored the relay to first place in 4:07.43, beating Amherst by 0.20 seconds and Williams by 0.26 seconds. Freshmen Laura Walls, Anna Shih, and Katy O'Brien and Sheedy followed the 4x400 with a first place victory for the 4x800-meter relay, winning the event in 9:29.07, a new school record. "It was an awesome finish to the day, and we were all really excited," Sheedy said. "Everyone contributed. There was not one athlete who dominated for us and scored most of our points. We all worked together which was great." In the sprints, Warner and Bloom took third (26.49) and fifth (26.80), respectively, in the 200-meter dash. Bloom also took fourth in the 400-meter dash (1:00.43) and Makai took fifth in the 600-meter dash (1:40.61). In middle distance, Walls took third in the 800-meter run in 2:18.30 while in the 1,000-meter run sophomores Sarah Crispin, Sheedy and Shih took second (3:00.44), fourth (3:03.68) and sixth (3:06.47) respectively. Like many Jumbos on Saturday, freshman Catherine Beck improved her own personal record in the 3,000-meter run, taking third in 10:12.43. Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe took fifth in the 55 hurdles (8.91). In the field, freshman Jenna Weir took third in the long jump (5.15 meters) and sixth in the triple jump (10.54m). Meanwhile, teammates and fellow freshmen Catherine Greenlee and Kaleigh Fitzpatrick took fourth (10.62) and fifth (10.55), respectively, also in the triple jump. The 4x200 relay team of Warner, Clarke, senior Ayako Sawanobori and freshman Joyce Uang also took fourth in 1:49.08. The Jumbos showed considerable strength in the pentathlon. Rawcliffe used first place finishes in the 55-meter hurdles (9.03 seconds) and the long jump (4.96m) to score 3,066 points and earn second place overall. Junior Daniela Fairchild also placed well in the long jump (4.86m), taking third, as well as taking second in the high jump (1.53m) and third in the 800 (2:27.47). Her efforts scored 3,032 points and took fourth place in the pentathlon. The top four finishers in the pentathlon were separated by only 64 points. Teammate Maggie Clary took second in the 800 (2:27.09) and scored 2,897 points to take sixth in the pentathlon. "I thought the team did an amazing job pulling together for this meet," Morgan said. "Yeah, we lost to Williams, but regardless I think everyone left Smith feeling pretty fulfilled, whether it was their last meet of the season, or just the end of the beginning. The team has a lot of young talent, which brings for an optimistic future. So, with that, Williams better watch their back, because we'll get them next year."
The Jumbos will enter the Lyons' den this Saturday as they head to central Massachusetts for the New England Div. III Championships. The Smith College Lyons will host the meet this year, the same meet that Tufts has placed second in for the last two seasons to a bunch of purple cows. The clear favorite in this weekend's meet is Williams. The Ephs have taken first in seven out of the last eleven past Div. III championship meets and show no signs of slowing. Last weekend at Boston University, junior Katie Fulton set the 200 meter school record of 25.50, senior Kali Moody set the 800 school record with a 2:12.75, junior Katie Howard set a new school 400 mark with 58.20, the 4x400 relay set a record with a 3:52.07 and junior Caroline Cretti came close to the school mile record with a 4:55.41. Williams' spring semester does not begin until February, meaning athletes can spend the month of January training with no distractions. "They not only cover every event with a good athlete, they have multiple good athletes (and scorers) in each event," coach Kristen Morwick said. "We can't even cover all the events, and when we do cover an event, we hope we have a scorer, never mind a guaranteed winner or multiple scorers. So it's an uphill battle." Morwick coached at the school for four years before coming to Tufts in June of 2000. While she concedes that first place may be close to impossible for the Jumbos, Morwick believes that a three-peat of second place is certainly realistic. "We need our key people to just do what they've been doing all year and they'll score for us," Morwick said. "I know our kids will step up and put up a good fight." In the sprints, Tufts will rely on sophomores Jillian Warner and Kate Makai, junior Rachel Bloom, and senior Claudia Clarke. Warner will compete in the 55 meter dash, and both Warner and Bloom will run the 200. Makai and Clarke will try to score some points for the Jumbos in the 600, while Bloom will also compete in the 400. The middle distance events will be in the hands of freshmen Laura Walls, Anna Shih and Katy O'Brien, sophomore Sarah Crispin, and senior tri-captain Katie Sheedy. Walls ran the mile last weekend as part of the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team at Boston University, and will compete in the 800. Shih, Crispin, and Sheedy will form a strong pack in the 1,000, where the Jumbos hope to score big. O'Brien ran the 1,200 for the DMR last weekend and will run the 1,500 this weekend. Freshman Catherine Beck, who narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships last weekend in the 5,000, will run the 3,000 on Saturday, with sophomore Raquel Morgan running the 5,000. In the field, freshman Jenna Weir, who took first in both the triple and long jumps last weekend at the Tufts Stampede, will join freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick in those events this weekend. Senior tri-captain Jessica Colby and freshman Sarah Martin will compete for the Jumbos in the weight throw and shot put. The pentathlon will be an event for this weekend's meet, although it's only been offered at one meet this season (Dartmouth Relays - Jan. 9). Junior Daniela Fairchild and sophomores Kenzie Rawcliffe and Maggie Clary have been training all season to handle the pentathlon. Last season, junior Megan Sears, then-junior Melissa Gravely, and Fairchild took first, third, and fourth in the event. Despite the loss of Sears to injury, coach Morwick still believes the pentathlon will be a strong showing for the Jumbos. "[Rawcliffe] has a real shot to win the [pentathlon], and Fairchild could be right there as well. [Clary] should be top six," Morwick said. "The [pent-athletes] should be huge for us." The relays should be another opportunity for Tufts to place well. Warner, Clarke, senior Ayako Sawanobori, and freshman Joyce Uang will form the 4x200 relay. Both Warner and Clarke will run the 4x400 with Bloom and either Fitzpatrick and Makai. In the 4x800 relay, Walls, O'Brien, Sheedy, and either Shih or Makai will run. Crispin, Sawanobori, freshman Marissa Mann, and sophomore Samantha Moland will run the DMR. While the Ephs are the likely favorite on paper, the Jumbos will not go quietly. Last season, Tufts was within five points of first until the final event, and Morwick hopes the team will contend once again. "There's no magic to this meet. We are prepared. We have a great group of women on this team, and yes, we don't have the star power of a Williams," Morwick said. "But we have a lot of talent, heart, work ethic and spirit and some intangibles that can't be measured by the stats or rankings." "It's always a toss-up, and you can never really know what's going to happen, but we're not very concerned about the teams behind us," senior tri-captain Emily Pfeil said. "We're much more concerned with getting as close as we can to Williams, and who knows? Maybe we can upset a streak."
The women's track team spent the weekend looking to wrap up the regular season on a high note. Members of the team traveled to the Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Friday and Saturday and came back with one relay team qualified provisionally for the NCAA Championships and another that was very close. The women's distance medley relay team of senior Katie Sheedy, junior Rachel Bloom and freshmen Katy O'Brien and Laura Walls finished third (12:09.99), well under the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 12:18.80 for a banked 200 meter track. Tufts ran into some tough competition from Amherst and Colgate. Despite O'Brien's strong 3:41 1200-leg, Bloom, Walls, and Sheedy all found themselves racing alone. Amherst won the race in 11:53.03 with Colgate in second at 12:04.91. "We all run better when the race is closer, so hopefully at [the All-New England Championships] in two weeks we'll be able to improve our time with better racing conditions," Sheedy said. "We know we can all get our times down another few seconds, so that will improve the total time." Bloom ran 59.4 on the 400 leg, Sheedy hit 2:21 in the 800, and Walls anchored in a 5:08. To ensure a spot at the NCAA Championships, the team would ideally want to hit the automatic qualifying time of 11:50.10, yet that may be beyond its reach. But if they can shave off a few more seconds, the Jumbos may not find themselves very far down the list. In the 4x400 relay, the Jumbos very narrowly missed the NCAA provisional time. The team ran a 4:00.60, less than half a second over the 4:00.20 qualifying mark. Senior Claudia Clarke led off in 1:00.40, followed by Bloom in 1:00.60, freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick in 1:00.30, and sophomore Jillian Warner in 59.0. However, the foursome will have other chances to qualify in the weeks ahead. Individual races took place on Friday as well. Freshman Catherine Beck ran her first ever 5,000 on a track and finished in 17:54.08, narrowly missing the provisional time of 17:52.50. Although inexperienced, Beck still managed to finish 13th among a very competitive field that included Division I athletes and professionally sponsored runners. "I talked things over with Coach before the race and she was really supportive of me trying to go under 18 minutes," Beck said. "We decided I'd just try to run as many 43 second splits as possible. It really helped having everyone at the track during the race, counting laps and telling me my splits." Coach Kristen Morwick agreed. "We were shooting for 17:55 so she pretty much did what we hoped," she said. "I thought she ran a great race. It was awesome." Sophomore Raquel Morgan ran the 3,000 in 10:33.80, finishing 27th. Fitzpatrick also competed in the long jump hitting a personal best and finishing in 12th with a jump of 5.28 meters, despite having only three jumps because of the heavy competition. However, she pulled out of the triple jump. "She tweaked her knee a little bit so we pulled her out of the triple jump knowing we wanted her to run the 4x400," Morwick said. While the relay teams raced on the other side of the Charles River at Boston University, the rest of the Jumbos ran at the Tufts Stampede. The meet was a chance to rest some people for next weekend's New England Div. III Championships, and a last chance for others to try and qualify for the meet. Senior Ayako Sawanobori and freshman Joyce Uang both qualified for next Div. III's in the 400 dash, finishing second (1:02.72) and seventh (1:04.08) respectively. Unfortunately, freshman Marisa Pierce's 2.62 jump in the pole vault was not enough to qualify for her next weekend, narrowly missing the height of 2.77 meters. "Pierce just missed it in the pole vault," Morwick said. "She's improving quite a bit every week. Every week she gets a better height so it's too bad she didn't make the height." Freshman Anna Shih and sophomore Kate Makai took first (2:22.36) and second (2:23.32), respectively, in the 1,000. Sophomore Jenny Torpey took fifth in the 3,000 meters with a time of 11:07.38. Few women competed on Saturday, and many events had no Jumbo on the track. In the field, freshman Jenna Weir finished first in both the long jump (4.95) and triple jump (10.88) with sophomore Mackenzie Rawcliffe taking second in the long jump (4.93). Uang took third in the high jump, clearing 1.53m. Freshman Sarah Martin took third in the weight throw, setting a new personal best of 13.69 with senior Jess Colby taking fourth (13.25m). Colby also took fifth in the shot put (10.76m), tying teammate and fellow senior Katie Antle. The excitement of the day came out in the 4x400 relay. The team of sophomores Maggie Clary, Rawcliffe, Shih and junior Daniela Fairchild took first, beating out Middlebury by literally a nose. Fairchild topped Middlebury's Allison Williams, a senior, by .03 seconds. Fairchild got the baton with a small lead because of a good handoff and held a one-stride lead over Williams throughout the first lap. Coming into the final straightaway on the second and final lap, however, things tightened up. "I was thinking that she's going to either take two steps and outkick me or I'm going to dive," Fairchild said. "I got her by a shoulder." Fairchild, Clary and Rawcliffe will be competing in the pentathlon this weekend, and will have to make up for the loss of junior Megan Sears to injury. All three have spent the last few weeks polishing their performance specifically for this weekend's event. "A lot of teams don't focus on it much, so hopefully we can pick up some points," Fairchild said.
St. Valentine's Day isn't about candy and sweethearts for the women's track and field team. It's about running fast. The Jumbos will head to Boston University (BU) this weekend for the Valentine Invitational, where they will be looking to qualify some relays and some individuals for the NCAA Championships taking place in the middle of March. The 4x400 meter relay and the distance medley relay (DMR) will be the major focus this weekend for the Jumbos. "I think for both relays, the ultimate goal is to qualify for the nationals," coach Kristen Morwick said. To accomplish that task, the 4x400 relay will have to hit the provisional qualifying time of 4:00.20 for a banked 200 meter track like the one at BU. Tufts will send the team of senior Claudia Clarke, junior Rachel Bloom, sophomore Jillian Warner, and freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick to compete at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The order is, as of yet, undecided. At last year's Valentine's Invitational, the Jumbos broke the school record by almost two seconds, running it in 3:53.94, which gave the team the fastest time in the nation. Bloom is the only returning member of that 4x400 team, which included then seniors Jess Trombly and Emily Bersin and junior Sika Henry. "It was a little intimidating to be running against such fast Division I schools, but it is that high level of competition that pushed us to perform our best," Bloom said. "This year we are a much younger team, but I think both the DMR and the 4x4 have a lot of potential. I am excited about this upcoming meet because we are finally going to be facing the kind of competition that forces us to push ourselves." Bloom will also run the 400 leg of the distance medley relay, which will start at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Freshman Katy O'Brien will lead off in the 1200, followed by Bloom, senior Katie Sheedy in the 800 leg, and freshman Laura Walls anchoring in the mile. The relay will have to break the provisional time of 12:23 if it hopes to move on to Illinois Wesleyan, this season's site for indoor nationals. "The distance medley relay team is prepared to run well this weekend because we have worked very hard for the past few months and are very focused on this race," O'Brien said. "I think we are definitely capable of running a good time and hopefully by the end of the season we'll be able to qualify for nationals." "My advice to my teammates for this weekend is to take chances and just go for it. In a relay, you do it for your teammates, not just yourself," Bloom said. Morwick, while concerned about hitting the provisional times, has other concerns for her relay teams. "The immediate goal is to improve on our seed times, so we get in fast heats for the championships [D-III Championships, ECACs, All-New England's]," Morwick said. "I think we'd be pleased to run under 12:10 in the distance medley relay and under 4:00 in the 4x400." Besides the relay teams, freshman Catherine Beck will race the 5,000, sophomore Raquel Morgan will run in the 3,000, and Fitzpatrick will compete in the long jump and triple jump. All four events take place Friday evening. "For Beck, it will be her first 5k [this season], so we're hoping to get [great competition] at BU and see if she has a shot at a national qualifying time," Morwick said. The 3,000 is not an NCAA event, but Morwick would like to give Morgan a feel for big races. The coach's ultimate goal is for Morgan to join Beck in the 5,000 at the NCAA championships. "This week is a tune up [in the 3,000] and a chance to run against some good competition on a fast track," Morwick said. Both Beck and Morgan ran the 3,000 two weeks ago at Bowdoin, with Beck taking first (10:21.94) and Morgan in second (10:44.41). Last week Morgan ran her first ever indoor 5,000, finishing in 18:18.34. The provisional indoor standard in the 5,000 is 17:51. Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, will need to jump 17'9" in the long and 36'8" in the triple to qualify. She hit 35'6" in the triple at Bowdoin two weeks ago and hit and 17'3" a week before that in the long. While the team's top runners will be at Boston University, the rest of the team will compete this Saturday at the Tufts Stampede, the final regular season meet for the team and the last one held at Tufts. "This meet is basically a fine-tuning for D-III's, a last chance qualifier, or a shot at hitting a better time so people can be in faster heats in the championship meets," Morwick said. Freshman Anna Shih and Marisa Mann and sophomore Kate Makai will be trying for faster seed times in the 800 while senior Ayako Sawanobori and freshman Joyce Uang will do the same in the 400. Freshman Marissa Pierce will try to qualify for D-III's in the pole vault and freshman Katie Barksdale looks to qualify in either the 55 or the 200. Other athletes are preparing for the pentathlon, which consists of the shot put, the 55m hurdles, the high jump, the long jump, and the 800m.
Saturday marked another invitational and another first place finish for the women's track and field team. The Jumbos' 192 points (a 76-point margin of victory over second place Ithaca) were more than enough to give Tufts its third straight invitational win. "We graduated a lot of key people and lost a few more this year due to injury and personal reasons, so we weren't really sure what to expect," senior Jess Colby said of the team's success. "But everyone on the team has really stepped it up and is making an impact." Colby and fellow senior Katie Antle took third (11.06 meters) and fourth (10.65), respectively, in the shot put and Colby took third in the weight throw (12.97). Freshman Sarah Martin won the weight throw (13.38), joining the rest of the class of 2008 as key contributors to the team's success. "With the new freshmen, we're all able to work together and push each other a lot more," Colby said. "It's great knowing that the throws will still be covered after we graduate." In the sprints, sophomore Jillian Warner took first in both the 200 meters (26.56 seconds) and the 400 (1:00.23). Both times were personal bests for her. "I feel like I'm finally getting into good shape for this season, which is perfect timing since the large invitational meets are coming up soon," Warner said. "It feels great to perform well with the big meet coming up on Saturday, and hopefully I can continue to do well without injury" "She's handling a lot more work in practice this year, she never complains, and is always the first to volunteer for an event or relay," coach Kristen Morwick said. "Whatever the team needs, she is willing to do." Senior Claudia Clarke placed fourth in the 400 (1:00.65). Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick added to a great season by contributing 26 points and placing second in the 55 meter dash (7.62). Working together in the 600, sophomores Kate Makai (1:42.04) and Maggie Clary (1:43.20) placed third and fourth. Freshmen Laura Walls (4:47.17) and Catherine Beck (4:47.21) turned in phenomenal performances in the 1,500, placing first and second, with freshman Katy O'Brien (4:57.61) overcoming a case of bronchitis to finish sixth. Walls' and Beck's times were fast enough for both to qualify for the All-New England Championships at the end of February. For Walls, it's her third qualifying time for the All-New England's. Her times in the 1,000 (2:59.80 on Jan. 15) and the 800 (2:19.38 on Jan. 29) also qualify for the event, meaning she will face Div. I competition in all three races. Walls attributes her strong season to her teammates sophomore Sarah Crispin, senior Katie Sheedy and freshman Anna Shih. "We all take the Tuesday and Thursday workouts seriously and want to work hardest on those days to improve our times," Walls said. "It's great to be around them on those physically taxing days because we all share the same mentality. And when we line up together on race days, the mentality continues." Beck also ran the 1,000, placing fourth (3:09.22), in front of teammates Shih (5th - 3:11.17) and freshman Marisa Mann (6th - 3:12.21). Sheedy's 2:21.82 put her in second place in the 800, with junior Daniela Fairchild taking fifth (2:27.07). Sophomore Raquel Morgan continued her comeback with a second place finish (18:18.34) in the 5,000. Morgan let Ithaca's Payson Warlick maintain the pace and stuck on her shoulder the whole race, losing by only two seconds. Her time was fast enough to qualify her for All-New England, a remarkable feat for her first 5k. Fitzpatrick's points came mainly from the long jump and the triple jump. Fitzpatrick took first in the long jump, hitting 5.07 meters, and second in the triple (10.72) with freshman Jenna Weir taking third (10.66). Crispin competed in the 1,500 but did not finish the race. She has health issues and her return to the team this year is questionable. Junior Rachel Bloom and senior Ayako Sawanobori were sick with the flu and did not compete on Saturday. The Jumbos will compete this weekend at the St. Valentine's Invitational at Boston University and will also host the Tufts Stampede. The Invitational provides an excellent opportunity to qualify relays for nationals because of BU's banked track. The Jumbos will enter a Distance Medley Relay team (1200 - O'Brien, 400 - Bloom, 800 - Sheedy, 1600 - Walls) and a 4x400 relay team (Bloom, Warner, Fitzpatrick, Clarke). Beck will also compete in the 5,000. The prevailing story this season has been the freshmen, who have stepped up to lead the team. Between Walls, Shih, Beck, O'Brien, Fitzpatrick, Jenna Weir, Sarah Martin, Mann and the list continues, the Jumbos are in great shape for years to come. "They've come into the season with such a great attitude and pushed themselves very hard at practice," Warner said. "The girls contribute a lot in terms of scoring points during the meets. This team wouldn't be what it is without them." "[We] have a lot of enthusiasm because it is our first year of college indoor, so everything is exciting and new," Walls added. "The sophomores and upperclassmen are much more seasoned and know how to run the big races. We balance each other very well, I think, and that's why we've been scoring a lot of points on Saturdays."
Freshmen Catherine Beck, Katy O'Brien, and Laura Walls know what it's like to run together. They've been doing it for five months now and they're getting pretty good at it. In the open mile, the classmates traded off the lead with O'Brien in front on the first few laps and Walls taking over halfway through the eight-lap race. The teamwork helped the girls take second, third, and fifth in the event. O'Brien led the trio in 5:12.75, barely out-kicking Beck (5:12.98) on the final stretch, with Walls coming in at 5:15.30. All three qualified for the ECAC Championships. Beck cited the teamwork in the Jumbos' success. "It's awesome to have teammates around because you all work together," she said. The strong Tufts performance in the mile was just one notch on a great day for the Jumbos at the second Tufts Invitational of the season, held at the Gantcher Center on Saturday. Tufts demolished the competition, scoring 227.5 points and finishing first among thirteen teams. The closet scoring team was Keene State College with 92 points. In the sprints, junior Rachel Bloom led the Jumbos, taking first in the 200 meter dash (26.81) and third in the 55 (7.63). Bloom's two top-three finishes on Saturday followed a strong performance last week when she took first in the 400. "I have placed well in the last two meets," Bloom said. "However, it is still early in the season, so my times are not where I would like them yet." Despite her modesty, Bloom qualified for the New England Div. III Championships in the 55, and has already qualified for ECACs in the 200 and the 400 with her 1:00.04 finish last week. Freshman Kaleigh Fitzpatrick took second in the 200, finishing right behind Bloom at 27.01. Despite fouling in the triple jump, Fitzpatrick had a solid day in the field, and her 5.26 meter long jump was enough to nab first place and qualify her for ECACs. Fitzpatrick has performed well all season for the Jumbos, placing well in the 55 and the triple jump despite coming off a foot injury in the fall and resting an injured hamstring this past week. "It's really a credit to Coach [Kristen] Morwick and the girls on the team who have been working with me since this past summer," Fitzpatrick said of her success. Morwick looks ahead to the freshman returning at full strength. "As she gets healthier, she will be a major impact in the sprints and jumps," she said. Morwick has been impressed by the performances of this year's freshman class. Last week, Beck, O'Brien, Walls, and Anna Shih broke the school record in the 4x800 relay. The freshmen were equally strong this week as Jenna Weir took first in the triple jump (10.45m), Shih took fourth in the 500 (1:24.16), and Walls (2:21.36) and Marisa Mann (2:26.24) took second and fourth respectively in the 800, with sophomore teammate Kate Makai taking third in 2:24.12. "We had a great recruiting class that has been able to make an immediate impact," Morwick said. Freshmen weren't the only team members having a good day for the Jumbos. Sophomore Sarah Crispin (3:03.69) and senior Katie Sheedy (3:04.64) finished second and third respectively in the 1,000. Junior Daniela Fairchild (3rd-1:23.34) and sophomores Sade Campbell (5th-1:25.20) and Maggie Clary (6th-1:25.60) joined Shih to lead Tufts in the 500. Sophomore Jillian Warner (1:00.95) took first in the 400, followed by senior Claudia Clarke in third (1:01.74). Senior Ayako Sawanobori finished eighth in the 55 (7.86) and fourth in the 200 (28.44) and freshman Joyce Uang took sixth in the 200 (28.61). Sophomore Kenzie Rawcliffe also took third in the 55 meter hurdles (9.17). In the field events, freshman Marissa Pierce and sophomore Caroline Chow both cleared 2.30 meters in the pole vault to take second and third, despite both jumpers competing in the event for the first time. Senior Jessica Colby took second in both the shot put (10.93m) and the weight throw (12.76) and senior Katie Antle took third in the shot put (10.68m). "Overall, I'm pleased with all the performances this weekend, especially given how early in the season it is," Morwick said. "In terms of our progress, we are ahead of where we were this time last year, which is encouraging, but we also have some people just starting to get into it. We return a few people from abroad and some others from injury or other sports, so we look to be even stronger over the next few weeks."