Fifteen women qualified for the New England Div. III Championships, and some also qualified for the All-New England and ECAC Championships, following their performances at the Husky Carnival on Saturday.
Track And Field
Last week, women's track and field coach Kristen Morwick predicted a finish in the top three at this weekends Div. III New England Championships held at Springfield College. She predicted the finish despite the fact that the team is at one of its most stressful points of the year academically, and is currently strapped by injuries -- such as the loss of sophomore Jillian Warner due to a fall at last weekend's NESCAC Championship. The team made good on her predictions, taking second place in the event and improving its performance by one spot from last year's third place finish at the same event. Not only that, but several members of the squad earned qualifying times in both the New England Open next weekend and Div III National Championships at the end of May. However, the second place finish does still come with a catch -- the same one that was attached to last week's second place at NESCACs. It meant another team came in ahead of the Jumbos, and that team was the Williams College Ephs. The Ephs controlled the meet, winning with 180 points, compared to the 'Bos second place score of 86 points. Third place Amherst was just edged out, finishing with 80 points, while Colby was a distant fourth place with 53 points. A big reason for the team's success was senior tri-captain Jessica Trombly, who is now currently the best of New England's Div. III in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles. Trombly's time in the 400 (1:02.53) was national provisional qualifying time, while her time in the 100 (15.12) was a New England open qualifying time. She is .02 seconds away from a national provisional qualifying time in that event as well. Trombly was not the only Jumbo to benefit from the 400 hurdles, as classmate Emily Bersin earned fourth place and a New England open qualifying time with a 1:04.36 finish, just .06 seconds away from a the national provisional qualifying time as well. The Jumbo 4X400 relay team was the only other first place to be claimed for Tufts, but it did so with a national provisional qualifying time of 3:57.39. Tufts dominated this event, defeating the second place team from Williams by almost eight seconds. The duo of sophomore Rebecca Ades and senior tri-captain Lauren Caputo were at it again in the 3000 meter steeplechase. This time around, it would be Ades however, to cross the line in second place (11:05.46), while Caputo took third (11:08.10). Both times were not only personal bests, but were also national provisional qualifying times as well. "I wasn't expecting to do that well, but everything worked out in the right way," Ades said. There was a really strong girl [Shauneen Guarrahan of Amherst, 10:56.62] who paced the race and Lauren and I worked really well together throughout." Caputo had already qualified at the State of Maine meet back in April, but she improved on her time of 11:14.62, and therefore improved her chances of being selected for national competition. Both Caputo and Ades will be running in the New England Opens next weekend, where they hope to improve upon their times, and break the 11-minute mark. Also, competing in the heptathlon was junior Melissa Graveley, who placed third in the event with 3590 points, which was good enough to qualify her for the New England open meet. Other New England Open qualifiers included freshman Sarah Crispin in the 1500 meter run, who took fourth place in the event in 4:43.36, knocking almost five seconds off her personal best time. Sophomore Rachel Bloom also took third place in the 200 dash (25.96), but her 25.65 time from last weekend's NESCAC Championships already had her qualified for the New England Open meet. In the field events, senior Kate Gluckman had a season best throw in the discus, 39.62 meters, which was good enough for fourth place. She also took sixth place in the shot put with a 12.26 meter throw. Up next for the team will be this weekend's New England Open meet. After that, individuals have two more chances, the ECAC championship meet and the Last Chance meet at MIT to qualify for the nationals, held at the end of May.
What happens when you put three of the four members of a 4x400 meter relay team into one heat of a 400 meter dash? And not just any relay team, but one that earned a second place finish in the indoor NCAA Div. III National Championships held in March? The answer is domination, and that is exactly what the Jumbos demonstrated on Saturday at the first George Davis Invitational hosted by UMass Lowell. Though the meet was unscored, it gave the Jumbos one last opportunity to compete before this coming weekend's NESCAC Championship being held at Trinity. In the 400 meter dash, the Jumbos clogged the finish line, taking five of the top ten places -- three in the top five. Senior All-American and tri-captain Jessica Trombly set the mark in first place with a time of 57.87. Right behind her at 58.48, former relay teammate and sophomore Rachel Bloom came in second place, shaving 0.3 seconds off of her time in her second place finish at the Indoor New England Div. III Championships at the end of February. It was only then that other schools competing in the event were allowed a window. Tristin Johnson of UMass Lowell and Kate Viera of Bentley College earned third and fourth place, respectively. The third member of the indoor relay team, senior Emily Bersin, closed out the top five with a time of 59.80. With this performance, Bersin chopped off over a second from her 1:01.22 time in the same event at the Bantam Invitational two weekends ago. For the other Jumbos competing in the event, senior tri-captain Katie Higley came in at 1:01.86, taking seventh place, and sophomore Jillian Warner closed out the top ten with a 1:02.53 performance in the field of 23 entrants. In the 800 meter dash, freshman Sarah Crispin raced to first place with a personal best time of 2:19.02. Shannon O'Brien of Keene State took second place in 2:19.69 before junior Jumbo Katie Sheedy took third place in 2:19.86, also a personal best. It was the first time either runner has broken the 2:20 mark in this event. Freshman Sammy Moland took tenth place in the field of 27 competitors, with a time of 2:29.15. In her first attempt at the 3000 steeplechase, sophomore Rebecca Ades won the event in 11:37.40, ranking her fourth in the NESCAC. She also earned a second place finish in the 1500, with a time of 4:54.09, taking off over a second from her 4:55.74 time from two weekends ago. Tufts crushed the field in the 100m hurdles, with Trombly taking first place (15.71) and freshman teammate Mackenzie Rawcliffe right behind her in second place (16.42). There were only three events out of the twenty on the day in which the Jumbos did not score at least one team member in the top five. Other event winners included sophomore Arielle Aaronson in the 5000 (19:53.06), which she dominated by over a minute and a half. Junior Sika Henry earned first place in the high jump as well. Classmate Melissa Graveley took third place in the event with a personal best of 5'2". The field squad also enjoyed a day full of personal and season bests. "Overall, we had an excellent day," senior Jessica Gauthier said. "I think it was our time in season to step up. We are still training hard through the week but things just cliqued this weekend." In the hammer throw, junior Jessica Colby and Gauthier took second (130'10") and third place (130' 2.5"), respectively, each throwing a season best. Gauthier also had two personal bests, one in the discus (120'4") and another in the shot put (37'5.25"). Colby got a personal best with a shot put of 36 feet. "I was really happy with my performance," Gauthier said. "I finally did as well as I thought I could do in the shot put and discus." This meet marked the end of the early-season meets. The focus now shifts to team performance, beginning with this weekend's NESCAC Championships.
The last meet of the regular season provided the women's track and field team with its first scoring venture -- and the squad capitalized on the opportunity. Competing amidst a field of 13 opponents, the Jumbos emerged in the top spot at this past weekend's Silfen Invitational at Connecticut College. Not only did Tufts garner first place, but it did so in commanding fashion. Amassing a total of 201 points, the Jumbos tallied more than twice as many points as the second place finisher, Worcester Polytech, who finished with 97 points. The closest NESCAC foe was host Conn. College, finishing the day 6th overall with 60 points. "We had a great meet in terms of performances. We won the meet by quite a bit. It was just great weather and people are really starting to perform," assistant coach Sarah Deeb said. The theme of the meet was that of a last-chance qualifier, and two members of the team took advantage of the competition for just that purpose. In the 400m dash, junior Christine Hendrickson qualified through Div. III's with a sixth place finish in 1:02.45. Senior Megan DiBiase made it through to NESCACs in the 1500m run with her time of 5:15.24 as she raced to a 15th overall finish. The most impressive performance of the day was put in by sophomore Melissa Graveley. Leaping to a height of 5' 4.5" in the high jump, Graveley clinched first overall in the event. While Graveley hit a mark of 5' 4.25" indoors, the height she arrived at this time around qualified her provisionally for Nationals. Graveley was also the first Jumbo to cross the finish line in the 100m hurdles, taking seventh with a time of 17.38. "Melissa had a really good day, she just keeps getting better and she was really excited about her high jump performance," Deeb said. Another Jumbo who captured first place honors was senior Mary Nodine in the 3000m steeplechase. Her time of 11:28.73 qualified her provisionally for Nationals though she had little competition in the event. The closest finisher was fellow Jumbo junior Lauren Caputo, who placed second in 11:51.48. It was Caputo's first time running in the steeplechase, making her efforts all the more impressive. Given more rigorous competition in postseason action, Deeb feels that Nodine will no doubt rise to the occasion and achieve a better time. Junior Emily Bersin and freshman Rachel Bloom were another pair of Jumbos who grabbed ten points for the team with first place finishes. Bersin did so with a time of 1:05.41 in the 400m hurdles, while Bloom sprinted to first in the 100m in 12.75 seconds. In the 800m race, the trio of junior Katie Higley (2:22.28), and sophomores Katie Sheedy (2:23.72), and Sika Henry (2:24.78) clinched fourth through sixth places, respectively. Senior Myriam Claudio had a better day in the pole vault, taking second with a vault of 10'. Though other weeks have proved fruitful for the throwers, such was not the case this time around. In general, the throwers didn't have a great day, as their tosses didn't measure up to the progress of weeks past. However, building upon a very successful season, the throwers look forward to making up for lost ground at NESCACs this weekend. "No one was particularly thrilled with their throws, it was kind of an off week for everyone. But they're definitely excited to throw again this weekend," Deeb said. Junior Jess Trombly was absent from competition, as she was resting for the Penn Relays in which she will be competing over yesterday and today. Trombly will be taking part in the heptathlon and hoping to hit the National qualifying mark. "She'll still compete at NESCACs, she'll just take the rest of the week easy. It was obviously something to consider having her compete in a meet so close to NESCACs, but she's very fit, so she should be fine," Deeb said. The focus going into this weekend will be a second place overall finish at NESCACs, given that the team attained this goal last season. Williams will once again remain an indomitable track foe, but second place is well within the sights for the Jumbos. The team has only seen Wesleyan, Conn. College, and Trinity during the outdoor regular season, so other teams may provide competition in areas that the team is not aware of. Of the other NESCAC teams competing, Colby should be the biggest threat. "NESCACs is the focus for our outdoor season," Deeb said. "No one will beat Williams, they're too good and too deep, but second is definitely a goal for us. It'll be interesting given that the NESCAC is a very competitive league and meet. We're looking to do very well in events like the sprints and steeplechase."
After an unofficial meet in South Carolina, the women's outdoor track season was given an official start at last weekend's Husky Invitational hosted by Northeastern University. The non-scoring competition gave the team an opportunity to pick up where the indoor season left off within an outdoor arena. In true New England spring form, the conditions on the track were not the most agreeable for running and throwing. Gale force winds made some times slower than seed times entered before the meet and curtailed some throws made. However, many Jumbos put forth impressive efforts, with some recording marks and times that will put them well into the postseason. "It was a really good starting point for the team as a whole. Gale force winds that affected both track and field. We don't want to make excuses but the wind was not ideal," assistant coach Sarah Deeb said. "It was good to get out on a track in New England where the weather isn't really sunny and warm [like it was for the meet in South Carolina]." Perpetuating a theme of continuous weekly improvement shown by the throwing squad throughout the indoor and now outdoor seasons, junior tri-captain Jessica Gauthier broke her own school record in the hammer throw. Gauthier's throw was the fourth farthest in a field of 21, with her toss of 134' 2'' breaking a school record she set the week before. Sophomore Katie Antle and junior Kate Gluckman made lobs of 40' 0.5'' and 38', respectively, putting them at 7th and 8th overall. Antle joined junior Gwen Campbell in making impressive throws in the discus. Given that the discus was one of the last events to take place, results for the event were not yet posted as of yesterday, but Antle sent the discus sailing for about 122' and Campbell went just over the 119' mark. "The throwers had a great meet and they'll only get better as the season progresses," Deeb said. Also building upon initial efforts made in South Carolina during spring break, the 3000 meter steeplechase contenders put their best foot forward. Seniors Danielle Perrin and Mary Nodine went one-two, with times of 11:39.54 and 11:42.57, while event-newcomer freshman Emily Pfeil finished her first steeplechase in 12:52.70. With these times, the trio has qualified for the steeplechase event in the Div. III Championship meet. Senior Ashley Peterson, a newcomer to the 10K race, rounded out a field of five competitors with a time of 42:19.13. In her first attempt in the event, Peterson also qualified for the Div. III meet. The multi-events also gave performances that produced results that will propel three Jumbos into the postseason. As a conglomerate of seven events, the heptathlon requires athletes to record qualifying times and marks in the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin, and 800. In order to qualify for the postseason, heptathletes must compete in any combination of the seven events over two consecutive meets. Over spring break at Coastal Carolina University and the recent Husky Invitational, sophomore Melissa Graveley, junior Amy Spiker, and freshman Megan Sears have all accrued points totals in the seven requisite events that make them eligible for postseason action. Sears is clear through ECAC qualifications, while Graveley and Spiker have made the marks necessary to compete in the Division I New England meet. Within the jumps, sophomore Sika Henry cleared 5'2" in the high jump to rank 6th amongst the competition. The mark qualified Henry through ECAC's in the high jump. Graduate student Sarah Leistikow, still possessing a season of eligibility due to injuries sustained during her undergraduate tenure, vaulted to 9th in the long jump with a distance of about 15.1'. Freshman Rachel Bloom had a banner day in the sprints, taking part in the 100 and 200 as well as anchoring the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. The 4x400 team -- which also included freshman Katie Gadkowski, Henry, and junior Emily Bersin -- took top honors, winning the event in 4:02.88. Bersin made the Div. I qualifying mark in the 400m hurdles (1:06.01) in her 4th place finish in the event. Bloom placed third in both the 100 and the 200, making it through ECAC qualifications in the 100 (12.78) and through the most stringent Div. I New England qualifications in the 200 (25.98). Gadkowski joined Bloom in the 100, attaining the Div. III qualifying time with her 12th place finish in 13.51. Sophomore Claudia Clarke also met the Div. III mark with her 400 performance, finishing 9th overall in 1:02.65. "I think we're doing really well, people are working really hard and early season performances indicate that we are going to have a good season," Deeb said. "People need to improve and they will, it's a good place to be on Mar. 29th. We are all going to have to be a little patient, it's not May yet, but the returners are starting at a much better point than they did last year." The squad looks to work on technique and attempt more postseason marks this Friday at Springfield. Initially, the meet was scheduled to take place at Trinity in the form of the Trinity Invitational, but the Bantams are behind schedule in getting their track resurfaced and so the event got re-routed to Springfield. Springfield, Wesleyan, and Mount Holyoke will be some of the teams in attendance that will provide the Jumbos with some competition in this low-key event.
Upon entering the ECAC Championship meet, the women's track and field team had few expectations. The squad hoped to improve upon a few qualifying times and end the indoor season with a bang. Given that Tufts was hosting the event, there was much organizational work to be done in addition to gearing up for competition. However, the result of the weekend's competition was more than anyone expected as the team ended up fifth in a field of 51 with a total of 39 points. Amongst the teams that the Jumbos prevailed against was Williams College -- a squad that usually comes out on top -- who finished a place behind Tufts with 32.5 points. Perennial track powerhouse Wheaton College ran away with the ECAC top spot with 73 points. The impressive team performance put forth by the Jumbos was a result of everyone who competed putting in her best effort. The 4x400m relay team improved on its National provisional qualifying time as every leg improved individually. Even in the field of opponents who qualified automatically for Nationals, the Jumbos came out first and won the 4x400 event. Comprised of sophomore Sika Henry, freshman Rachel Bloom, and juniors Emily Bersin and Jessica Trombly, the team raced to an event-winning time of 3:56.10. As it stands, the 4x400 squad is ranked eighth in an event in which 10 teams usually make the trip to Nationals. At the ECAC Championship meet the Jumbos beat out teams that qualified automatically for Nationals including York College and College of New Jersey. "We did really well, we weren't expecting to win at all," Henry said. "We just all ran PRs, [Coach Morwick] told us to run certain times and we just all ran those times." Trombly improved on her preliminary time of 8.58 in the finals of the 55m hurdles to finish with a time of 8.52, garnering third overall. In other sprint events, junior Katie Higley and sophomore Claudia Clarke took the 500m event by storm. Higley finished fourth overall while Clarke ran to seventh with times of 1:19.98 and 1:20.96, respectively. Another duo who paired to attain points for the Jumbo team effort was sophomore Katie Sheedy and senior Mary Nodine in the 1000m run. Sheedy crossed the finish line in 3:06.25, good for sixth, while Nodine was one spot behind with a time of 3:06.35. Junior Lauren Caputo contended as the lone Jumbo in the 1500m run, taking sixteenth in the race with a time of 4:54.51. The multi-event pentathlon saw a successful performance from sophomore Melissa Graveley. She finished third overall with a total of 2805 points. Graveley squeaked ahead of Shannon Corliss of Colby College, who finished fourth with 2801 points. Fellow Jumbos, freshman Megan Sears and junior Amy Spiker, came in ninth and tenth, respectively, overall. In the throws, sophomore Katie Antle tossed the shot put a distance of 12.09m to get eighth overall. Junior co-captain Jessica Gauthier emerged as the lone Jumbo competing in the weight throw, tying for tenth with a throw of 13.70m. With the outdoor season starting imminently, the team performance at the ECAC Championship was a fitting end to a successful indoor season. The only fixture of the indoor season remaining is the NCAA Championship meet to which Trombly and the 4x400 team hope to travel. The 4x400 team will find out today whether or not it will be competing next week, but their spot is essentially sealed. "The team ending together on such a positive note is great; it gives us a positive attitude going into the spring season," Henry said. "Everybody just contributed and everybody competed hard in their events, and its every point that counts so it ended well."
After a three week hiatus, the Gantcher Center will again play host to a track and field event. This time around the women's track and field team will be squaring off against competitors from 134 schools in the ECAC Championship meet. In total, 22 Jumbos will enter the fray with goals ranging from making National qualifying marks to giving a final season best. "This is the largest championship our whole team can participate in, we are going for personal bests and season bests," coach Kristen Morwick said. "There are 134 schools attending, and the competition is national caliber, it will be a great meet. We're looking for season bests and possible NCAA qualifiers." Last week, the 4x400 meter relay team posted a time of 3:57.97 to better its National qualifying mark. The National provisional mark for the 4x400 is 3:56, which the squad of sophomore Sika Henry, freshman Rachel Bloom, junior Emily Bersin, and junior Jessica Trombly will attempt to achieve at ECACs. Though the 4x200 and 4x800 teams have less of a chance of heading to Nationals, neither will be competing in vain this weekend as both are attempting to chase down school records. Sophomores Ayako Sawanobori and Claudia Clarke and freshmen Katie Gadkowski and Meredith Dobbs will do so as the 4x200 contingent. Freshman Daniela Fairchild, juniors Katie Higley and Lauren Caputo and either sophomore Katie Sheedy or Mary Nodine will compete as part of the 4x800 squad. After last week's performance at the All-New England meet, the 4x800 team is only 2.3 seconds off the school record. The fourth Jumbo relay will be the distance medley relay (DMR), which has improved its time by over 30 seconds in the past two weeks. Last week saw senior Danielle Perrin ran the 1200 leg, Higley the 400, Sheedy the 800, and Caputo the mile. This same group will compete at ECACs as it tries for a season best and a possible Nationals bid. The throwing events will feature three Jumbos, one in the weight throw and two in the shot put. Junior tri-captain Jessica Gauthier will be the lone Jumbo in the weight throw, while sophomore Katie Antle and junior Gwen Campbell will represent the team in the shot put. Though none of the three are looking towards Nationals, they do anticipate a high level of competition that will hope to turn in some impressive season ending lobs. "There's really no chance of us going to Nationals [given the high caliber of competition in the region], but it is an opportunity for us to end the season on a good note," Gauthier said. "UVM and Williams should provide us with some great competition, it should lead to some good performances." Many of those competing in the relays will also have a chance to shine in their respective individual events as well. Bloom will run in the 55 dash while Clarke and Higley will both compete in the 500 race. Clarke and Higley are ranked eighth and tenth going into this weekend's competition. Trombly will try her luck in the 55 hurdles, in which she is ranked fourth overall with a seed time of 8.52 seconds. In the multi-events, sophomore Melissa Graveley, junior Amy Spiker and freshman Megan Sears will represent Tufts in the pentathlon. Graveley, Spiker and Sears are seeded fifth, tenth and eleventh based on performances from earlier in the season. The distance events will feature a variety of Jumbos in a variety of events. Nodine, Sheedy, and freshman Elyse Archila will be contending in a field of 29 in the 1000. Caputo will be the lone Jumbo in the 1500, while freshman Becca Ades and Perrin will team up in the 3000, with Perrin seeded at a promising ninth overall. "The meet will be a good way to end the season for this team, in one of the best seasons track has seen at Tufts. It'll feature strong competition and be a great culmination to a great season," Gauthier said.
When the women's track and field team set a goal of a second place finish at the New England Div. III Championship meet, it had no idea that it would achieve its' goal in such commanding fashion. While the squad was able to safely secure second place, it was the accomplishments of many individuals that told the story of the meet. Junior Jessica Trombly showed that not only can she break records, she can also shatter expectations. She went on to claim top billing in five events, far surpassing anything anyone expected. Trombly won the 200 meter, 400, and 55 hurdles races, as well as the long jump and filled in as the anchor leg on the victorious 4x400 squad. "We thought Wheaton would be there and we'd get some good races out of her, but we never thought she'd be able to do what she did," coach Kristen Morwick said. "It wasn't a cakewalk. It came down to the wire in some events, but she's just so competitive that she was able to edge everyone else out." While Trombly was seeded first in the three running events, she was not the favorite going into the long jump. However, when the top two seeds fouled all of their jumps, Trombly wanted to continue leaping even though the trials were taking longer than expected and giving her less time between events. On the last jump she catapulted to a PR of 17' 7.5'' to win by almost seven inches. Two minutes later she competed in the 55 hurdles final, winning in 8.61 which qualifies her provisionally for Nationals. With never more than 45 minutes to relax, Trombly accounted for 42.5 of the team's 101.5 total points. Though Trombly's point total was a substantial amount of points for an individual to contribute; it was still the efforts of a host of others that sealed the second place finish. "Even if Jess had only won two events we still would have come in second, there were a lot of people contributing," Morwick said. "It's just pretty impressive to score over 100 points at a championship meet like that." In what was deemed the most exciting race of the day by coach Morwick, junior Lauren Caputo added to the list of Jumbos who stood on the top level of the podium when she took first place in the 3000. With her seed time putting her at second going into the event, Caputo had a good chance of winning. She hung back at third or fourth for the majority of the race, until there was about a mile and a half to go. At that point, Caputo started to reel in Maya Kessler of Williams, and ran the last 300 of the race in a blistering 54 seconds to beat out Kessler, finishing a mere 0.29 seconds in front of the defeated Eph. Caputo's time was ten seconds faster than the 3000 she ran last week, when she ran a 15 second PR over her previous best time. "We had people from the team spread all over the track, cheering her on to beat out the Williams girl," Morwick said. "When she came down that last straightaway we were all going crazy, it was the most exciting thing to watch." In keeping with a stronger mid-long distance showing, sophomore Katie Sheedy and senior Danielle Perrin teamed up to finish fifth and sixth in the 1000. Their times of 3:04.46 and 3:04.80, respectively, qualified them through the Div. I Championship meet. Others who qualified for the postseason were the three pentathletes -- sophomore Melissa Graveley, junior Amy Spiker, and freshman Megan Sears. Graveley finished fifth overall with 2792 points, and Spiker also scored points in her seventh place finish with 2605 points. Sears was one spot out of contention, finishing ninth with 2573 points, but the trio have qualified for the ECAC Championship meet. In the sprints, freshman Rachel Bloom had a banner day, taking fifth in the 55 (7.52) and the 200 (26.35). She also ran the fastest split of the season in the 4x200 relay in 25.4 as the third leg, helping pull the squad from sixth place to third. Sophomore Sika Henry also ran a speedy leg of the 4x200, boding well for the squad's chances to qualify for Nationals. Junior Katie Higley added more points to the team total in her fourth place finish in the 600 race in 1:41.12. By putting people in events where they could excel, the Jumbos were able to realize a second place finish at the Div. III New England meet. Though there were people who contributed more points than others, it was a team effort that led to the desired team finish. "This is the one really big championship meet we go for as a team, we put everyone in events that they belong in and it worked out this year," Morwick said. "It's one, if not the, highest finish by a Tufts track team, and that really puts us on the map."
In a stunning turn of events, defending National Champion Wheaton College has opted out of the upcoming Div. III New England Championship meet. Wheaton has instead decided to compete in a more rigorous USA Track and Field Open New England meet being held at Harvard on Sunday. Without the Lyons posing an indomitable threat at securing the top spot, Tufts has entered the fray to possibly move up in the standings. While Williams College is the odds on favorite, the second overall team ranking is now an attainable goal for the squad. The only sticking point is that teams made adjustments to their final rosters based on the presumption of having to work around the Lyons and their strengths. The rosters were due in Wednesday night and it was only after then that coaches learned that Wheaton would not be competing. However, the Jumbos are still in good position to garner a previously unthinkable second place finish. "People planned their line-ups based on Wheaton being in the meet, so that's a bit frustrating," coach Kristen Morwick said. "But it actually works out for us. We could be 70 to 80 points behind Williams, but we have the potential for a solid second now that Wheaton's not there." A contributor all season, junior Jessica Trombly boasts the top seed times in three events -- the 55m hurdles, 200, and 400. Trombly's seed time of 8.52 seconds in the 55 is three-tenths of a second faster than Colby's Karima Ummah. Within the shorter distances, the 600 should prove fruitful for the Jumbos as three people are seeded in the top nine. Sophomore Claudia Clarke is seeded highest at fifth, with junior Emily Bersin right behind in sixth. Fellow junior Katie Higley is filling in at the ninth spot, but has the potential to move up and score points given the caliber of competition at the meet. "Without Wheaton that's huge for sprints, and Trombly could win three events," Morwick said. Seeded a full six seconds ahead of the nearest competitor, the 4x400 team should handily win the event as it also strives to meet the National qualifying mark. The 4x200 relay squad has a time of 1:48.21 going in the Championship meet, seeded second to a speedy Mount Holyoke. There are no Jumbos in either the 800 or 1500 because it was felt that people who could be placed in those events could be better used elsewhere. Higley and sophomore Katie Sheedy both could have been put in the event, but both would have to run huge PRs to score points in the event. Sheedy will be used in the 1000 and both can be used more effectively in the 4x800 relay. In the distance events, junior Lauren Caputo is set at fourth for the 3000 but could get as high as third with Wheaton gone. The three pentathletes -- freshman Megan Sears, sophomore Melissa Graveley, and junior Amy Spiker -- should all be able to cut into the top eight point scoring positions. Though Colby and Keene State should provide some competition for the Jumbos, it seems that the squad will have little competition in going for the second spot. The absence of Wheaton is disheartening in that it is a bit of a slap in the face of the Championship meet, but it opens up the meet for the Jumbos. "I'm proud of the team, everyone who was on the team before has come back stronger and is tougher, and the new people are stepping up really well," Morwick said. "It's just been a smooth transition and we're ready for this weekend."
Though the first three competitions featured in the women's indoor track and field schedule did not display a full roster, those able to compete put forth a promising start to the season. The Husky Carnival, Holiday Classic, and Dartmouth Invitational only featured a few Jumbos, but many earned postseason berths for their early efforts. "We were only competing with a half to a third of the squad in each of these meets," coach Kristen Morwick said. "So these first few meets were really for those who wanted to race and were ready to go. It was an opportunity for those who had the facilities to train over break to get in some race experience." The Dartmouth Invitational offered first class competition from around the NESCAC and beyond. While athletic powerhouse Williams College took fourth overall at the event, the track and field jaugernaut of Wheaton College ran away with the meet, topping the host of the event, Dartmouth, by more than 10 points. "One downfall of big open meets like that is that there are so many runners not affiliated with a college," senior Kristen Munson said. "It makes the competition that much tougher. But most of us go to Dartmouth to just get another race in, it's a chance to show what people have done over break." Clearing a mark of 10' 6'', senior tri-captain Myriam Claudio broke her own pole vault record on her way to a 5th place finish. However, the day's events turned bittersweet during the 4x200meter relay, as Claudio ran a leg of the fourth-place relay but ended up getting tripped in the process and sustained a minor ankle injury. Rounding out the speedy relay team was a trio of talented freshmen in Rachel Bloom, Katie Gadkowski, and Amber Woods. Bloom's time of 7.67 in the 55 meter dash qualified her for ECACs, setting a speedy precedent for this early point in the season. Sophomore Sika Henry also qualified for ECACs, competing in the high jump and clearing a height of 5' 2.25''. The indoor pentathlon proved a fruitful venture for both Jumbos competing. Junior Jessica Trombly placed fifth overall with 3085 total points, and placed herself in second on the list of the greatest Tufts pentathlon point totals. Fellow competitor sophomore Melissa Graveley qualified for the Div III championships with her pentathlon performance. The distance squad of junior Lauren Caputo (10:45.45), freshman Becca Ades (10:54.55), and seniors Kristen Munson (10:56.29) and Danielle Perrin (11:06.67) had a strong showing in the 3000, all fresh off the cross country season. One venue in which many Jumbos competed was the Holiday Classic, which occurred before break on Dec 14th. As a unit, the throwers demonstrated a show of force on home turf. Taking the helm of this evolving throwing squad is coach Rebecca Brooks, a 2000 graduate of Williams and National Champion in the throws. Sophomore Katie Antle catapulted the shot two feet past her old personal record, breaking 40 feet for the first time. Her mark was enough for third place overall and qualified her for Div I New Englands. Junior Gwen Campbell was one place behind Antle and was equally impressive with her PR of 36' 8''. In the weight throw, the trio of junior tri-captain Jessica Gauthier, sophomore Jessica Colby, and Campbell garnered third through fifth places, respectively. "(Throwing) is an area where we'll really surprise some teams," Munson said. "Williams has traditionally been strong, but with efforts like Katie putting on two feet that's substantial. And Rebecca is going to be a great help." In the weekend before the Holiday Classic, the Husky Carnival hosted by Northeastern University played host to some additional remarkable results. Trombly made her way onto another record list in the 500. Her time of 1:16 got her a third place overall finish and also placed her second on the list of fastest 500 times posted by a Jumbo. In the same race, Henry (1:21.47) and sophomore Claudia Clarke (1:21.61) made their way to sixth and eighth on that same Tufts list and in the process qualified for the Div I New England meet. Not to be outdone, Perrin (10:50.43) and senior Mary Nodine (10:50.85) captured third and fourth in the 3000m run. Their times were good enough to qualify them for ECACs in an event that no Jumbo could qualify for at the Div III level this time last year. There are still many newcomers to the squad who have yet to set foot on the track in a competitive arena, and this weekend's Quad Meet will provide a ripe opportunity for them to showcase their talent. "We've got a good young crew, we're going to be a lot better than last year," Morwick said. "There are big gains in sprints, jumps, hurdles, and more flexibility in relays. So far, we see a lot of new people filling in, a good sign for early in the season."
Nearly 50 Div. III teams from New England, New York, and New Jersey will close in on the Gantcher Center this weekend, as Tufts hosts the ECAC Championship meet. The women's track and field team will use the event as an opportunity to compete against the division's best, as athletes work to improve their times for the upcoming National Championship meet. The ECAC Championship marks the last indoor postseason meet before the NCAA Championships. Held this year at Ohio Northern College in Lima on March 9 and 10, the NCAA meet is an event that all indoor athletes strive to qualify for. With the ECAC meet this weekend, many competitors will be given their last chance to either make it to the NCAA or improve upon their qualifying marks. "Most teams use this meet as a last chance qualifier and aren't as interested in the team score," coach Kristen Morwick said. "We're hoping to improve our performances and get some National qualifiers." A constituent of 17 athletes will represent the Jumbos, 14 competing in individual events and relays and three competing solely on relay teams. Within this talented group of athletes, the 4x400m relay team is especially eager for this weekend's competition. The team is comprised of freshman Sika Henry, junior co-captain Myriam Claudio, and sophomores Emily Bersin and Jess Trombly. Although the relay has already qualified for Nationals provisionally, it is looking to improve its mark and thereby increase its chances of getting to the NCAA meet. There are two levels of qualification for the NCAA meet: provisional and automatic. If the automatic time is achieved than the individual or relay team who posted the time is guaranteed a trip to Lima, Ohio. However, if the provisional time is met, that individual or relay team is then placed on a list of potential NCAA meet contenders. The better the time posted, the better the team's ranking on the list. Each NCAA event has a specific number of slots, and if enough teams meet the NCAA cutoff than the standby list will be meaningless. But if too few teams make the automatic cutoff, then teams from the provisional list will be allowed to compete at NCAAs, with the top slot going to the fastest team. Last weekend, at the All-New England Championship meet, the 4x400 team posted its fastest time (4:00.01). The team will be looking to drop about two seconds between the four people in order to get its time into the 3:58.00 range. Only two teams have qualified automatically for the 4x400 with a time of 3:56.00, so any team within the 3:57.00 to 3:59.00 time frame has a chance of making the cut. The Jumbo relay team will look to SUNY-Cortland and Williams College to provide healthy competition. "We're ranked fifth going into this weekend, so as long as we get first or second in our heat we'll have run a good time," Claudio said. "It'll be a great race to watch since this is our last chance to get a better time, and we'll definitely be going for it." In addition to the 4x400 relay, Claudio and Trombly will be competing in the 400 dash, both with hopes of qualifying for Nationals. Claudio (59.40) has already made the provisional time of 59.70 and will be looking to better her time in hopes of advancing on the provisional list. Trombly has not run the 400 dash event since the end of January, and looks to improve upon her 60.34 finish in that race. "I ran the 400 a month ago, but if I run what I have been doing in the relay I should have a good chance of qualifying for Nationals," Trombly said. "The other goal is to run faster in the 4x400 relay, we really have a good chance of making it to Nationals." Sophomore Sushanna Mignott will also be attempting to leap to Nationals in the triple jump. Mignott's best jump this season was 36", which is six inches off the NCAA provisional mark. The pentathletes senior Sarah Leistikow and freshman Melissa Graveley will also compete this weekend, coming off impressive performances at the Div. III Championship meet two weeks ago. Sophomore Amy Spiker will represent the Jumbos in the 55 hurdles. The other relay team entered this weekend is the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team, comprised of freshmen Claudia Clarke and Katie Sheedy, sophomore Lauren Caputo, and junior Mary Nodine. The DMR ran its best time last weekend (12:31.41), having made the provisional qualifying mark of 12:39.00. They also hope to improve their time to ensure that they make the trip to NCAAs. Sheedy will also compete with senior Colleen Burns in the 800 race, Caputo will race in the 1,000, and Nodine will perform in the 1,500. Rounding out the Jumbo squad competing this weekend will be freshman Megan McCarthy in the 500, junior Ashley Peterson in the 3,000, and throwers freshman Katie Antle in the shot put and sophomore Jessica Gauthier in the weight throw. While the team is not heading into the meet with the hopes of scoring big points, it is anticipating performances that could carry it to the NCAA Championships. The ECAC Championships get under way today at 10 a.m. and continue through tomorrow.
The women's track team began the second semester on a positive note, placing second in a competitive field of eight teams at the Tufts Invitational on Saturday. While Div. I UMass-Amherst maintained a strong lead on the competition, the Jumbos managed to fend off the other six teams. "This was a great meet back from break," coach Kristen Morwick said. "The team did extremely well, especially against a Div. I sprinting powerhouse like UMass. Their strength was in the sprints, and that's just not where we put people." The Jumbos used the meet as an opportunity to gauge what runners were capable of coming off winter training. Judging by the times and distances posted by the team, individuals made the most of the winter break, as everyone came back in competitive shape. "There were personal bests throughout every event group and transcending each class from freshman to seniors," junior Sarah Foss said. "So it looks as if everyone's work from winter break really paid off." Among the notable performances were five individual first place finishes by the Jumbos. In the sprints and middle distances, first place honors were earned by junior co-captain Myriam Claudio in the 400 meter dash (1:00.80), freshman Katie Sheedy in the 800 run (2:25.97), and sophomore Jessica Trombly, who came off injury to take the 200 dash (27.01). Junior Mary Nodine also came off injury to post a first place victory in the 1500 run, while classmate Sarah Foss posted a personal best to take first in the 5000 run (19:09.56). In the 600, sophomore Emily Bersin nearly edged out national champion Mary Proulx from Keene State College, but instead finished only one second behind with a time of 1:42.88. Senior Colleen Burns placed second behind Sheedy in the 800 with a time of 2:26.94, while sophomore Lauren Caputo ran a personal best of 3:09.42 to capture second in the 1000. Also posting a personal best was senior Sarah Leistikow, who earned an impressive third place in the long jump with a distance of 4.97 meters. The throwers represented the Jumbos well in the shot put competition, putting three Jumbos in the top eight. Freshman Katie Antle threw a personal best of 11.12 meters for third place, while sophomore teammates Gwen Campbell and Jessica Gauthier also earned personal bests on their way to sixth and eight place finishes, respectively. "We got a lot of points and were very close to UMass, and we got a lot of great performances especially for so early on in the season," Claudio said. "It shows that the training is starting to really pay off." Claudio had another successful weekend, teaming up with Trombly for a first place romp in the 4x400m relay. The team produced the second fastest time in New England behind Wheaton with a finish of 4:05.05, beating the closest team by a full ten seconds. Claudio also set another school record in the pole vault with a leap of 9' 6'', taking sixth place. Fellow jumpers sophomore Amy Spiker and freshman Melissa Graveley placed sixth and eighth in the high jump. Rounding out the jumpers was sophomore Shushanna Mignott, who joined Leistikow in the long jump to finish in sixth place, and also racked up a fourth place finish in the triple jump. In the distance events, senior Heather Ballantyne and junior Megan DiBiase placed fourth and sixth in the 3000 run with times of 11:19.71 and 11:44.42 respectively, while sophomore Lauren Dunn finished third place in the 5000 run (19:35.53). The middle distances saw an impressive second place finish by freshman Claudia Clarke in the 400 (1:02.84). After this weekend's promising start to the season, the Jumbos are hoping to continue their success against other NESCAC teams. The opportunity will come this weekend as the team travels to Bowdoin to face off against the Polar Bears. While strategy was relatively low key in this past weekend's meet in favor of seeing how people performed in each event, it will play a dominant role this coming meet. "The team looks good," Morwick said. "We may have to strategize a little to try to beat Bowdoin. As long as we keep getting people in first and second places, we'll get the points we need to win. We'll think more carefully about what events we put people in."
With two meets in Las Vegas over spring break and one this past weekend at Northeastern University, the women's outdoor track and field season is officially under way. Coming off a less than satisfying postseason in indoor track, the Jumbos are looking at the outdoor season as their opportunity to peak. The two Las Vegas competitions provided a chance for the team to focus purely on training. "We got in a good week of solid training and team bonding," sophomore Lauren Dunn said. "The meets were low key and gave everyone a chance to get adjusted early on to the outdoor track." Though the meets were not scored, there were several impressive early season performances. Sophomore Jessica Trombly wasted no time as she qualified provisionally for Nationals in the 400 meter dash (58.17). "It was great to qualify early on in the season. I feel like it was a combination of coming off indoor in really good shape as well as having good competition," Trombly said. The strong sprint core continued to post impressive times. Junior co-captain Myriam Claudio placed seventh in the 100 dash (13.02) and 11th in the 200 dash (26.38), both times crossing the finish line with promising early season marks. A wrist injury has rendered Claudio unable to compete in the pole vault, but she could be back as early as next week. Freshman Sika Henry joined Claudio in the 200 (27.65), racing to 13th place.In the jumps, senior Sarah Leistikow leapt to a PR of 17'4'' in the long jump on her way to a third place finish. While in Las Vegas, the team spent some time with John Powell, a world record holder in the discus. It was time well spent, as many of the throwers landed PRs. Freshman Katie Antle threw for a PR in the shot put (39'1''), good for 5th place, and sophomore Jessica Gauthier had PR's in all four of the throwing events in which she competed. "We are doing better outdoors just because we've trained really hard and we're in good shape. A lot of people just enjoy the outdoor season more. I'm excited for season to get started," Trombly said. At Northeastern this past weekend, some Jumbos encountered hometown competition while qualifying early for the postseason. Running essentially by herself, Dunn blew away the competition by almost two minutes in the 10,000. Her time of 40:15.24 was by far a PR and also serves as a qualifier for the Div. I Championship meet."The race went really well, I ran very even splits," Dunn said. "I had huge support from my teammates, which was really nice. Spring break really helped, it gave me a chance to get some mileage in and focus just on running." Trombly was another event winner, taking top billing in the 200 (26.33), an effort that also qualified her for the Div. I Championships. In addition, she leapt to fourth in the 100 high hurdles (16.25) and ran a leg of the 4x100 and the 4x400 relays. Claudio rounded out the Div. I qualifiers with her sixth place finish in the 400 (59.72).Sophomore Sushanna Mignott raced to an eighth place finish in the 100 (13.28). In the 800 race, sophomore Lauren Caputo ran an impressive early season time of 2:25.14 en route to a seventh place finish.In her first 1500, freshman Katie Sheedy captured eighth place with a time of 5:02.03, boding well for her future in the event. Tufts was also well represented in the steeplechase, as veteran junior Mary Nodine, senior Heather Ballantyne and sophomore Bethany Arrand competed. The trio placed third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.The throwing contingent featured Antle, who placed fifth in the shot put (37'10 '') and seventh in the discus throw (110'). Antle is in the process of learning the javelin and hammer throws to add to her arsenal. Sophomore Kate Gluckman, also a member of the women's basketball team, joined the track squad for the spring season and competed in the shot put, finishing behind Antle in sixth place (37' 7"). "At this point, we need work on the technical events, but that's typical at this point early on in the season," coach Kristen Morwick. "We are way ahead of last year due to a great week in Vegas. It's early, but in three weeks we should be ready for the NESCACs at Bates." This weekend the Jumbos will travel to Lewiston, Maine for a meet which will feature Bates, Colby, Southern Maine, Mt. Holyoke, and Wellesley.
Neither cold, nor wind, nor dark of night could stop the women's track team from doing what they set out to do in Lewiston, Maine last Saturday: win the meet. The Jumbos competed against Colby, Bates, the University of Southern Maine, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley. With a total of 210 points, Tufts beat every team but Colby by at least 80 points. The White Mules provided the Jumbos with their only serious competition, finishing in second with 200 points."It was close," coach Kristen Morwick said. "We won a lot of events which is good in terms of championship points, but in a small meet like this weaker teams can still sneak up on you by scoring points for fourth through eighth places." A poorly organized meet that ran almost three hours over schedule literally left some runners and throwers out in the cold. Temperatures on an already cold day dropped as day turned into night, forcing some athletes, late in the day's schedule, to compete in undesirable conditions. Despite the dismal conditions, many runners set PR's or qualified for the postseason. The throwing squad, moreover, continued its recent surge of improvement. En route to a second place finish in the discus, freshman Katie Antle threw for a PR of 114', and also placed fourth in the shot put (37'). Sophomore Kate Gluckman established a PR in the shot put at 38', barely edging out Antle for third in the event. "We practice every day and really work on technique," Antle said. "Every meet we just really want to do better. We set goals and reach them and we cooperate with each other; it fosters a good team morale."In the sprints, junior co-captain Myriam Claudio captured first in both the 100 (12.85) and 200 meter (26.46) dashes. Claudio's 100 time was a PR and was one one-hundredth of a second off the Div. I qualifying time of 12.84. Sophomore Shushanna Mignott finished the 100 in a PR of 13.24, good for third place. Mignott also leapt to a second place finish in the triple jump (34'). Freshmen Meghan McCarthy and Katie Sheedy, and sophomore Emily Bersin, joined Claudio on the 4x400 relay team that set a track record (4:23.50). "It was dark, cold, windy, and almost 7 p.m. by the time the 4x400 team ran. I give a lot of credit to them, that won the meet for us," Morwick said. The 400 hurdles proved a fruitful event for the Jumbos as Bersin (1:09.12), Sheedy (1:12.98) and McCarthy (1:13.19) took first, second, and third place, respectively. Sophomore Sarah St. Pierre ran a PR (1:24.21) on her way to a seventh place finish in the event. Sophomore Amy Spiker had a solid race as she placed second (16.69) in the 100 hurdles. Sophomore Lauren Caputo and junior Mary Nodine ran both the 800 and 1500 races in an effort to get some speed work in. Caputo ended the day fourth in the 800 (2:33.02) and second in the 1500 (5:01.38), while Nodine finished fifth in the 800 (2:34.65) and third in the 1500 (5:03.55). In the distance events, senior Heather Ballantyne set a PR in the 3000 steeplechase (12:27.67) as she ran and leapt to third place. Sophomore Bethany Arrand proved the most successful Jumbo distance runner, qualifying for the postseason in the 10,000 run. Arrand ran for a PR of 41:03, which qualifies her for ECACs and brings her close to the Div. I qualifying mark. Senior Sarah Leistikow won the long jump with a leap of 16' 6''. This weekend's Springfield Invitational will provide a unique opportunity for the veteran Leistikow, as well as for freshman Melissa Graveley and sophomores Jessica Trombly and Amy Spiker. The meet will provide the quartet an official venue at which to compete in the heptathalon. Consisting of the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 dash, long jump, javelin, and 800 run, the heptathalon tests its competitors in every facet of track and field. The main reason that most meets don't hold an official heptathalon event is that it spans two days. Usually the first four events are held on a Friday and the next three on Saturday.Normally, heptathletes compete in as many of the seven events as they can during the regular season in preparation for the real thing at the championship meets. This weekend's meet will host the only official regular season heptathalon."This meet will be very telling for the heptathletes, it's the first and only chance of the season for us to compete," Leistikow said. "Usually I'm the only one taking part in the event; it's great to have other people doing it with me. We have different workouts from everyone else, so it makes the training easier when someone else is competing with me."The non-scoring nature of this weekend's meet will allow the Jumbos to try some runners in new events, and will provide another opportunity in the short outdoor season to qualify more athletes for the postseason.
A sea of spandex colors bombarded the eyes of spectators as 72 East Coast Division III teams descended on the Gantcher Center this weekend to compete in the ECAC Championships. With a total of 29 team points, the women's track and field team ended the day in an impressive seventh place, while Wheaton College went on to capture first-place honors for the second consecutive season. "It was a bit hectic organizing the meet, but being able to look back on the day I'm happy with the overall performance of the team," coach Kristen Morwick said. In a heated race, the 4x400m relay team (3:59.41) finished third, just behind SUNY-Cortland and York College. Comprised of freshman Sika Henry, junior co-captain Myriam Claudio, and sophomores Emily Bersin, and Jess Trombly, the team switched up the order of the relay in an effort to clock a faster time. York College and Lincoln University jockeyed for first during most of the race, with the Jumbos sitting between the fourth and fifth position. However, the final leg of the relay saw SUNY-Cortland and Trombly make their moves. Rounding the final corner into the last stretch the hushed silence that had dominated the reactions of the crowd for most of the race was broken as the track erupted into a cacophony of cheering and encouragement. At the finish line, the difference between the first and sixth-place teams was a mere 1.34 seconds. "It was a little disappointing that we didn't go as fast as we hoped, but we gave it everything we had so there are no regrets. We still got a [personal record] and ran well, so we finished the season off well," Claudio said. The only disappointing aspect of the 4x400 relay race was that the team didn't quite get the time it had hoped for. While the qualifying time of 3:56.00 was a lofty goal, the team had hoped to get a time in the 3:58.00 range, to put it higher up in the NCAA provisional list. As it stands now, the relay team is 18th on the overall combined automatic and provisional list. The top two teams on that list have already made the automatic qualifying time. That means that of the approximately nine slots available in the 4x400 relay race at the NCAA Championships, there are only about seven open slots for those on the provisional list, going to the top seven provisional teams. As well as the 4x400 relay, Trombly (59.00) and Claudio (59.13) also competed in the 400m dash, with Trombly running in the event for the first time since mid-January. The sprinting tandem took fourth and fifth places, respectively, putting both on the NCAA provisional list, but probably not high enough for them to make the trip to Lima, Ohio next weekend. The Distance Medley Relay (DMR) also improved on its time by almost a second on its way to a ninth-place finish and a PR. The DMR has four relay legs of varying distances, 1200m, 400m, 800m, and one mile. Sophomore Lauren Caputo battled bronchitis as she improved by three seconds (3:45) on her 1200 leg of the relay. There was one Jumbo who jumped above and beyond expectations, literally. Entering the ECAC meet six inches behind the NCAA provisional mark, sophomore Shushanna Mignott leapt to a fourth-place finish (36' 11.75'') that included a place on the provisional list. Currently, Mignott sits at 17th on the combined list, two centimeters behind Meredith Jones of Williams College. "Shushanna was so pumped about it," Claudio said. "She's been jumping well all season and we knew she could do it. She just got fired up and went for it." In performances reminiscent of the Division II Championships two weeks ago, the pentathletes threw, leapt, and ran to quality finishes. Senior Sarah Leistikow (2857 points) was awarded second place for her efforts while freshman teammate Melissa Graveley (2542 points) snagged eighth place. In the shot put, freshman Katie Antle threw 38' 2 .75'', good for a 14th-place finish, and freshman Megan McCarthy placed 12th in the 500 dash in a time of 1:22.29. With the finish to the indoor postseason official, the Jumbos look to the outdoor season with eager anticipation. Events like the hammer throw and discus allow the throwers to perform better, and longer long distance events like the outdoor 10K instead of the indoor 5K and the steeplechase suit the squad well. Also, many of the freshmen on the team were on outdoor track teams as opposed to indoor teams in high school, so it will serve as a more familiar environment. "We're all excited for the outdoor season. The relays can only get better and there are more events that we excel at as a team outdoors, and we'll have the 4x100 relay, which I can't wait for. It's looking to be a great season," Claudio said.
In the last regular season meet of the outdoor season, the women's track and field team ended the day with 230 points and a commanding victory at the Silfen Invitational, hosted by Connecticut College. With the NESCAC championships taking place this weekend, the performance was enough to keep the team's confidence high. It was also accomplished without straining the team's resources. "We placed first without having to put lots of people in multiple events. People performed really well and it turned out to be a great team effort," senior co-captain Lauren Esposito said. The Conn. College Camels finished closest to the Jumbos with a total of 135 team points. The seven other teams competing ended the day more than 100 points behind Tufts. The Jumbos saw contributions in a variety of different events, including a thrilling performance by the 4x100m relay team. The team's first-place finish of 49.82 set a season PR and seeded it first in the NESCAC championships. The 4x100 team - comprised of junior co-captain Myriam Claudio, sophomores Shushanna Mignott and Jessica Trombly, and freshman Ayako Sawanobori - finished the race a full two seconds faster than the second place finisher and just tenths of a second shy of the national provisional qualifying mark. "Our goal was to break 50, which we did. We had good weather conditions and smooth hand-offs and were really happy with the time," Sawanobori said. "However, we think we can go faster with better competition and hopefully make the national provisional time." Each member of the relay also tallied points in individual events. Mignott sprinted for a PR in the 100m (12.98), good for third place, and leapt to second in the triple jump (35' 1''). Claudio (59.97) and Sawanobori (1:02.01) both posted PRs in the 400 en route to first and fifth place finishes in the race. Freshman Sika Henry completed the 400 triple threat as she finished third in the event in a time of 1:01.11. Trombly won the 100 high hurdles (15.42) and in the process qualified for the Division I New England meet. Sophomore Amy Spiker (16.93) and senior Sarah Leistikow (16.99) finished fifth and sixth in the 100 hurdles. The trio also had a banner day in the jumps, tallying key points for the Jumbos. Spiker placed second in the high jump with a 4' 11.5" effort, while Leistikow (17' 4.25") and Trombly (16' 9.75") went one-two in the long jump. Leistikow won the event with one of the best jumps of her career. Rounding out a successful day in the hurdles was sophomore Emily Bersin's effort in the 400m hurdles competition. Bersin leapt her way to second place (1:07) for a PR that launched her into the Division I meet. In the 1500 race, sophomore Lauren Caputo ran a substantial PR as she broke five minutes in the event. Caputo crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 4:57.97. Other Jumbos went the distance, including freshman Lauren Dunn (18:59.60) and senior Heather Ballantyne (19:38.16), who ended up in the second and fourth positions in the 5000 run. Sophomore Bethany Arrand represented the team in the 3000 steeplechase, taking second in a time of 12:09.17. The team's throwers, who have consistently improved this season, turned in impressive performances and could make a big scoring impact next weekend. Sophomore Jessica Gauthier's 120' hurl in the hammer throw was a 12' PR and one foot shy of the school record. Gauthier finished fourth in the hammer, and also qualified for ECACs with her 110' 4'' effort in the discus that landed her in sixth place.The discus proved a fruitful event for the Jumbos as sophomore Kate Gluckman and freshman Katie Antle posted significant PRs. Gluckman (122' 2''), who qualified for Division I, and Antle (118' 5"), who made the ECAC cut-off, garnered second and third places. The duo also combined for second and third in the shot put - Gluckman at 37' 6.75'' and Antle at 37' 6''. "Heading into NESCACs our biggest competition is going to be Colby as they have a very powerful throwing squad that has potential for scoring high points," Claudio said. "With our throwers throwing so well, though, they could possibly provide enough competition to break up that scoring threat."Assistant coach Sarah Deeb, a former team member, said the meet "went really well. The team had a lot of great performances. Most importantly, the meet gave our team some positive momentum going into NESCACs, our most important team meet of the season."At the Bates-hosted NESCACs, the Jumbos are looking to improve upon last year's disappointing fifth-place finish and are in a position to do so. While Williams looks unbeatable, the women are eyeing the second spot, and will vie with strong squads such as Colby and Wesleyan."We're gunning for second and I think we're in a position where we can do it, if everyone performs where they can and where they have been so far this season," Deeb said. "The competition at the meet will be great, so I can imagine we will get some qualifiers for Division I, ECACs, and Division III's in the process, and possibly get some people to Nationals."
After a month-long competitive hiatus, the women's track team is hungry to get back on track and regain the glory of last season. The Jumbos are well on their way to realizing that goal, with 13 runners qualifying for the New England Championships in their last outing. This weekend's Tufts Invitational meet will pit the women against tough competition on home turf and provide an opportunity for more exemplary performance. In last semester's final meet - the non-scoring, Tufts-hosted Holiday Classic - the team saw many strong performances. Only the second of the season, the meet served as an opportunity for this young team to test its competitive arms and legs. "The meet went well, I was impressed," senior co-captain Lauren Esposito said. "We want to try to get as many people qualified as early as possible. The earlier we do it the better so we can move people around and try them in different events." Sophomores Shushanna Mignott and Amy Spiker, as well as junior co-captain Myriam Claudio had successful outings with excellent placings in two events. Mignott ran away with third in the 55-meter dash and leapt to fourth in the long jump, while Spiker raced to seventh in the 55 hurdles and soared to an impressive first place finish in the high jump with a jump of 5'2''. Claudio finished just behind Mignott in fourth place in the 55 race and tied for third in the pole vault. Other notable performances included the freshman tandem of Claudia Clarke and Ayako Sawanobori, who raced to eighth and ninth places in the 55 dash, while sophomore Emily Bersin and freshman Sika Henry teamed up to take seventh and eighth in the 400 dash. Rounding out the sprints and middle distances were a third place finish by freshman Meghan McCarthy in the 600 race, and equally impressive third and fourth place finishes captured by freshman Katie Sheedy and Esposito, respectively in the 800 race.In the longer distances, junior Mary Nodine took fifth in the 1000 run and senior Ellen Adams took seventh in the same event, while sophomore Lauren Caputo edged out stiff competition taking third in the 1500 run. The 5000 run found freshman Rachel Brandenburg, sophomore Katie Mason, and junior Sarah Foss crossing the finish line fourth, fifth, and sixth. The relay teams also left their mark, with the 4x200 relay team taking third place and the 4x400 relay team finishing fourth. The throwers showed continued improvement on home turf. Freshman Katie Antle placed fifth in the shot put and eighth in the weight throw, and fellow freshman Jessica Colby took eighth in the shot put and tenth in the weight throw. Sophomore Jessica Gauthier ended up seventh in the shot put and captured fifth in the weight throw. Due to inclement weather, the team could not make it to this past weekend's Dartmouth Invitational, but Gauthier found alternate means of transportation and participated as the sole Tufts representative. While there, she threw for a personal best in the discus, lofting it two feet farther than her previous mark.With 2001 a distant memory, the team looks to the new year to realize its potential and match the last year's performance. While most of winter break saw the team practicing as individuals, the athletes did have the opportunity to start the semester about a week early as a team. During this early return the team held double practices, one an easier workout in the pool or cross training and the other a harder workout. "It's hard to go home and train by yourself. This early return allows the team to get back into swing of things and provides some good opportunities for bonding," coach Kristen Morwick said.Last year at the Tufts Invitational, the team coasted to an easy first place victory. However, with the loss of three key seniors and the addition of a few Div. I teams this time around that first place finish is unlikely. Instead the team is using the meet as a measure to see where its runners stand after winter training and in their first competitive venue in over a month. Teams such as UMass, Northeastern, Keene State, and Colby will provide stiff competition for the Jumbos. "This will be a good meet to dictate the pace of the rest of the season. Most people will be competing and people are looking strong as they come back from break," senior Sarah Leistikow said. While individual performances will be the main focus of this meet, team goals have also been set forth as the Jumbos get into the real meat of the season. Coach Morwick hopes to end the season with 25 to 30 Jumbos qualifying for the postseason and with Tufts sitting at third place in the overall standings. "With such a young team it could be development year or could be a standout year. We're missing three studs this year but it's a strong team with a lot of potential. There are fairly high expectations, but if a lot of things go right for us the outcome will be what we want." Even with their three studs put out to pasture by graduation, the team has proven thus far that it has the depth to overcome the loss. Saturday's Invitational will give the team a home field advantage as it goes out to display its depth and challenge each of its members.@s:Team hopes to make up for losses
The women's track and field team will not send any athletes to the NCAA Nationals this year, the team discovered this week. The announcement brings an official close to the indoor season and an opportunity to focus all attention on the outdoor season. "The NCAA committee took more relays which left little room for individual athletes like [sophomores] Shushanna Mignott and Jess Trombly, and [junior] Myriam Claudio," coach Kristen Morwick said. Even though the team didn't send any athletes to the NCAA meet, there were many season highlights that bode well for the upcoming outdoor season. "We had a lot of improvements this season, especially in the pentathlon, the 400m, and the 4x400 relay. The throwers were also impressive," senior co-captain Lauren Esposito said. "Overall, I was happy with the season outcome." The two pentathletes, senior Sarah Leistikow and freshman Melissa Graveley, displayed impressive consistency throughout the season. When their performances mattered most, Leistikow and Graveley came through - namely at the Division III and ECAC Championships. Both had obstacles to overcome in the indoor season, as Leistikow was coming off of knee surgery and Graveley was competing in the pentathlon for the first time. The two promise to be contenders in the outdoor equivalent of the heptathlon event. Throughout the season, the sprinting tandem of Trombly and co-captain Claudio showed little signs of stopping. While contributing in the sprints, from the 55 dash to the 400 dash, and the 4x400 relay, the pair also made an impact in other arenas. Claudio soared in the pole vault, breaking her personal record numerous times throughout the season, while Trombly flexed her track muscle in the 55 hurdles. Joining Trombly in the hurdles was fellow sophomore Amy Spiker, who improved in the 55 hurdles and the high jump. Spiker cleared 5' 2'' in the high jump and sprinted her way to a finish (9.19) in the hurdles that scored team points at the Div. III Championships. Mignott also showed dramatic improvement, saving the best for last as she leapt to a two-foot PR in the triple jump at the ECAC Championship meet. Under the guidance of coach Karen Hoch, the throwers posted results unlike any seen in the recent past. Sophomore Jessica Gauthier and freshman Katie Antle led the way in the weight throw and shot put, respectively. "The throwers were great. We were from scoring no points in the throws for years in a row to being really competitive this year. They'll be even better outdoors," Morwick said. The longer distances had some impressive performers. Junior Ashley Peterson bettered her mark in the 3000 and qualified for the ECAC's, while junior Mary Nodine and sophomore Lauren Caputo had consistently quality finishes in the 1000 and the distance medley relay. Looking towards the outdoor season, the Jumbos are hoping to continue their success in the sprints, jumps, and throws, and improve on the middle and long distance events. "We need to get our distance squad healthy and return key people from abroad. We should be better outdoors in the longer distance [10K] and in the steeplechase, and the 4x100m relay should be great," Morwick said.The Jumbos will get a jump start on the outdoor season over spring break, as they travel to Sin City to hedge their bets and try to get some early outdoor qualifying times. While in Las Vegas, the team will compete in two meets, one during each weekend of the break. The squad hopes to post some fast times as they come off the peak of the indoor season and head away to the warmer climate. "In Las Vegas, we'll be coming off indoor looking to post good times early. We're still in really good shape, having trained hard for the last few postseason meets," Esposito said. The team has set some early outdoor goals, including placing in the top two or three at NESCACs. The Div. III Championship meet falls during finals, so the NESCAC meet is more likely where the team will perform the best. Many athletes will have a good shot at the postseason, especially given the wider range of events outdoors. Nodine will be a contender in the steeplechase, as will Mignott in the jumps, and Trombly and Claudio in the 400. "We're gearing up for outdoor, letting our bodies recover," Esposito said. "The outdoor season is short, so we have to take advantage of it and get started as early as possible."
The women's indoor track team had a roaring finish to its season, placing third out of 22 teams in the New England Division III championships in late February. The outdoor team hopes to build off that success when it opens its spring season tomorrow at the Springfield Invitational. First-year head coach Kristen Morwick has similar goals for the outdoor season as she did for indoors. Most important is challenging top contender Williams - incidentally the squad that Morwick coached last season - for the NESCAC crown, as well as improving on the team's third place finish at the indoor New England Championships. The indoor team's achievements did not stop with its third place finish at the New England Championships - the squad also sent a strong group of runners to nationals. From that group, five women returned to Tufts as All-Americans, including senior captains Leslie Crofton (1500m) and Sarah Deeb (400m), who are once again poised to lead the squad. Senior sprinter Folake Aaron (55m hurdle) looks to continue her dominance in the hurdles. Junior Lauren Esposito and freshman standout Jessica Trombly joined forces with Crofton and Deeb to grab fifth in the distance medley relay at Nationals, and expect similar results during the outdoor season. Morwick feels the team's strength lies in its long distance sprinters, which plays directly into the outdoor season; there are more distance races in the Spring, such as the 10,000, that are not offered in the Winter. Morwick has high expectations for Crofton, who is a distance specialist and runs anything from the mile to the ten kilometer race. Crofton herself hopes to qualify for nationals in either the 3000 or 5000. Deeb is a long sprinter whose versatility allows her to run anywhere from the 100 to the 800. Sophomore Mary Nodine is one of the team's top middle distance runners, and hopes to make a comeback after sustaining a stress fracture. Esposito is also expected to contribute to the distance team. Although the squad prides itself on the proficiency of its distance runners, Tufts also has hurdlers who can compete with the NESCAC's best competition. Aaron enters the season as the team's top hurdler, but will have to make the adjustment from the 55 to the 100. She will also contribute to the 4x100m hurdle relay unit, along with Trombly and sophomore Myriam Claudio. Junior Sarah Leistikow brings her multiple talents in outdoor track to the heptathalon event, where Morwick believes she can thrive. "We are trying to carryover the indoor season to outdoor with the addition of some field events," Crofton said. Morwick has strong triple jumpers in freshman Shushanna Mignott and senior Nadia Samadani The coach addressed her concern over a lack of throwers by recruiting three basketball players. Kate Gluckman, Erin Buckley, and Maritsa Christoudias are all freshmen, and will lead the outdoor track team in the field by throwing shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin. Additionally, the women's team has great senior leadership in the form of Crofton, Deeb, and Aaron, along with an excellent freshman class led by Trombly. "The team has high hopes for the outdoor season," Morwick said. "By adding some events, we will have more scorers to add on from indoor season, and should do well if we stay healthy, train well, and get help from the weather." This weekend the team will travel to Springfield to participate in the Springfield Invitational to kick off the season.
The women's track team trounced the competition this past Saturday at the Tufts Invitational meet in the Gancher Center, finishing first out of a field of six teams. The women pulled in 216.25 points for a first-place finish over its five competitors, which included Hartwick College (104), Mount Holyoke (73), and Westfield State College (48.25). "[The team] worked hard over the break, and it's showing," senior tri-captain Megan Thurber said. "These meets haven't been that big, but they've definitely been good practice." Senior tri-captain Sarah Deeb tore up the track, placing first in her three events. Deeb set a personal record and qualified for New England Division I post-season competition in the 55-meter dash (7.56), squeaking by her Hartwick competitor, Sheri Kelleher (7.58). In the 200 meter dash, Deeb led the way (26.57), followed by sophomore teammate Myriam Claudio who grabbed a third-place finish (27.90), and qualified for the Division IIIs with a personal record in the event. "Sarah's probably in the best shape of her life right now," Coach Kristen Morwick said. Deeb, junior Lauren Esposito, freshman Emily Bersin, and Claudio ran to a first-place finish in the 4x400 relay, coming in nearly ten seconds ahead of their closest competition with a time of 4:10.51. Esposito and teammate Molly Hobey, a junior, just returned from a semester abroad in Ireland and are currently training to return to their peak performance. "We ran a lot while we were there," Esposito said. "It's hard to get back into racing." Esposito was up to the challenge, setting the pace in the 600, and taking first place with a time of 1:46.33. Close behind were juniors Colleen Burns (second, 1:46.54), Thurber (third, 1:46.70), and Ellen Adams (fourth, 1:47.45). The 4x800 was clinched by the team of Burns, freshman Lauren Caputo, sophomore Kristen Munson, and senior tri-captain Leslie Crofton (10:09.54). On the heels of the Burns-Caputo-Munson-Crofton squad, was the second place crew of sophomores Ashley Peterson, Kathryn Hughes, Danielle Perrin, and Heidi Tyson (10:47.81). Tyson crossed the line steps in front of her counterpart from Hartwick College. Old and new members alike led the team to victory. Crofton cruised to a first-place finish in the 1,500 (4:55.01), and was followed by newcomers Munson (5:10.24), a transfer from Boston University this semester, and Caputo (5:14.43), both of whom will continue to be vital to the team's success the rest of the season. Freshmen Bersin and Emily Craighead led the way in the mid-distance races, finishing first (3:18.44) and second (3:21.31) in the 1,000. Freshmen Lauren Dunn and Katie Mason dominated their race running neck-and-neck in the 5,000, and taking a close first (20:08.25) and second (20:08.72) respectively. They were followed by sophomore Sarah Foss who took third (20:29.21) in the event. Senior Folake Aaron put forth her season's best in the 55 high-hurdles with a first-place time of 8.78 seconds that qualified her for the All New England Championships. In the field events, freshmen Jessica Gauthier and Leistkow picked up points in the shot put with third (30'2.75") and fourth-place (28'10.5") throws, respectively. Leistikow was at her best Saturday as she continued to improve in the high jump with a season high of 4-10 (second) on Saturday. Freshman Amy Spiker tied with the Salem State and Westfield competition for a third-place finish at 4-8. Senior Nadia Samadani also excelled in the jumps, taking second place in both the long jump (15' 2.75") and the triple jump (33' 5.25"), and qualifying for the Division IIIs with her best performance of the season in the latter. "We are still trying people out in new events," Morwick said. "There are only three more meets to qualify." As the Brown and Blue look ahead to the rest of the season, they are hoping for a speedy recovery from both freshman Jessica Trombly and junior Heather Ballantyne. "We have to get a few people back from injury," Morwick said. "We are still training so it's only going to get better." The women will square off against stronger competition next week when they head to Bowdoin to take on Middlebury, Springfield, and the meet's host, the Polar Bears. "It's going to be tough," Morwick said. "They are all very strong, deep teams. This will not only be good competition, but a good test for us."