Jumbos take advantage of last chance before first postseason meet

4/23/16 – Medford/Somerville, MA – Franchesca Burgos (LA'18) competes in the 5000m at the Tufts Sunshine Classic at the Dussault Outdoor Track on April 23, 2016. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts sent runners and field competitors to two separate meets over the weekend where the athletes looked to make personal records (PRs) and make good on their last chance to qualify for the New England Div. III Championships.

Highlighting the weekend, the Jumbos competed in the DMR (distance medley relay) at the BU David Hemery Invitational on Saturday, posting a time of 11:59.18 on BU’s banked track. That time converted to the second-best time in the nation as of Saturday for Div. III. The relay team of senior quad-captains Sam Cox and Rita Donohoe, first-year Julia Gake and junior Brittany Bowman placed fourth overall in the race, placing first among Div. III teams and defeating several Div. I and Div. II teams also in attendance.

“For our DMR, we definitely are happy with how we did, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of a few technical things, like handoffs and also just timewise,” Donohoe said. “But we were really pleased with the opener for the A-team for our DMR.” 

At the Gordon Kelley Invitational hosted at MIT, sophomore sprinter Sydney Ladner had an impressive performance in the 60-meter dash, running a time of 8.18. That earned her second place in the event and it was the best time in the 60-meter for any Tufts athlete this season. Junior Annalisa DeBari also had a good performance, placing second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.38.

The Jumbos look forward to their first postseason action of the indoor season at the New England Div. III Championships this weekend at MIT. Donohoe explained the importance this meet holds for much of the team as an indicator of its future performance outdoors. 

“It’s a big meet for us to go for indoors because we’ve typically placed in the top five ever since I’ve been here,” Donohoe said. “We have around 20 competitors between running, throwing and jumping — a little more than half of our team going. It’s a hard meet to qualify for because there are standards that you have to meet, some of which are pretty hard.”

Donohoe will compete next weekend at the Div. III championships in a number of events, including running the 600-meter again for the second time after running it first at the Tufts Cupid Challenge. According to coach Kristen Morwick, Donohoe first ran the 600-meter at the Tufts Cupid Invitational.

With the meet just days away, Donohoe made it clear that expectations are high across the board as the Jumbos prepare. She mentioned the particular importance of DeBari, who is the team’s best hurdler at the moment.

“[DeBari] definitely is looking to PR, and I think she’s in a really good position to do so,” Donohoe said. “I think some of the throwers are looking to get some better marks as well. At least in my open event, which is the 600-meter, I’ve only run it once so I’m going to try to PR again and score from the second heat hopefully. In terms of the relays, everyone is just trying to PR in their splits.” 

According to Donohoe, Bowman, who had an explosive start to the year with strong showings throughout the cross country season, is a runner to watch out for going into the meet.

“With Brittany [Bowman], obviously she could win,” Donohoe said. “She has been looking so good this season, and she is up there [ranked] for the 3k, so could definitely win that.”

The meet will kick off on Friday at 12 p.m. at MIT and will last through Saturday as the Jumbos hope to make their presence known.