Tufts competed in a quad-meet at windy Bates this past weekend and finished third overall with 154 team points. They were 57 points ahead of last-place Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and 40 points short of second-place Bates. MIT claimed first at the meet with 235 team points.
“Our team performed well this weekend, given the windy and cold conditions,” senior quad-captain Rita Donohoe told the Daily in an email. “We did not stack every event and chose to rest some people, so our whole squad was not competing.”
With less than a month left before the NESCAC and New England Div. III Championships, the Jumbos prioritized individual times at the meet.
“For us it isn’t about whether we’re winning or losing the meet, it’s more about individual performances,”sophomore Patricia Blumeris said. “For example, we had a lot of distance girls in the 1,500, and usually they do 5k’s or 10k’s, so it wasn’t really their event. We just wanted people doing as well as they could in the events they were in.”
The Tufts 4×400-meter relay team finished first in their event with a time of 4:03.14, a full 7.20 seconds faster than their closest competitor, Bates. The foursome who took home the top finish for the Jumbos was made up of junior Annalisa DeBari, first-year Nehalem Kunkle-Read, Donohoe and first-year Julia Gake. Their speedy finish ranked them 39th in the country in Div. III.
In the 100-meter hurdles, DeBari improved on her previous national ranking by shooting through the course with a blistering time of 14.75, dropping .13 seconds off her previous time. The new finish ranks DeBari 13th in the nation.
DeBari saw success in the 100-meter dash as well, finishing third with a time of 12.74, a season-best for the Jumbos. Donohoe claimed the 400-meter title at the event, finishing with a time of 1:00.14, while Gake took third in the same event, coming in at 1:01.45 to give the Jumbos two placing runs.
The 4×100 relay team featured sophomore Sydney Ladner, Donahoe, first-year Raquel Whiting and DeBari. The group dashed their way to a third-place finish at 50.16, a season-best for the Jumbos.
Junior Jennifer Sherwill finished second in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet 2 inches, her season and career best. The discus saw Sherwill put up another strong showing, as she threw another season- and career-best 133 feet 7 inches to come in third and place 33rd nationally.
Senior Lindsay Atkeson finished 11:38.16 in the 3,000 steeplechase, earning herself a season-best time and a top-50 time nationally. Sophomore Sarah Perkins came in right behind her at 12:17.46 to take third.
Junior Brittany Bowman ran a season-best time in the 1,500-meter at 4:49.35. She took second place in the event, while sophomore Caitlin Porrazzo ran the 10,000-meter with a time of 40:43.68; she was the only athlete from any school to participate in the event.
“She was the only woman entered in the entire 10-K and she ran an automatic PR because it was her first time running the event,” Donohoe said. “She crushed all 25 laps even though she had no one to race, and she showed a lot of determination.”
Ladner cleared 10 feet 2 inches in the pole vault for the Jumbos, another season best. Pole vault also featured Sharon Kelmar, clearing 9 feet 2.25 inches.
“This past weekend, Sharon cleared something like three heights,” Blumeris said. “Which, compared to what she was doing for the two weeks before, was a big improvement and she was super happy about it.”
Sophomore Brita Dawson cleared 17 feet 2.25 inches in the long jump for the Jumbos, contributing to the streak of season-best performances.
“We have been getting stronger and healthier throughout the past weeks and I think the next two meets before NESCACs will be good opportunities to do some tuning up,” Donahoe wrote. “Everyone is really focused and looking forward to gearing up for championship season.”
Season-best performances could be seen all weekend from Jumbos in all events, as both runners and field competitors pushed themselves to work at their full potential, but the Jumbos will have to continue breaking those season-best times to qualify for the New England Div. III Championships on May 5 and 6 and the National NCAA Championships May 25-27.
“This weekend is a bigger meet and it’s probably going to be more competitive,” Blumeris said. “But again, we’re just focusing on individual performances and getting as many people as possible to qualify first for NESCACs and then [Div.] IIIs, and then, for the people who are good enough, we want them to qualify for nationals. So for people who can do that, that’s what we’re pushing for.”
The Jumbos will next run Friday, first at an invitational hosted by Conn. College, and then at the Sunshine Classic on home turf on Saturday.