The Tufts women’s track and field team registered outstanding results at a pair of unscored meets over the weekend: the Gordon Kelly Invitational at MIT on Feb. 10 and the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Feb. 9–10. Numerous athletes clocked nationally ranked times and set personal records over the course of the weekend.
At the David Hemery Invitational, hosted by Boston University, senior co-captain Brittany Bowman ran the mile in a school-record time of 4:51.69, posting the second-fastest time in Div. III this season in the process. Bowman’s 4:51.69 finish shattered her previous career best of 4:58.88, which came at the Bowdoin Invitational just three weeks prior. The Camden, Maine native’s time was also nearly two seconds faster than Tufts’ previous mile record of 4:53.45, set by Cat Beck (LA ’08) in 2007.
Bowman was ecstatic with the race’s result.
“It’s awesome to see my hard work pay off,” she said. “I was a little surprised, pleasantly surprised, since it beat my personal record in the mile.”
Despite her stellar performance, Bowman finished 27th in the event, as she competed against runners from Div. I and II, as well. With the Boston University track running extremely fast, Bowman’s competitor, Brandeis junior Emily Bryson, set the top time in Div. III with a 4:46.63.
In addition to Bowman’s success in the mile, the Jumbos’ 4×400-meter relay of senior co-captain Annalisa DeBari, sophomore Julia Gake, sophomore Raquel Whiting and sophomore Nehalem Kunkle-Read finished in 3:58.49, ranking them 21st nationally this season.
In the 200-meter dash, both first-year Olivia Schwern (26.99) and Whiting (27.16 seconds) set personal-best indoor times. Sophomore Rhemi Toth registered a personal record of 2:59.77 in the 1,000 meters, and sophomore Nicole Kerrigan had a personal-best of 3:02.48 in the same race. In the 800, first-year Emily Murray (2:23.04) and junior Julia Noble (2:23.08) had personal-best and indoor personal record times, respectively.
Finally, the Tufts’ distance medley relay team of Toth, Gake, first-year Olivia Martin, and Bowman crossed the line in 11:50.41, placing seventh out of the 28 teams that competed. The quartet’s time currently ranks fourth nationally in Div. III.
At the Gordon Kelly Invitational, DeBari crossed the line in 8.96 seconds, placing first out of 37 runners in the 60-meter hurdles. DeBari held a significant gap over the second-place finisher, defeating sophomore Alanna Murphy of Southern New Hampshire University by over half a second. DeBari’s time currently ranks tenth nationally in Div. III this season. First-year Johanna Ross was also victorious on Saturday, winning in her 5,000-meter debut. Ross’ time of 18:51.93 topped the field of eight competitors.
The Jumbos secured several runner-up finishes, as well. Junior Jennifer Jackson placed second with a time of 3:13.76 in her 1,000-meter debut. The underclassmen continued their success in the 600 meters, as first-year Scarlet Bliss booked a season best time of 1:44.01 to finish second. The Jumbos had strong showings in the 600 meters; aside from Bliss, first-year Hannah Norowitz placed third with a time of 1:45.45 and senior Ipek Emekli placed fourth at 1:46.06.
Since the Invitational was one of the last events before this weekend’s New England Div. III Championships, many Tufts runners were hoping to earn qualifications. Bowman was thrilled that several Jumbos were able to make the cut.
“We had a few more people qualify, which is great,” Bowman said.
In the 800 meters, first-year Haley Rich and senior Sara Stokesbury came in second and third, respectively. Rich finished with a time of 2:26.25, and Stokesbury followed soon after at 2:26.45. In their final opportunity to make the cut, the duo’s impressive performances secured their qualifications for the upcoming New England-wide meet.
First-year Melissa Rowland was one of the many Jumbos cheering on the pair, which she described as an exhilarating experience.
“[They] ran a really good race from the front together, and they both qualified, so that was awesome,” Rowland said. “It’s really exciting to watch, as a team we’re trying to have as many people at [New England] Div. III Championships as possible, and it’s pretty difficult to do, so it’s really special when we get to see each other qualify.”
Several Jumbos also took third place across a variety of events at MIT. Senior Evie Heffernan finished third and set a personal record in the 1,000 meters, with a time of 3:19.77, while first-year Alexandra Wolf finished the mile in 5:31.31 to place third.
In the field events, junior Trish Blumeris leaped 9.74 meters in the triple jump for a personal indoor record. Additionally, first-year Nkemdilim Aduka launched 11.77 meters in the shot put — a team-best throw for the 2017-18 indoor season — to place second. Junior Evelyn Drake threw 10.61 meters to place sixth.
The Jumbos will compete in the New England Div. III Championships at Springfield College on Friday and Saturday.