On Friday and Saturday, the Tufts women’s track and field team turned in numerous impressive results to place fourth at the New England Div. III Championships, yet ultimately fell short of its goal to finish in the top three. Williams was crowned New England Div. III champion with a score of 149 points, while runner-up MIT scored 127 points. Middlebury took third with 73 points, and Tufts scored 52 points, good enough for fourth.
Sophomore Rhemi Toth was disappointed with the result, but stayed positive.
“In order to have been [in the] top three, we would have needed to have our best day,” Toth said. “It unfortunately didn’t happen, but we gave it our all.”
In the weeks leading up to New England Div. III Championships, the Jumbos set out to get half of their team to qualify for the meet, but illness and injury resulted in a smaller squad. Sophomore Ann Roberts, a distance runner for the Jumbos, commented on the unfortunate timing.
“Due to injury and an influenza outbreak, we weren’t able to have half the team qualify,” Roberts said. “Regardless, we still had a great team.”
Although Tufts did not finish in the top three, several athletes registered outstanding performances at the meet, notching top-five nationally ranked times. Senior co-captain Brittany Bowman finished runner-up in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:45.89, posting the fourth-fastest time in Div. III this season. The Camden, Maine native’s time was a personal record, beating her previous best time of 9.46.93 which she set three weeks ago at the John Thomas Terrier Classic. In the 60-meter hurdles, senior co-captain Annalisa DeBari crossed the line with a preliminary time of 8.83 seconds, ranking her fourth in Div. III. Her time beat the previous Tufts 60-meter hurdles record of 8.84 seconds, held by Marilyn Allen (E ’16). DeBari placed third, with a time of 8.96 seconds, in the final round of the event.
Aside from Bowman, several other Jumbos strode past the line in second place. Sophomore Julia Gake was runner-up in the 600 meters for the second consecutive year, recording a time of 1:37.65. In the 4×800-meter relay, sophomore Nicole Kerrigan, first-years Olivia Martin and Emily Murray, and Toth placed second in the 16-team field with a mark of 9:32.85. Toth ran the anchor leg for the Jumbos, a position typically given to the team’s most experienced member. The additional pressure only drove the Weston, Conn. native forward.
“It’s knowing that I am the last person on the track that pushes me across the line,” Toth said.
Apart from the 4×800-meter race, the Jumbos secured crucial results in several other relay events. In the 4×400, DeBari, sophomores Nehalem Kunkle-Read and Raquel Whiting, and Gake flew past the finish line in 4:02.46 to finish fourth. Tufts’ distance medley relay team of Martin, sophomore Sarah Levine, junior Julia Noble and Bowman also came in fourth, with a time of 12:46.39. Finally, Kunkle-Read, Whiting, junior Brita Dawson and first-year Olivia Schwern placed sixth in the 4×200-meter relay, with a time of 1:48.19.
Tufts’ run of success continued in the long-distance events, as several athletes were able to score points in their respective races. Toth came in sixth in the 1,000 meters in 3:03.09, registering three points for the Jumbos, while junior Sarah Perkins placed seventh in the 3K (10:31.04) to score two points. Additionally, senior Margot Rashba finished seventh in the 5,000 meters in 18.17.08, immediately followed by junior Kelsey Tierney, who finished eighth (18.23.46).
The Jumbos continued to turn in strong performances in the field events. Senior Jennifer Sherwill launched 11.48 meters in the shot put, good for eighth place in the 26-athlete field. Sherwill also threw 13.37 meters in the weight throw to finish 16th.
On the first day of the meet, junior Kylene DeSmith finished 10th out of 13 competitors in the pentathlon. The Rochester, N.H. native totaled 2,820 points across the five events, making it the second-best performance of her career.
Despite narrowly missing their goal at the New England Div. III Championships, the Jumbos are already looking forward to their next major competition.
“We are eager to redeem ourselves at the outdoor NESCAC Championships at Trinity [on April 28],” said Toth.
Before that, however, Tufts will be back in action at national indoor qualifying meets: The Last Chance Meet will be held at Boston University on Feb. 25, and Tufts will host its own qualifying meet on March 3.