Women’s track and field team takes third place finish at Bowdoin Invitational

Junior Rhemi Toth competes in the second 4,000-meter distance medley relay heat at the New England Div. III Indoor Championship at MIT's Johnson Athletic Center on Feb. 18, 2017. Ray Bernoff /Tufts Daily Archives

On Saturday, the Jumbos finished third out of six teams at the Bowdoin Invitational held in Brunswick, Maine. An abundance of individual first-place finishes and the 4×400 meter relay team’s top-10 ranked time highlighted the Jumbos’ performance in their third event of the season.

Coming off of a dominant performance at the Tufts Invitational, a meet in which the Jumbos won 10 events, the women’s track and field team continued to impress at the Bowdoin Invitational.

The 4×400 relay team consisted of junior Julia Gake, sophomore Kristen Andersen and first-years Tara Lowensohn and Luana Machado. The group took first place in their relay with a time of 4:02.87, beating Bowdoin, the hosts of the invitational, by half a second. The relay team’s mark was good enough to place them sixth in the nation for the 4×400 relay.

First-year Hannah Neilon had an impressive showing and took first in the 600-meter with a time of 1:37.62.

“I was really happy to win the 600 especially since that was my first time running it in college,” Neilon said. “Julia Gake and I make each other run better and our times from the race should be good enough to get us into the fast heat at [Division III] New England Championships so I’m happy with our performance.”

Even though Neilon has more experience in running the 600-meter than many of her peers, she maintains that reaching the NCAAs is a goal of hers.

“I’m definitely happy with how the season is going so far, both individually and as a team,” Neilon said. “It’s been a really cool experience racing against solid competition and doing well. One of my goals is running at nationals, and I think as long as we stay healthy and driven, my teammates and I have a good shot at achieving that.”

Junior Rhemi Toth also found success in the track events; she took first in the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:57.63. Toth set a new personal record in the 1000-meter event with her performance on Saturday.

“Setting a new personal record in the 1000 was very rewarding, especially since I am coming off of an injury that kept me from running cross country in the fall,” Toth said. “I am very excited to see what the rest of the season will bring.”

Along with the first-place finishes, the Jumbos earned several other high-placing finishes in the track events. In the 400-meter, Lowensohn earned a second-place finish with a time of 1:01.21. Gake also earned a second-place finish, finishing just behind Neilon in the 600-meter with a time of 1:37.69.

Tufts’ third-place finishes included junior Lauren Diaz, who ran a 2:19.88 in the 800-meter, senior co-captain Kelsey Tierney, who ran a 10:24.82 in the 3,000 meter and first-year Danielle Page, who ran an 18:45.60 in the 5,000-meter. Diaz’s time is currently ranked 18th in the nation, Tierney’s time is 24th and Page’s time sits at 46th.

The Jumbos found success in the field events as well. Junior co-captain Evelyn Drake won the weight throw, posting a mark of 47’11.75” (14.62 meters), and then placed third in the shot put with 36′ 9” (11.20 meters). Drake’s shot put distance was also her personal record. Sophomore Jacqueline Kirk placed third in the high jump with a 4’11” (1.50-meter mark), one-tenth of a meter from the personal record that she converted in her last meet on Jan. 12.

Tufts earned 129.5 points in total over the course of the meet, just edged out by NESCAC rivals Bowdoin (131) for the second-place finish. MIT was the winner of the meet, earning a total of 170 points.  Tufts bested Brandeis University (71), Merrimack College (47.50) and University of Southern Maine (37) for their third-place finish. Ultimately, the Jumbos won four events at the meet. With their success in the second meet of the spring semester, the Jumbos are hopeful for what the rest of the season holds.

“In our first two meets, we had many strong performances from both [first-years] and upperclassmen alike,” Toth said. I believe that the combination of new and returning talent on our team will allow us to be very successful this winter. Our biggest meet of the indoor season will be the Division III New England Championships at Bowdoin where we hope to finish in the top three as a team overall.”

Tufts hosts its next race, the Branwen Smith-King Invitational, at the Gantcher center on Saturday. Field events take off at 10 a.m. while track events begin at 10:30 a.m. The event, held in honor of former Associate Athletic Director Branwen Smith-King, brings in some of the best competition in New England. Tufts faces off against schools from all over New England, including NESCAC rivals Amherst, Connecticut College and Wesleyan.