Women’s track and field looks toward championship season

The Jumbos hosted the Sunshine Classic last Saturday, taking first place overall in what was the last meet of the regular season. Tufts amassed an impressive 305 points over the course of the day, distancing themselves from runner-up Plymouth State by 181 points.

The team didn’t let the rainy conditions interfere with its performance, as multiple Jumbos achieved PRs and season-bests in spite of the unpredictable weather. With championship season right around the corner, the team had to weigh the benefits of having runners compete in the rain.

“We rested a lot of people because it was the week before the start of championship season, and we didn’t want to risk anyone slipping,” senior co-captain Kelsey Tierney said.

Despite the complications of competing in the wind and rain, junior Rhemi Toth believed that the team competed to the best of their ability.

“I think everyone handled the weather well, and didn’t let it get in the way of competing,” Toth said.

Tierney believes that the wind worked to the advantage of some events — the sprints in particular.

“The wind really helped a lot of the performances, even though it kept some people on the bench,” Tierney explained.

Tufts excelled in the track events, claiming victories in the 100-meter, 800-meter and 1500-meter races, as well as in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the 4×100-meter relay.

Junior Alina Strileckis finished first in the 100-meter dash with a career-best time of 12.73. First-year Tara Lowensohn impressed in the 800-meter, coming in first place with a career-best 2:17.96. Senior Julia Noble finished first in the 1,500-meter, setting a personal record with a 4:50.86 time.

The relay team of sophomore Olivia Schwern, junior Raquel Whiting, senior Kylene DeSmith and Strileckis won the 4×100-meter relay in 50.09 seconds, a season-best time for the group. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, first-year Lucy Tumavicus won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 12:37.18, which is her career-best performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event.

In the field events, Tufts won another five events, scoring victories in the high jump, pole vault, triple jump, hammer throw and javelin. Sophomore Jacqueline Kirk set a personal record in the high jump, reaching a height of 1.61-meters. In the pole vault, senior Sydney Ladner hit a PR at a height of 3.28m, winning the event. In the triple jump, first-year Kathryn Ezeoha won the triple jump with a leap of 10.95 m, good for Tufts’ best triple jump performance of the outdoor season.

Representing Tufts in the throws, senior co-captain Evelyn Drake won the hammer throw with a 45.01-meter hurl. In the javelin, junior Erin Logee came in first with a 31.07-meter throw.

The previous weekend, Tufts traveled to Conn. College to compete in the Silfen Invitational. The team competed on both Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Friday mainly featured distance events, and participants had to reach a qualifying mark in order to participate.

Tierney and Toth, the team’s two nationals athletes for the indoor season, both achieved PRs on Friday. While the 1,500-meter race isn’t Tierney’s main event, she participated in the 1,500-meter to face top-level competition at Silfen. Tierney placed fifth out of 76 competitors with a time of 4:37.44, despite having to make adjustments to adapt to the pace of the race.

“I’m happy with the result, but was hoping to go a little faster,” Tierney said of her career-best 1,500 performance. “I’m hoping to have an opportunity to improve my time later in the season”.

In an exciting race, Toth won the 800-meter event with a time of 2:14.79, giving her the 16th-best time in the nation.

“I was pretty excited. I’d been wanting to break 2:15 since high school,” Toth said. “It felt pretty good to do that.”

Another notable performance came from first-year Danielle Page, who had an huge PR in her first 5k meter race of the outdoor season. Page led Tufts in the race, with her 17:46.53 performance putting her at a No. 46 national mark.

Next weekend, the Jumbos travel to Middlebury to compete in the NESCAC Championships. The team’s goal is to place in the top two or three and get as many Jumbos qualified for the Div. III New England Championships as possible.