NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Over two days of competition at the Music City Challenge, Vanderbilt track and field recorded 21 season and personal bests, along with two school records and four program all-time top 10 marks.
“This weekend was a coming together of all the bricks we’ve laid,” director of cross country and track and field Althea Thomas said. “We focus on running well when it counts, and it’s the part of the year we call the ‘championship season.’ I would include this meet in that, because you want to be able to put your body in a position that is familiar for the SEC Championships, so everything we’ve been doing has been to show up and have a great February.”
After a late Friday night 5,000-meter race, the Dores were back in action early Saturday morning with the unseeded 3,000 meters where Cameron Fawcett placed fourth with a season-best time of 9:48.75.
Freshman Lena Gooden advanced through two rounds of competition to the 60 meters final where she placed fifth. During the prelims, she turned in a personal-best time of 7.53 seconds, which is the No. 3 all-time mark at Vanderbilt. Haley Bishop and Ella Escobar advanced to the semifinals with season-best marks of 7.62 and 7.67 seconds, respectively. Bishop improved upon her prelims time in the semifinals, finishing the race in 7.66 seconds.
Falon and Santana Spearman made it through two rounds of qualifying to the 60-meter hurdles final. In the first round, the two Dores turned in the No. 1 and 2 qualifying times just 0.003 seconds apart. F. Spearman recorded a time of 8.541 seconds and S. Spearman was right behind with a time of 8.544 seconds. S. Spearman’s best time of the day came in the semifinal where she clocked 8.53 seconds.
On the field, Anaya Webster was the sixth overall and second freshman finisher in the triple jump with an 11.71-meter mark.
Giavonna Meeks once again improved upon her shot put mark, throwing 15.66 meters for a new personal best. She finished second in the seeded division. Meeks ranks sixth on the program’s all-time top 10 performers list. Sarah Marvin earned a fifth-place finish in the event with a 15.34-meter throw.
In the invite division of the shot put, Sarah Omoregie posted a season-best performance, recording a 16.60-meter mark. She is third on the Vanderbilt all-time top 10 list for the event.
Later in the evening during the seeded division of the 3,000 meters, Julia Rosenberg’s 22-second PR of 9:15.99 won her the event and beat the previous school record by almost 3 seconds. Caroline Eck was Vandy’s next finisher, turning in a time of 9:23.05 and placing sixth. Emma Curry and Ella Lambert recorded PRs of 14 and 18 seconds, respectively. Curry’s time was 9:33.06, and Lambert’s mark was 9:33.41.
“Part of it is that you work hard, but you also rest hard,” Thomas said. “Some of it is allowing our bodies to acclimate to what we’ve just done, whether it was having a personal best or running several events. That’s what the focus for most of us will be, being able to regroup. It’s a matter of appreciating what you’ve done now and allowing time for that to set in but then being able to say that it’s a clean slate. That’s what we do. We regroup, refocus and get ready for the championship.”
Vanderbilt will take the next weekend off as it prepares for the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 23-24 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Day 1 highlights
• Meeks reset the school record in the weight throw (21.88 meters) for the third consecutive meet. She was the fifth overall, top freshman finisher.
• Gooden’s time of 24.61 seconds in the 200 meters is a personal best and ranks seventh in school history. She finished seventh overall.
• Bishop finished 10th in the same event with a time of 24.66 seconds, a season best.
• Catherine Sommerfeld was the fourth freshman and 22nd overall finisher in the mile out of more than 100 competitors. Her time was 4:51.30.
• Gigi Clifford PRed by 24 seconds in the 5,000 meters, recording a time of 17:19.45.
“What you see is a sharing of the things that matter outside of people who have a mutual event or training group,” Thomas said. “You see it in them cheering each other on and going over to each other to help them through adversity. You see it on the small level first, but because of those things that happen every day, when we are outside the fence and watching someone in the throws, it ignites us.”