BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Vanderbilt track and field concluded the NCAA East Regional Prelims with several qualifiers and improvements on all-time marks in the program’s record book on Saturday.
“We accomplished a goal today that every team in the NCAA establishes the first day of practice,” said Althea Thomas, director of cross country, track and field. “Qualifying athletes in the shot put, discus, 400 meters, 1,500 meters, and the 4×400 relay to the NCAA finals is a major accomplishment. Not only did these ladies show up and compete, but our coaches and staff made sure they were prepared and ready to execute.
“It was a total team effort,” she continued. “Divine’s consistency in the discus set the tone for the day. Grace ran a courageous race that included hurdling over fallen opponents, making sure she wasn’t denied her spot to nationals. Taiya showed major grit winning her heat in jaw-dropping fashion, and the 4×400 ran with optimism and determination.”
Divine Oladipo qualified for the NCAA Championships in a second event with a mark of 53.89 meters in the discus to commence the meet. She finished sixth overall and will compete in two weeks in both the shot put and discus for the Commodores.
Grace Jensen battled her way to contention in the 1,500 meters, finishing 11th overall with a time of 4:13.86 to secure her spot at the NCAA Championships as well.
Taiya Shelby will join the two in Oregon with her 51.45 mark in the 400-meter dash, which positioned her first in her heat and fourth overall while resetting the second-fastest time in the event at Vandy.
Fuller, Bishop, Nicole Anderson, and Shelby made up the 4×100-meter relay, with the quartet crossing the finish line at 45.62 to earn the 12th spot in the event. Bishop also had a time of 11.59 in the quarterfinals of the 100-meter dash.
“Today was the true definition of anchoring down,” said Thomas. “I’m so proud of these ladies and how they continue to represent Vanderbilt.”
Vanderbilt will head to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in the four-day 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 8-11 at Hayward Field, hosted by the University of Oregon.