Journey to the World Championships

Four Commodores seeking to make national teams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A quartet of Commodores will represent Vanderbilt track and field en route to earning a spot on their respective national teams this weekend.

Taiya Shelby, Veronica Fraley and Sarah Marvin will compete in Eugene, Oregon. The four-day meet will serve as the qualifier for the 2022 World Athletics Championships at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in July. This is the first time the championships will be held in the U.S.

London native Divine Oladipo will also be competing this weekend in Manchester, England.

Marvin (shot put) is included in the field at the 2022 USATF U20 Outdoor Championships, the precursor to the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships to be held Aug. 1-6 in Cali, Colombia. She is currently ranked second entering the meet. The former dual-sport high school student-athlete holds the Michigan Division III state title in shot put and discus, in addition to winning the national championship in shot put last summer.

In order to qualify for the U.S. Team to the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships, the two highest placing finishers in each individual event at the 2022 USATF U20 Outdoor Championships who elect to compete will be named to the Team.

Shelby (400-meter dash) and Fraley (discus) will contend in the 2022 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. The duo will have the opportunity to qualify to represent Team USA at the World Athletics Championships and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

The top three will make the team with an exemption for anyone who won their respective events at the previous World Championships, who automatically qualify.

Shelby has been a mainstay for the program and will return for her graduate season at Vanderbilt. The second-team All-American represented the Commodores at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. The owner of several program records, Shelby was also recognized for her work in the Nashville community as an SEC Community Service Team selection.

Fraley is a transfer from Clemson University where she was named an All-American in the discus during the 2020-21 season. She has earned All-ACC recognition in shot put several times and discus twice. She owns the all-time mark in Tiger history in the discus (56.73 meters) and stands second overall in the shot put (16.59 meters). She has history on the national stage having represented Team USA at the 2019 U20 Pan American Games in shot put and placing 10th overall in the discus during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Joe Kovacs, volunteer assistant coach, will also compete at the Outdoor Championships on Sunday. The 2019 shot put world champion who has already qualified for Team USA per the exemption, will be joined by his wife and associate head coach Ashley Kovacs who was his coach at the time of his victory. She was recently named the throws coach for the World Championships and has coached Marvin, Fraley, and Oladipo through the collegiate season.

Oladipo (shot put) is set to vie for a spot on the British national team at the UK Athletics Championships in Manchester, England on Sunday. She will need to finish in the top three and hit the world championship standard to qualify. Resurrecting the throws program for Vandy, Oladipo left quite a mark in her lone season as a Commodore. She holds the program records for indoor and outdoor shot put as well as the all-time mark in the discus. The three-time All-American also was an All-SEC selection both seasons.

NameDateTime (CT)ResultsWatch
Taiya Shelby (400-meters first round)Thursday, June 239:11 p.m.Live Schedule
Veronica Fraley (discus)Friday, June 248:45 p.m.Live Schedule
Taiya Shelby (400m semifinals)Friday, June 2410:25 p.m.Live Schedule
Sarah Marvin (shot put)Saturday, June 256:45 p.m.Live
Taiya Shelby (400m finals)Saturday, June 254:21 p.m. Live Schedule
Joe Kovacs (shot put)Sunday, June 263 p.m.Live Schedule
Divine Oladipo (shot put)Sunday, June 265:38 a.m.Live ResultsBritish Athletics Watch Live