NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Five individuals and two relay teams from the Vanderbilt track and field program have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary it was announced on Thursday.
Haley Bishop and Divine Oladipo will lead the contingent after qualifying in two individual events, with the trio of Grace Jensen, Taiya Shelby and McKenzie Yanek also moving on to postseason competition. Bishop and Shelby will be joined by Nicole Anderson, Kaira Brown and Madison Fuller to take part in the 4×100- and 4×400-meter relays as well.
“We have an amazing group of ladies representing Vanderbilt at the NCAA East Region prelims. Our coaches and staff have poured into them, and they have answered the call and earned an opportunity to continue their success this season,” said Commodore director of cross country/track and field Althea Thomas. “Within this group we have six school records and five top 10 all-time marks. They all have ignited the team’s pursuit to elevate the program with success and execution throughout the season.
“I’m beyond excited to see them showcase their hard work and grit against this region’s best as we go working toward a berth to the NCAA finals in Eugene, Oregon.”
Oladipo will be the highest seeded Vandy student-athlete at the event as she ranks third in the region in the shot put entering the competition, and she is also the 14th seed in the discus. Shelby comes into the meet with the seventh-fastest mark in the 400 meters, while Bishop posted the 11th-best time in the region in the 100-meter dash and will also be seeded 19th in the 200 meters. Jensen recorded the eighth-fastest time in the 1,500 meters in the region during the season, and Yanek will run in the 10,000 meters after posting the 33rd-best mark in the event.
The team of Bishop, Brown, Fuller and Shelby qualified 16th in the 4×400-meter relay, while Anderson, Bishop, Fuller and Shelby will compete as the 21st seed in the 4×100-meter relay.
The NCAA East Preliminary will be hosted by Indiana May 25-28, with the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to the NCAA Championships, set to be hosted by Oregon June 8-11 at Hayward Field.
“Our program goal is to elevate ourselves to national rankings and scoring at NCAAs,” Thomas said. “We have worked toward that goal every day of this year. Next weekend will give us the opportunity to do just that.”