Off and Running

Three medals, several personal bests highlight first road meet of the year


CLEMSON, S.C. — In the first road meet of the year, three medals and several personal bests highlighted a fast Clemson Invitational for the Vanderbilt track and field team over the weekend.

“Every week we want to improve and most everyone had big improvements this week,” Vanderbilt head coach Steve Keith. “We had some really nice drops and it was a solid effort all around. It was a good indication of where we are training-wise and it only gets more and more fun the faster we run.”

Sophomore Haley Walker and senior Reagan Bustamante earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the 800 meters. Walker was the runner-up with a time of 2:10.69 and Bustamante was just a few strides behind with a finish of 2:11.11.

Four Commodores also took home a medal Friday. Vanderbilt’s distance medley relay finished second as Becca Schulte (3:32), Regan Clay (58.71), Bustamante (2:11.16) and Walker (4:56.51) combined to earn the silver in 11:38.64.

Personal Bests
Sophomore Jordan Smith and freshman Kaira Brown each won their heats in the 400 meters and were the fastest collegians at the meet. The duo finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Smith nearly cracked the school’s all-time top 10 with a career-best finish of 56.15 while Brown finished her first college 400 at 56.29.

In the mile, sophomore Grace Jensen and senior Lauren Moffett were side-by-side at the finish and both posted personal bests. Jensen was under five minutes for the first time in her indoor collegiate career with an 11th-place finish of 4:54.24 while Moffett stopped the clock at 4:54.57.

More Top Performances
In her first collegiate pentathlon, freshman Jada Sims was fifth overall highlighted by another strong showing in the high jump — she cleared 1.63 meters and finished second among the pentathletes.

In the pole vault, senior Margaret Ollinger finished fourth after she cleared 3.97 meters (13 feet, 1/4 inch) while freshman Kaitlyn Deutsch was seventh with a clearance of 3.82 meters (12-06.25 ft.). Senior Caleigh Lofstead was also among the top 10 as she placed ninth at 3.67 meters (12-00.50 ft.).

Smith and Brown also won their heats in the 200. Smith finished 18th with a time of 25.15, while Brown cut three-tenths of her debut time from a week ago with a 25th-place finish at 25.49. In three career races, Brown has won her heat on all three occasions.

To cap the meet, Vanderbilt’s 4×400 relay team won its heat and took two seconds off its time from last week’s season-opener. The Commodores finished in 3:47.52 and were fourth among 12 teams.

Up Next
Upon returning to campus, the Commodores will have a week off and then head to the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station, Texas, Feb. 7-8 before hosting the Music City Challenge on Feb. 14-15.