Off and Running

Vandy hosts first of three indoor meets Friday and Saturday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt women’s track team opens its indoor season this weekend at home when it hosts 16 schools for the Commodore Challenge at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.

Second-year coach Althea Thomas, director of cross country and track and field, has added several sprinters and hurdlers to a team that enjoyed a record-breaking season last year, from Taiya Shelby shattering a 26-year-old record in the 400 meters to Haley Bishop becoming the first person in Vanderbilt history to score in the 100-meter dash. Veteran Shelby earned second-team All-America status during both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year.

“We’re definitely excited to break up the monotony of training, this will be an opportunity for everyone in our program to put on the uniform for the first time this season,” said Thomas. “This is a team that is in its second year with our staff, we have some returners who did very well last year and a lot of newcomers, but we all have an agenda to show everyone the new Vanderbilt and what we’ve got. We’re excited to put that product on the track, but understanding it’s the first meet we want to simply focus on our execution.”

Action kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday with the field events. At 5 p.m. the women’s running events get under way with the 200 meters, ending with the last women’s race at 7:25 p.m. when runners take off in the 5000 meters.

On Saturday the women’s pole vault competition gets going at noon followed by the triple jump at 1 p.m. and the shot put at 2 p.m. Saturday’s running events also get started at noon with the 60-meter hurdle prelims. Click here for the full schedule.

Teams competing with Vanderbilt in the Challenge are SEC foes Alabama and Ole Miss along with Austin Peay, Belmont, Campbellsville, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana Tech, Lindenwood, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee, Mobile, Murray State, Tennessee Tech, Western Kentucky and William Carey.

“Our student-athletes brought a lot of energy, purpose and intent in training in the fall, we hope that they bring that to this first meet as well,” Thomas said. “We want to see them do what they have already done in practice amongst ourselves once we see some opponents from the SEC and around the region this weekend. I want to see them do it with the distraction of other people being in the building.”

Admission to the event is $10 each day with spectators 10-and-younger admitted free. A clear-bag policy will be enforced. Free parking is available in the 25th Avenue Garage (floors 8-10) on Friday and in Lot 75 off Natchez Trace on the second day of the event.

The Dores will be at home Jan. 20-21 to host the Vanderbilt Invitational before heading north to compete in the PNC Lennie Lyles Class Jan. 27-28 in Louisville, Kentucky, and then returning home to host the Indoor Music City Challenge Feb. 10-11. The indoor regular season ends at the JDL DMR Invite Feb. 17-18 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 24-25 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the NCAA Indoor Championships March 10-11 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Fans can follow Vanderbilt women’s track and field on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @VandyXCTrack.