NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Records are made to be broken, and that’s exactly what the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team continued to do Saturday during the Commodore Challenge contested at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.
All-American shot putter Divine Oladipo went 17.92m (58’9.50”), the nation’s top indoor mark on the season, while breaking a Vanderbilt record that stood for more than two decades. Oladipo, making her debut with the Commodores, broke Leslie Vidmar’s record of 16.16m (53’) set in 1998.
She also bested the 17.90m tossed by Olympian Jessica Ramsey who finished 12th in the Tokyo Games and competed in the Commodore Challenge as an individual.
“Divine has elevated our program and showed what being elite is all about,” Vanderbilt head coach Althea Thomas said. “That was a two-and-a-half foot personal best for her, and coming into a new environment with her coach, she has truly bought in to what we’re doing here. She even exceeded our expectations. We’ve watched her grow over the last semester and do some crazy things in the weight room, and buying in to several technical adjustments. For her to come out here and do what she did in the first meet and beat an Olympian, it was just amazing.
“It’s exactly what this program needs. And it’s exactly why she wanted to be a Commodore. It’s just great to see it happen to such a good athlete, a good person. Our team respects her, and they see how hard she works, and it rubs off.”
Haley Bishop put the finishing touches on a landmark season-opening performance with a school record in the 60 meters, going 7.37 for first and a shade in front of teammate Madison Fuller (7.51), who was third. Bishop’s time ranks among the top-5 nationally.
Bishop also earned the program’s top billing in the 300 meters when the meet began Friday.
“Haley is a different person, in a great way,” Thomas said. “She’s been training hard and she believes that she’s an elite athlete, instead of an ‘also ran’ athlete. She broke the school record in the first heat, and then came back in a very intense final when it was called back, and then she was losing for 50 meters, and to come back and be composed and mature enough as a sprinter and set another school record … that’s amazing.
“It shows a couple of things. It shows that you can sprint at Vanderbilt. And it shows that you can be elite at Vanderbilt.”
Laine Roberts’ 3.35m clearance gave her a stake in the No. 13 spot in the pole vault.
Vanderbilt closed the meet with a silver-worthy finish in the 4x400m (3:45.70) as USF (3:45.43) edged the Commodores at the finish line.
The Commodores return to action when they play host to the Vanderbilt Invitational (Jan. 21-22).