NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Junior sprinter Taiya Shelby will arrive in Oregon this week to represent Vanderbilt women’s track and field at the NCAA Championships, beginning Thursday at historic Hayward Field in Eugene.
Shelby will race in the NCAA semifinals of the 400 meters at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday on ESPN2. She is slated for the second heat in lane two. The top two from each of the three heats and the next three best times will qualify for the finals at 6:02 p.m. on Saturday.
Shelby advanced through the first round and quarterfinals of the 400 meters at the NCAA East Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida, May 27-29.
In the quarterfinals, Shelby became the second Commodore in school history and first in 24 years to break 52 seconds in the 400 meters. The top three in each heat automatically advanced to the semifinals and Shelby was fourth, but with the second-fastest finish in school history at 51.84, she punched her ticket to the national meet with one of the three best at-large times—it ranked ninth overall among the field of 24.
Shelby advanced past the first round in the 400 meters with a second-place finish in her heat. She also improved on her second-place standing in school history with a personal-best finish of 52.46. That was seventh overall among the field of 48.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, and double major in economics and medicine, health and society, Shelby was a 2020 USTFCCCA All-Academic honoree and a school record holder in the 4×100 relay. She also ranks second in school history in four other events and, in all, ranks among Vanderbilt’s all-time top 10 in 11 different events.
There were no NCAA Outdoor Championships meet last year so the last Commodore to compete at the final meet of the year was Kristen Denk, who finished eighth to earn All-America honors in the pole vault.
Vanderbilt’s only All-American in the outdoor 400 meters is Ryan Tolbert in 1997.
Entering the final meet of the season, Vanderbilt has collectively set five school records and recorded 33 top-10 performances during the 2021 outdoor season.