On to Austin

Six Commodores advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After two days of competition at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships First Round, the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team punched five tickets to nationals in Austin, Texas.

The Commodores will be bringing a total of six student-athletes and seven entries to the national meet in June. Beatrice Juskeviciute and Jada Sims secured their spots in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with their performances at the SEC Championships earlier this month.

“I’m very proud of the team. The program got better today,” director of track and field Althea Thomas said. “We had seven entries and six qualifiers [for nationals], which is more than we had last year. That means we’re moving in the right direction. In addition to the entries, how the athletes who qualified here competed and how they’ve developed has really helped our program.”

On Saturday, Veronica Fraley qualified for the national championships in her second event, winning the discus with a 56.61-meter throw. She has been undefeated in the event through seven meets, including the SEC Championships. On Thursday, she won the shot put and secured a spot at nationals with a personal-best 17.77-meter toss.

After advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinal in the 400 meters, Taiya Shelby qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a heat-winning time of 52.92 seconds, finishing ninth in the East Region.

Brooke Overholt and Allyria McBride will move on to nationals in the 400-meter hurdles. Overholt finished second in her heat and fifth overall in the event with a time of 56.98 seconds. McBride clocked 57.67 seconds, good for third in her heat and 12th overall. She finished second among all freshman competitors.

Sims cleared 1.67 meters in the high jump to finish 38th.

In the 5,000 meters, Caroline Eck turned in a time of 16:32.96, finishing 36th.

The 4×400-meter relay of McBride, Overholt, Kaira Brown and Shelby closed out the regional meet for Vanderbilt and finished with a time of 3:45.23.

“I’m excited about going to Austin and representing Vanderbilt and continuing the objective for this season,” Thomas said. “We’re a top program in the SEC and the NCAA and we’re ready to show that.”

The 2023 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will take place at Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium June 7-10.