NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt Commodores had a busy Day Two at the Music City Challenge on Saturday, recording numerous event wins, top-5 finishes, personal bests and entries into the program record books.
To begin the day, the cross country and track and field programs’ 13 graduating seniors were recognized by Vanderbilt athletics director Candice Lee and director of cross country and track and field Althea Thomas.
“Being able to compete at home in front of the home crowd gave us the confidence and the extra push we needed to prepare for the best conference [championships] in the NCAA,” Thomas said. “It allowed us to manage our expectations, emotions and anxiousness and still be able to execute. That’s one of the things we’ve been working on as we continue to develop into the athletes we want to be so we can start being the performers we know we’re able to be.”
In competition on the field, Giavonna Meeks finished first among collegiate competitors and third overall in the hammer throw with a 56.48-meter toss.
In the shot put, Veronica Fraley notched the farthest mark of collegiate competitors and finished second overall with a throw of 17.14 meters. Sarah Marvin (15.37 meters) and Meeks (13.47 meters) placed sixth and ninth, respectively.
Laine Roberts posted an outdoor season best in the pole vault, clearing 3.6 meters to finish fifth.
On the track, the 4×100-meter relay of Madison Fuller, Taylor McKinnon, Ella Escobar and Allyria McBride notched the second-fastest performance in program history, finishing second with a time of 45.49 seconds.
Taiya Shelby won the 400 meters with a time of 51.87 seconds, currently ranking in the NCAA’s top 25 for the event. Brooke Overholt finished second, crossing the finish line in a personal best 53.40 seconds, which is No. 4 on the school’s all-time performer list. Finishing in fourth place was Kaira Brown with a season-best time of 54.44 seconds.
In the 400-meter hurdles, McBride claimed her first individual collegiate victory with a time of 58.34 seconds.
Improving her 800-meter time for the third meet in a row, Mackenzie Culpepper clocked 2:10.44, finishing first among freshmen and 12th overall.
On the men’s side, Dylan Ballard earned a seventh-place finish in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.42.
In the 100-meter hurdle prelims, Santana Spearman set a personal best with a time of 13.95 seconds, finishing in fourth place, and Beatrice Juskeviciute finished in second place with a time of 13.92 seconds. In the event final, Spearman improved her performance for the second time of the day, finishing with the No. 4 mark in school history, 13.63 seconds, and claiming second place. Juskeviciute came in third place in the final with a time of 13.66 seconds.
Fuller and Escobar qualified for the 100-meter final. In prelims, Escobar improved her standing from eighth in Vanderbilt history to being tied for fourth with a time of 11.89 seconds. She finished sixth overall in the final with a time of 11.92 seconds. Fuller turned in 11.78 seconds during prelims and 11.93 seconds in the final, finishing seventh overall.
In the last event of the day, Vanderbilt’s 4×400-meter relay team of McBride, Overholt, Brown and Shelby won their event with a time of 3:35.14, which is No. 3 all-time at Vanderbilt.
Friday’s action was highlighted by Fraley’s win in the discus with several Commodore top-5 finishes and personal-best marks. Overholt was the runner-up in the 200 meters with a time of 24.31 seconds. Vanderbilt finished second and third in the 1,500 meters. Caroline Eck came in second with the No. 10 time in program history, 4:23.38. Lainey Phelps was not far behind, finishing third with a time of 4:27.08.
“When you see people performing and hitting their personal bests and staying anchored down in the process, being able to keep notching top 10 marks and setting themselves up to be in great position at conference [championships], it is a great feeling” Thomas said.
Vanderbilt women’s track and field will begin its postseason competition when it travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which are held May 13–15.