Seniors Shine

Vandy seniors stand out on senior day


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a meet to remember for seniors of the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team at the Music City Challenge over the weekend. In the final home meet for 10 Commodores, Vanderbilt earned a silver, bronze and produced three more all-time top 10 marks.

“Every class has their own personality and character and they all mean so much to us,” Vanderbilt head coach Steve Keith said. “For kids to go through four years of the highs and lows of Division I track and field is a challenge, and to stay with it and go out on a few high notes is great. They’ve all been working hard and we’re proud of them.”

Senior Standouts

In her final meet at the Vanderbilt Multipurpose Fieldhouse, Lauren Moffett posted the fifth-fastest indoor mile in program history. She stopped the clock at 4:47.08 — the best time for a Commodore since Sara Barron broke 4:40 and set the school record in 2016.

“Her workouts in the last few weeks have been fantastic,” Keith said of Moffett. “When you just get your head into the race and don’t think too much, you are going to run real well and that’s exactly what she did.”

Senior Reagan Bustamante posted a season-best 2:09.07 to place sixth in the 800 meters. It was just 13 hundredths from a personal-best that ranks eighth in school history.

Seniors Margaret Ollinger and Caleigh Lofstead were seventh and ninth in a pole vault field that featured multiple professionals. Ollinger surpassed 4.01 meters (13 feet, 1 3/4 inches) and Lofstead was over at 3.86 meters (12-08 ft.).

On Saturday, 10 Commodores were honored during Senior Day ceremonies: Andrew Irvine, Harrison Thomas, Kacie Breeding, Bustamante, Kendall Derry, Lofstead, Moffett, Ollinger, Becca Schulte and Mailin Struck.

On the Podium

Sophomore Taiya Shelby was the runner-up in the 400 meters and moved up a spot to third place in the school record book with a personal-best finish of 54.22. She took more than four-tenths of her PR time from a week ago. Sophomore Jordan Smith was eighth at 55.77.

Sophomore Grace Jensen earned bronze in the 3,000 meters with a third-place finish of 9:39.99. It was a career best and less than a second from the school’s all-time top 10 list.

Crowded Record Book

Five members on Vanderbilt’s all-time top 10 indoor pole vault list are currently on the team. Freshman Alex Swindle jumped into the school record book Saturday. She is now 10th in program history after she cleared 3.61 meters (11 feet, 10 inches).

In addition to Swindle, Denk (first), Lofstead (third), Ollinger (fourth) and Deutsch (seventh) make up half the record book.

Top Finishes

Freshman Josephine Dal posted Vanderbilt’s first top-five finish of the meet with a career-best effort in the long jump. Down to her final attempt, Dal landed at 5.44 meters (17-10.75 feet) to finish fifth.

In the high jump, freshmen Madison Murray and Jada Sims tied for eighth with a clearance of 1.59 meters (5-02.50 feet).

Vanderbilt also finished sixth in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:46.63.

For the men, sophomores Nick Laning and Matthew Estopinal finished sixth and seventh in the 5,000 meters, respectively. Laning stopped the clock at 14:32.69, and Estopinal took more than 10 seconds off his personal best with a finish of 14:39.37.

On Deck

Next up, the Commodores head to the SEC Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, on Feb. 28-29.