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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Track and Field: Commodores excel at weekend meets

Junior Taiya Shelby was among those who impressed in Raleigh and Starkville.
Taiya Shelby wins the 800-meter race at the Bulldog Relays. (Twitter/@Vandyxctrack)

Members of the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team and men’s cross country team competed at the Raleigh Relays from March 25-27 and the Bulldog Relays from March 26-27. 

At the Bulldog Relays, junior Taiya Shelby finished first in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:07.85. Though the 400-meter is Shelby’s primary event, she was eager to compete in a race she had not run since high school.

“I was excited, because it’s been a minute,” Shelby said. “It’s a challenging race, and I think that’s probably one of the reasons why I like it.”

Shelby was among many Vanderbilt runners who did not compete in their primary events. Head coach Steve Keith emphasized the importance of running alternate events throughout the season to bolster speed or strength.

“You can’t just spend the whole time doing your one event, you have to give yourself a little work above and below,” Keith said. “Then you pick your opportunities to focus on your primary event.”

Sophomore Madison Fuller and freshman Haley Bishop had strong showings, building upon their success at the Vanderbilt Invitational. In the 100m, Fuller placed second with a school-record time of 11.54 seconds, and Bishop finished sixth at 11.81 seconds. In the 200m, Fuller and Bishop posted near-identical times of 23.64 and 23.65 seconds. They finished second and third, respectively.

Keith was impressed by the duo and gave credit to Fuller for fostering Bishop’s success by being a useful and relatable mentor.

“It’s just a great combination having Madison Fuller and Haley Bishop working out together,” Keith said. “Sometimes there’s a little bit of an adjustment, [a] learning curve that first year. Well Haley’s kind of skipped that because she’s got a young teammate a year older than her.”

Other highlights from the Bulldog Relays included the performances of sophomore Madison Murray and senior Ruby Stauber. Murray tied for second in the high jump, posting 1.67 meters, while Stauber finished second in the 1500-meter race with a time of 4:27.37.

In Raleigh, Grace Jensen achieved personal records in the 800-meter race (2:08.70) and the 1500-meter race (4:20.74). She placed 15th and seventh, respectively.

Making sure not to look too far ahead, Keith noted that Jensen stacks up well against competition across the nation.

“It’s early in the season but [her 1500-meter time] put her pretty high on the national list,” Keith said.

Juniors Nick Laning and Matthew Estopinal had the standout performances for the men at the Raleigh Relays. Laning finished 35th in the 5000-meter with a time of 14:13.34, and Estopinal ran a personal-best 29:33.43 in the 10,000-meter to finish 21st.

The Commodores will look to carry over their success at the Tennessee Relays from April 8-10 and the Miami Invite from April 9-10.

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About the Contributor
Kavi Jakes
Kavi Jakes, Former Sports Copy Editor
Kavi Jakes (‘24) is a sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in psychology and minoring in mathematics. Kavi enjoys running and competes vicariously through the Vanderbilt cross-country and track and field teams. You can reach him at [email protected].
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