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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 post strong performances at Black and Gold Invitational

Vanderbilt athletes won multiple events at the home meet.
Matthew Estopinal competes in the Black and Gold Invitational. (Twitter/@Vandyxctrack)

Members of the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team and men’s cross country team competed in various events at the Black and Gold Invitational, held from April 16-17 at Vanderbilt Track. Vanderbilt hosted Austin Peay, Ball State, Belmont, Butler, Murray State, Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State, Tennessee Tech, UT Martin and Xavier (OH) for its lone home meet of the outdoor track season.

Senior Ruby Stauber won the women’s 800-meter race with a time of 2:04.35, good for second-best in Vanderbilt program history. The Commodores dominated the event, with juniors Grace Jensen, Taiya Shelby and Haley Walker finishing second, third and fourth, respectively, behind Stauber with times of 2:07.85, 2:08.85 and 2:09.62.

Junior Matthew Estopinal finished first in the men’s 5000-meter race, posting a personal-best time of 14:36.17, while senior Caleb Van Geffen placed 15th in the event with a time of 15:11.39.

In the women’s 400-meter race, sophomore Kaira Brown ran 55.57 to win comfortably, with junior Jordan Smith placing seventh at 56.97. Brown and Smith also ran in the women’s 4×400-meter relay, combining with Stauber and Shelby to produce a winning time of 3:39.71.

Senior Gillian Mortimer could not hold on for the win in the women’s 3000-meter race, but still finished second with a personal-best time of 9:41.01, a mark that is eighth-best in school history. Mortimer was especially happy that her strong showing came at home on Senior Day.

“We don’t usually get a lot of chances to run the [3000-meter race] outdoors,” Mortimer said. “So going out there and running with all the people from our team cheering and with my parents here too was just really exciting. And it felt good to finally get that good [personal record] in.”

In the men’s 3000-meter race, junior Nick Laning set his personal record, running 8:21.17 for a runner-up finish. Junior Jonah Bird showed out in the other men’s long-distance event on Saturday, placing third in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:39.17.

Vanderbilt excelled in the women’s 1500-meter race, with three runners placing in the top five. Freshman Lainey Phelps, Walker, and senior Anna Grace Morgan finished second, third and fifth with times of 4:25.79, 4:28.66 and 4:42.82.

Freshman Josephine Dal and senior Regan Clay performed well in the hurdle events. Dal ran 14.09 in the 100-meter hurdles to place sixth, while Clay ran 1:02.75 in the 400-meter hurdles to place fourth. Sophomore Madison Murray highlighted the field events, jumping 1.63 meters en route to a fourth-place finish in the high jump. 

The Commodores’ next meet is the North Florida Invitational, held from April 29-30. That will be their last meet before the SEC Outdoor Championships, where they will look to qualify for the NCAA East Regionals.

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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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