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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 solidify squad at Indoor Music City Challenge and JDL DMR Invitational

The two weekend meets served as Vanderbilt’s final preparation for the SEC Indoor Championships.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt track and field competes during a race in Nashville during the indoor season in 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The Vanderbilt track and field team hosted the Indoor Music City Challenge from Feb. 11-12 and competed at the JDL DMR Invitational on Feb. 18. The two meets were the Commodores’ final events before the SEC Indoor Championships, which will be held from Feb. 25-26 at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

Seniors Taiya Shelby and Grace Jensen and juniors Kaira Brown and Caroline Eck comprised the distance-medley relay team for Vanderbilt at the JDL DMR Invitational. In the final event before the SEC Indoor Championships, they combined for a school record, placing eighth with a time of 11 minutes, 14.47 seconds.

Meanwhile, at the Indoor Music City Challenge, Vanderbilt welcomed a host of schools from the East and Midwest including SEC rivals Tennessee, LSU and Kentucky. The Commodores posted encouraging performances at many distances in the running events, with a few notable results in the field events as well.

Jensen highlighted the weekend with a stellar showing in the 1-mile run. She bested her own school record with a time of 4:38.94 and finished fifth overall.

Shelby also cemented a place in the Vanderbilt record books, running the 400-meter seeded in 52.91, a time that is second fastest in school history. Shelby easily bested her competition, with the second-place runner finishing over a second behind her.

Just as Shelby continued her dominance in the middle distances, sprinters Haley Bishop and Madison Fuller continued theirs in the short distances. Bishop won the 60 with a time of 7.42, and Fuller finished fourth in 7.51. In the 200, Bishop secured another victory with a time of 23.85, while Fuller set a personal best with a time of 24.11, finishing sixth.

The 4×400-meter relay team of senior Jordan Smith, Shelby, Fuller and Brown continued to roll. Though they were outdone by Tennessee, the squad placed second overall with a time of 3:38.01, the fourth-fastest mark in school history.

Smith and Brown also competed in other middle-distance events. Smith finished seventh in the 400 unseeded with a time of 57.32, while Brown placed third in the 600 with a time of 1:33.27.

Eck and graduate McKenzie Yanek represented Vanderbilt in the 3,000 seeded race. Eck placed 12th overall with a time of 9:27.21, setting her personal record and vaulting her to third in school history. Yanek followed with a 21st-place finish and a time of 9:42.63.

Senior Jacque Pinon (10:02.59), sophomore Joslin Blair (10:12.28), sophomore Jenna Holland (10:16.30) and freshman Emma Curry (10:29.22) ran in the 3,000 unseeded. They finished 20th, 27th, 30th and 35th, respectively.

Blair (4:53.90) joined freshmen Cameron Fawcett (4:56.36), Ella Lambert (4:57.09) and Julia Rosenberg (4:58.81) in the 1-mile. The Commodores followed Jensen in placing 29th, 35th, 36th and 43rd, respectively.

Junior Josephine Dal and graduate Jess Creedon kicked off the field events with the long jump. Dal jumped 5.32 m to place 20th, and Creedon jumped 5.12 m to place 26th. The pair also competed in the 600 and shot put, mimicking the events of a pentathlon.

Graduate Divine Oladipo posted a sturdy mark of 16.91 m in the shot put to finish fifth. However, she will undoubtedly be looking for more at the SEC Championships, especially with a throw of 17.92 m to her name this season.

Sophomore Laine Roberts and junior Kaitlyn Deutsch rounded out the meet in the pole vault. Roberts cleared 3.63 m to place 16th, and Deutsch cleared 3.28 m to place 21st.

The Commodores will be back in action Friday, Feb. 25, at the SEC Indoor Championships, where they will look to announce themselves to the SEC in the first year of head coach Althea Thomas’s tenure. The meet will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN.

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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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