The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

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 break records at Georgia Tech Invitational

Vanderbilt begins to hit their stride with numerous top-five finishes to cap off a great weekend in Georgia.
Vanderbilt+runner+Niki+Narayani+competes+at+the+Georgia+Tech+Invitational+from+April+22-23%2C+2022.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt runner Niki Narayani competes at the Georgia Tech Invitational from April 22-23, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

From April 22-23, Vanderbilt traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to compete in the annual Georgia Tech Invitational. With their spring season winding down, the Commodores produced great performances across the board and continued to build momentum as they look toward postseason meets in May. 

Following a successful indoor season, the Commodores’ outdoor season is heading towards its completion after a successful string of meets in April. The season has featured many of Vanderbilt’s stars continuing to improve on their records, as well as given newer Commodores the opportunity to compete for the first time. 

“Georgia Tech consistently hosts great meets, and we got the opportunity to compete against top talent and show what we are made of, “ Althea Thomas, Vanderbilt’s director of track and field, told Vanderbilt Athletics. “Our student-athletes have taken the initiative to elevate their mental and emotional training to match their hard physical work.”

Day 1

The Commodores came out strong on the first day of the meet, setting the tone for what turned into a very successful weekend. The first event of the night was highlighted by a top-10 finish for junior Josephine Dal, who earned ninth place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.27 seconds. 

The best performance of the meet for Vanderbilt came shortly after from star thrower and year Divine Oladipo. Following a record-breaking showing just two weeks ago at the Joe Walker Invitational, Oladipo broke her own Vanderbilt record in the shot put, winning gold with a distance of 17.53 meters. The throw also moved Oladipo up to second in the SEC and seventh in the country for the event.

The next field event to take place was the pole vault, where sophomore Laine Roberts represented the Commodores. She ranked fifth overall in the event with a height of 3.70 meters, which also earned her the No. 10 spot on Vanderbilt’s all-time leaderboard in the event. 

Back on the track, three long-distance races capped the first afternoon of the meet for Vanderbilt. The first was the 1,500-meter, in which five Commodores competed. Senior Grace Jensen continued her great form, earning fourth in the race with a time of 4:18.33. Haley Walker, Joslin Blair, Julia Rosenberg and Emma Curry also competed in the event, and Rosenberg set a personal record with a time of 4:38.06. 

The final event of the day was the 5,000-meter race, in which Niki Narayani and Jacqueline Pinon competed. With a great performance, Narayani came in fourth place with a time of 16:22.71, ranking the junior at 10th overall in the conference and fifth overall in Vanderbilt history. 

Day 1 of the invitational served as a solid springboard for the rest of the weekend. 

Day 2

On the second day of the meet, the Commodores hit the ground running with a fantastic showing in the 4×100-meter relay. Vanderbilt’s team of Haley Bishop, Taiya Shelby, Nicole Anderson and Madison Fuller won the event with a time of 44.93, setting a Vanderbilt record. After winning the 4×400-meter relay at the Joe Walker Invitational just two weeks ago, the short distance team continued to solidify itself as one of the best in the conference. 

With the tone set after an impressive performance, the Commodores continued to perform well as the day went on. Following her win in the relay, Shelby also earned first place in the 400-meter race with a time of 51.91. Oladipo followed her record-breaking performance on Day 1 with a second-place finish in the discus, with a distance of 51.62 meters. 

The next event of the day was the 800-meter race, in which six Commodores competed. Once again, it was Jensen who paced Vanderbilt’s runners, finishing third with a personal record of 2:06.39. Blair and Curry also competed in the event for the first time, earning times of 2:12.97 and 2:25.51, respectively. 

Sophomore star Bishop was back breaking records for Vanderbilt in the next race of the day, where she earned first place in the 200-meter with a time of 23.20. Bishop’s time broke the previous Vanderbilt record, a time of 23.49 set by Ryan Tolbert in 1996. With the victory, Bishop now owns all of the Vanderbilt records in the sprints: the outdoor 100 and 200, and the indoor 60, 200 and 300.

The afternoon was capped off by another elite 4×400-meter relay performance by Bishop, Fuller, Shelby and junior Kaira Brown. With Brown being the only difference from the team which had won the 4×100-meter relay earlier in the afternoon, the Commodores took first with a time of 3:36.22, the third-best time in the Vanderbilt record books. Further, the group’s time was an improvement over their performance two weeks ago at the Joe Walker Invitational in the same event, demonstrating the progress they have made this season. 

Following excellent performances during their last few meets, Vanderbilt will complete their regular season schedule at home from April 29-30 in the Outdoor Music City Challenge. 

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About the Contributor
Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
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