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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 punch six tickets to NCAA Championships

Vanderbilt excelled across the board at NCAA East Regional Prelims, sending qualifiers to the Outdoor Championships in June.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Track and Field advances to Oregon (Vanderbilt Athletics).

This past weekend, Vanderbilt Track and Field sent qualifying athletes to Bloomington, Indiana, to compete in the NCAA East Regional Prelims. The Commodores put forth a strong showing during the first day of the competition to advance to the final qualifying rounds, where they ultimately qualified for the NCAA Championships in six events. 

“We accomplished a goal today that every team in the NCAA establishes the first day of practice,” Althea Thomas, Vanderbilt’s director of track and field said. “Not only did these ladies show up and compete, but our coaches and staff made sure they were prepared and ready to execute. It was a total team effort.”

Day 1

For Vanderbilt runners, the first day of competition was about surviving and advancing. Senior Grace Jensen set the tone early for the Commodores, placing sixth in the 1,500-meter race and qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinal race with a time of 4 minutes, 14.56 seconds. Sophomore Haley Bishop followed suit, earning the last qualifying spot in the 100-meter dash in record-breaking fashion with a time of 11.47 seconds. Her time set a new personal best and broke the school record, which she set earlier in the season. 

Bishop’s performance was followed by another great showing from senior Taiya Shelby, who set a new personal record in the 400-meter race with a time of 51.46 seconds, winning the race and advancing to the finals. After Shelby, Bishop competed in the 200-meter qualifiers and McKenzie Yanek competed in the 10,000-meter race. Unfortunately, both fell just short of qualifying for Saturday’s races.

The Commodores capped off their performances on Friday by another elite showing from star thrower Divine Oladipo. As opposed to the track events, the throwing competitions at the meet had just one round of competition to determine the qualifiers for NCAA Outdoor Championships. As expected, Oladipo took advantage of this opportunity in the shot put, taking fourth place overall with a distance of 17.64 meters and punching Vanderbilt’s first ticket to NCAA Championships. 

With just one qualification earned for the Commodores, all eyes looked toward Saturday. 

Day 2

The second day of competition picked up exactly where it left off on Friday: a Divine Oladipo qualification. After competing in the shot put on Friday, Oladipo’s first event on Saturday was the discus. The sixth-year senior excelled once again in the one-round qualification event, earning sixth overall with a distance of 53.89 meters and qualifying for a second event at NCAA Championships. 

The next race of the afternoon was the qualifying event for the 1,500-meter race. Jensen improved her time from Friday, completing the race in 4:13.86 to earn a spot at Outdoor Championships. She was soon joined by Shelby, who also bettered her previous time, completing the 400-meter dash in 51.45 to earn fourth overall and earn a qualifying spot. 

Despite qualifying for the 100-meter finals at the meet, Bishop was unable to earn a qualifying spot for the event at NCAA Championships. However, the sophomore will be traveling to Oregon because of her spot in Vanderbilt’s two qualifying relay teams. 

Similar to the throwing events, the relay races had just a single-round qualification, with 12 teams qualifying in each event. The 4×400-meter relay team was the first Vanderbilt relay team to punch their ticket, which was made up of Bishop, Shelby, Madison Fuller and Kaira Brown. The group completed the race in 3:38.09 minutes, earning them a qualifying spot. 

The final ticket punched on Saturday for the Commodores was in the 4×100-meter relay. The quartet of Bishop, Fuller, Shelby and sophomore Nicole Anderson ran a time of 45.62, which earned them the final qualifying spot for the event. 

After an indoor season which saw just two Commodores qualify for the championship meet, the team’s performance in outdoor competition serves as a testament to the squad’s growth throughout the year. The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will take place from June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon.

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About the Contributor
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Former 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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