Track and Field: Commodores conclude season at NCAA Championships

Vanderbilt’s Divine Oladipo performed strongly in Eugene, winning first-team All-American honors in the shot put.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Madison Fuller and Hailey Bishop were a part of the 4×400 relay on Thursday night in Eugene, Oregon (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

Over the weekend, Vanderbilt traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Commodores faced off against the best competition in the nation in five events: the 1,500-meter, the 400, the shot put, the 4×400 relay and the discus throw. Vanderbilt will have plenty to build off next season, thanks to a solid showing over the weekend. 

The first day of competition included Grace Jensen, Taiya Shelby and Divine Oladipo placing in the top 20 of their events.

“Today was a great day for the program,” head coach Althea Thomas said. “Our ladies came to the pinnacle of NCAA track and field and represented Vanderbilt well.”

On Thursday night, Jensen finished in 11th place in the second heat of the 1,500. Her time of 4 minutes, 17:07 seconds earned her second-team All-American recognition. 

Shelby, a fellow senior, competed in the 400 a few moments later. She finished in 12th place, running a time of 51.64 in the third heat. This finish helped Shelby earn second-team All-American honors. 

Next up for Vanderbilt was Oladipothe fifth-year senior—who earned first-team All-American honors after excelling in the shot put. Her distance of 17.74 meters cemented a sixth place finish in the event overall. 

“[Oladipo] came and put a stamp on her season by earning her first All-American trophy and Vanderbilt’s first in the throwing events for decades,” Thomas said.

The Commodores sent out a 4×400 relay teamfeaturing Shelby, Madison Fuller, Hailey Bishop and Kaira Brownon Friday night. The quartet ran a time of 3:36.62, which concluded the meet for Vanderbilt.

“The ladies represented on the track as well, running near seasons bests,” Thomas said. “This is the foundation that will stand for years to come for this era of Vanderbilt track and field.”

Two days later, Oladipo finished 10th in the discus throw. After an underwhelming first throw, Oladipo struck a second throw of 50.5 meters. Shortly thereafter, on her last attempt, Oladipo completed an excellent throw of 53.74 meters. Her performance on Sunday earned her second team All-American honors. 

“[Oladipo’s] leadership and professionalism has been a catalyst for the growth the entire team has had this year,” Thomas said. “We have rewritten seven indoor school records and six outdoor school records this season. We know progress is power; this team and our staff have fought for progress every day, every practice and in every competition.”

Vanderbilt’s improvement from the fall to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships was drastic, as seven student-athletes represented Vanderbilt over the weekend. In just under a year after Thomas was hired as director of cross country and track and field for Vanderbilt, the Commodores have already built a strong foundation for the program for years to come.