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: Six student-athletes qualify for NCAA Championships

Despite facing competition from over 100 other universities, half of the Commodores at the NCAA East Regional will be moving on to the NCAA Championships.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Veronica Fraley hurls the discus at the NCAA East Regional on May 27, 2023 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Vanderbilt followed up its best SEC Championship showing of the last two decades with an impressive performance at the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida. Six Commodores qualified for seven events in the NCAA Championship, which will take place from June 7-10.

Only the top 12 qualifiers in each event — many of which contained over four-dozen participants — advanced to the next competition.

Graduate student Veronica Fraley was the first Commodore to qualify as she finished first in the shot put with a personal best of 17.77 meters. Two days later, she qualified for a second event by finishing first in the discus with a throw of 56.61 meters. Fraley also won the discus event at the 2023 SEC Championships and had previously qualified in both events for the 2021 NCAA Championships while at Clemson.

Fellow graduate student Taiya Shelby qualified for the 400-meter dash after finishing ninth with a time of 52.92 seconds. In 2021, Shelby was the lone Commodore to qualify for the NCAA Championships — also in the 400 meter.

Graduate transfer Brooke Overholt and freshman Allyria McBride qualified for the 400-meter hurdles by finishing fifth and 12th, respectively. Overholt previously qualified for the 2021 Championships in the same event while at Cornell. McBride is the only freshman Commodore to move on and only one of two undergraduate students.

Graduate transfer Beatrice Juskeviciute and senior Jada Sims already qualified for the NCAA Championships with stellar heptathlon performances at the SEC Championships. They finished first and fourth, respectively. This will mark Juskeviciute’s fourth NCAA Championships appearance for the heptathlon after doing so for Cornell in 2019, 2021 and 2022. Sims sports the second-best heptathlon time in Vanderbilt history, only trailing Juskeviciute.

Spearheaded by graduate transfers, head coach Althea Thomas has managed to turn around the Vanderbilt Track and Field program with six qualifiers in each of her first two seasons. As the only one of Thomas’ undergraduate recruits to move on, McBride’s performance at the NCAA Championships will be the first real test of whether the new regime has the ability to develop SEC-caliber talent internally. Sims should also garner interest as a potential graduate returner due to COVID-19 eligibility rules.

The NCAA Championships will take place in Austin, Texas, from June 7-10.

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About the Contributor
Jayce Pollard
Jayce Pollard, Non-revenue Sports Specialist
Jayce Pollard (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy and economics and minoring in data science and Spanish. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can catch Jayce trying to learn the rules of soccer, hating on the Arkansas Razorbacks and being chronically on Twitter. He can be reached at [email protected]
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