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: Eight Commodores compete at USATF Outdoor Championships

Three student-athletes earn spots on Team USA.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Allyria McBride dazzles in the 400-meter hurdles at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Following the NCAA Championships in June, which marked the end of all team competition, eight Commodores competed at the USATF Outdoor Championships from July 6-9. 

In her final event donning the Black and Gold, fifth-year athlete Taiya Shelby opened the competition with a finish at No. 20 in the women’s 400-meter event. Her time of 52.64 seconds fell just short of both of her USATF finishes from 2022 as she missed out on what would have been a second straight semifinal appearance.

Freshman Santana Spearman finished No. 20 in the U20 women’s 100-meter hurdles on July 7 with a time of 14.01 seconds. Freshman Dylan Ballard of the Men’s Cross Country team competed on the same day in the U20 men’s 1500-meter — where he finished No. 19 with a time of 4:00.18.

Vanderbilt’s fortune improved on Saturday as freshman Giavonna Meeks outdueled all of her competitors to win the U20 women’s hammer throw. Her distance of 60.70 meters was a whopping 4.99 meters farther than the second-place finisher as she became the first Commodore to clinch a spot on this year’s Team USA.

Freshmen Allyria McBride and Mya Georgiadis both competed in the opening round of the U20 women’s 400-meter hurdles on Saturday. Out of 15 athletes, McBride finished second and Georgiadis third with times of 58.45 and 58.87 seconds, respectively. 

The freshman tandem continued their hot streak on Sunday by once again finishing second and third in the finals of the U20 women’s 400-meter hurdles. Both athletes — McBride with 56.40 and Georgiadis with 57.74 seconds — set new personal records that put them at No. 3  and No. 6 in Vanderbilt history. In doing so, the pair joined Meeks in clinching a spot on Team USA.

That same day, freshman Audrey Allman finished sixth in the U20 women’s 1500-meter with a time of 4:29.44. Graduate Veronica Fraley was the last Commodore to compete as she checked in at No. 4 in the women’s discus throw. She finished in this same position at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships, though her distance declined two meters from the year prior.

Meeks, McBride and Georgiadis represent huge victories for head coach Althea Thomas and her recruiting efforts and may even mark the beginning of a climb to relevance that the Commodores haven’t experienced in years.  All three of them will compete for Team USA at the Pan-American U20 Championships in Puerto Rico from August 4-6.

Between its best SEC Championships performance of the millennia, the best NCAA Championships finish since 1997 and the inclusion of three student-athletes on this year’s Team USA, Vanderbilt’s 2023 season represents a marked improvement for the track and field program. As Thomas moves into her third year on the job, she’ll have a strong base of sophomore competitors to lean on that will need to fill the hole left by the departure of Shelby, Fraley and others. 

Leave a comment
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]
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments