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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.

Starting strong at home: Vanderbilt Track and Field hosts Commodore Challenge

The Vanderbilt Track and Field Team opened their 2024 season at their home facility, hosting the Commodore Challenge, collecting numerous top-ten finishes and personal best performances.
Arianna Santiago
Photographed at Vanderbilt University on Jan. 13, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago)

The Vanderbilt Track and Field team kicked off its 2024 season, hosting the Commodore Challenge from Jan.12 to Jan.13 at the Vanderbilt University Recreation Center indoor track and field complex.

First day results:

The Black and Gold started the first day of competition strong, where highlights included setting a new school record, two top-10 finishes and several personal best times. 

On the track, Allyria McBride and Ella Escobar’s times of 38.09 and 39.70 seconds, respectively, in the 300 meters moved each of the athletes up to No. 2 and No. 7 on the Vanderbilt all-time list in the event. Mackenzie Culpepper recorded a time of 2:55.72 in the 1,000-meter event, earning her a seventh-place finish. Taylor McKinnon and Madison Murray also competed in the 300 meters, recording personal best times of 42.37 and 43.17 seconds, respectively.

In the field events, Anaya Webster gained a mark of 5.86 meters in the long jump, which placed her third in the event. In the weight throw, Giavonna Meeks set the school record at 20.68 meters en route to an overall fifth-place finish while finishing first among fellow freshman competitors. 

Second day results: 

On the second and final day of competition, the Commodores added several top-10 marks and personal best performances. 

In the 60-meter hurdle event, Santana Spearman and Taylor McKinnon advanced past the preliminary round and to the finals, where they recorded times of 8.43 and 8.63 seconds, respectively. Spearman’s time in the 60-meter hurdle finals placed her second in the event and first among collegiate competitors while also being a personal best and third-best time in program history. Spearman also added a second personal best time to her day in the 60 meters crossing the line with a time of 7.95 seconds. 

In the 3,000 meters, Vanderbilt had three athletes competing – Julia Rosenberg, Emma Curry and Jenna Holland – all finished in the top ten of the event. Rosenberg’s first-place finish and time of 9:37.57 improved upon her previous personal record by ten seconds. Curry’s time of 9:50.62 gave her a third-place finish and Holland finished eighth in the event with a time of 9:59.34. Curry also collected a personal best time in the one-mile event with a time of 4:53.56, which earned her a fifth-place finish. 

In the field events on day two, the Commodores had three members compete in the seeded division of the shot put. Veronica Fraley finished second overall and first among collegiate athletes with a 17.21-meter mark. Sarah Omoregie recorded a mark of 16.41 meters, earning her fourth place and moving her up to third all-time for the program. Sarah Marvin’s throw of 15.12 meters earned her a seventh-place finish in the division. Giavonna Meeks won the unseeded division of the shot put with a throw of 15.39 meters, which was a personal best and ranks fifth in the program’s all-time top ten. 

The meet concluded with the relay events, where the Commodore 4×400 meter relay team composed of Ella Escobar, Allyria McBride, Lena Gooden and Falon Spearman recorded a time of 3:44.57, which earned them a third-place finish in the event.

“Overall, all the returners have come back with a level of maturity and understanding of the process and the standard that we’re trying to create, and they’re collectively involved in that standard,” Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Althea Thomas said, “Our freshman come in with a level of experience at big competitions…I think they handled this environment very well.”

The Commodores will compete next on Jan. 19 at the Vanderbilt Recreation Track and Field Complex.

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About the Contributors
Grace Hall
Grace Hall, Assistant Sports Specialist
Grace Hall (‘26) is from Belfast, Maine, and is majoring in public policy studies in the College of Arts and Science. Grace is also the vice-president of the Vanderbilt Club Field Hockey Team. When not writing for The Hustler you can find her watching the Boston Red Sox or Celtics, reading or at a concert. You can reach her at [email protected].
Arianna Santiago
Arianna Santiago, Senior Staff Photographer
Arianna Santiago ('24) is from Bremerton, Wash., and studying electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering. When not shooting for The Hustler or for freelance work, Arianna can be found leading campus tours, organizing events for University Catholic, attempting to study and procrastinating her lab reports. You can reach her at [email protected].
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