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: Vanderbilt runs hot at Music City Classic

Breaking records was the norm for a Commodore squad spearheaded by its youngest members.
Arianna Santiago
Vanderbilt student-athletes broke over 20 personal records at the Music City Challenge. (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago)

Vanderbilt Track and Field wrapped up the indoor regular season while hosting the Music City Classic from Feb. 9-10. While no team scores were awarded in the 50-team meet, the Commodores walked away in high spirits with over 20 personal and season bests and two school records.

“We really focus on running well when it counts,” head coach Althea Thomas said. “Everything we’ve been doing has been to show up in February.”

Vanderbilt’s performance was headlined by freshman Giovanna Meeks, who broke her own school record in the weight throw for the third time this season and set a new personal-best in the shot put. Junior Julia Rosenberg also broke a school record in the 3,000 meter run, clocking in at a brisk 9 minutes, 15.09 seconds.

“From Julia and Giavonna, it is so recognizable that they’re getting better,” Thomas said. “We all see they’re still scratching the surface. They’re both competitors and when we go to that intense competition at the SEC [Championship], they’re going to continue to rise to the top.”

Vanderbilt’s underclassmen were counted among many of the most notable performances, marking a shift for a program still attempting to stake its claim to competitiveness in the SEC.

Freshman Rowan Houston broke her season-best in the high jump with 1.61 meters, while fellow first-year Catherine Sommerfield outdid her prior best in the one mile run with a time of 4:51.30. Lena Gooden rounded out the rookie group with two personal bests that also rank among the top 10 performances in Vanderbilt history: a time of 7.53 seconds in the 60 meter and 24.61 seconds in the 200 meter.

Sophomore twins Falon and Santana Spearman blazed trails together, taking first and second place in the qualifying round of the 60 meter hurdles with times of 8.544 and 8.541 seconds, respectively. Both made it to the final round of the event, with Santana finishing in fifth with a time of 8.6 seconds. 

Among the upperclassmen, senior Haley Bishop recorded a season best 24.66 seconds in the 200 meter, while graduate Madison Murray matched her season best with 1.64 meters in the high jump.

“I call her Madison ‘personal best’ Murray,” Thomas said. “It doesn’t matter the situation. She just always steps up. You’re going to continue to see more from her.”

Vanderbilt will be back in action at the SEC Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. from Feb. 9-10. The indoor season will then conclude at the NCAA Championships in Boston, Mass. from March 8-9, followed one week later by the start of the outdoor season.

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About the Contributors
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]
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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