Track and Field: Bishop and Fuller break Vanderbilt record in season opener

Sprinters Haley Bishop and Madison Fuller both broke a 12-year school record in the 60-meter dash.

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Haley Bishop breaks a program record in the 60-meter dash. (Facebook/VanderbiltXC)

Anish Mago, Staff Writer

Last weekend, the Vanderbilt women’s track and field team kicked off their season with a strong performance at the Vanderbilt Invitational. Two Commodores in particular, sprinters Haley Bishop and Madison Fuller, excelled and broke a Commodore record, which had previously stood for over a decade. 

Bishop and Fuller both competed in the 60-meter dash, clocking in with times of 7.51 seconds and 7.60 seconds, respectively, in the preliminaries. Both of these times bested the previous record of 7.64 seconds, set by Anna Carr-Hawkins in 2009. Fuller finished sixth in the finals, and Bishop finished fourth, leaving the meet as a new Vanderbilt women’s track and field record holder in her first collegiate race. 

“Just making it to the finals was the only pressure I put on myself that day. Taking most of the pressure off myself definitely helped my performance”, Bishop said of her mindset before the race. The Vanderbilt Invitational was Bishop’s first collegiate race after earning all-state and all-region honors during her sophomore and junior seasons in high school. “I was really happy with my performance and honestly shocked myself because I haven’t run a 60 in about four years.” 

Vanderbilt women’s track and field coach Steve Keith spoke highly of Bishop when asked about her as an athlete. Keith and Bishop maintain a great relationship, and Bishop mentioned the Vanderbilt coach as one of the primary reasons the school stood out in the recruitment process. “She’s a mature kid, got a lot of confidence, and is definitely built for that 60. She’s got a really good start and great acceleration.” 

Unlike Bishop, who is a freshman, Fuller is a sophomore who has a bit more experience racing at the collegiate level. Fuller had a successful freshman winter season, ranking fifth in school history in the indoor 200 meters, and was excited to begin the season where she left off.

“My main focus was getting out fast and making sure I put together a good race on the back-end. I think Haley and I really just settled in,” Fuller said 

After seeing the progress she has made, Fuller attributed much of her growth as a runner to the experience she gained during her freshman season. Although she was able to complete her winter season, her outdoor season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Coming in as a freshman in the SEC you’re a bit awestruck. There are definitely a lot of big names and having time and experience under my belt, as well as a full offseason, helped me improve.” she said.

Both on and off the track, Bishop and Fuller have a great relationship which they believe has made them better athletes. “Madison’s been someone I can look up to as a freshman coming in. Practicing with someone that’s on your level is extremely helpful because you can compete against each other while still maintaining a great relationship.”

Coming from being the only short sprinter on the team last season, Fuller has both enjoyed and benefited from Bishop joining the team this year. “Haley’s a great teammate and person and she’s someone that makes practice fun and competitive. I think we’ve worked really well together.” 

Looking forward, Coach Keith has high expectations for both of the sprinters. 

“As long as we get good, consistent training and we stay healthy, good things will happen for both of them this season,” Keith said.

Both Bishop and Fuller expressed a desire to improve their times across the board and qualify for SEC Championships later this season. No matter what the future holds for this season, it certainly appears that Vanderbilt Track and Field has two young stars in the making.