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First Place, Runner Up, and School Records

Vanderbilt Track and Field Opens the Season with Solid Performances

Vanderbilt v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Dores opened this past weekend at home with some of the best competition in the country (you can see full results here). They hosted such Power Five schools as Oklahoma, Indiana, Georgia Tech; SEC foes Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn; and ranked teams FSU and Miami. They also unlocked the rare Double Miami Achievement, with both the FL and OH programs competing.

For the Commodores, the meet was a solid start to the season individually in the pole vault, 200m, mile, and 5k.

In the 4x400m, the women placed second behind Oklahoma and edging out CLANGA by just under half a second, running 3:49.37. (Full results do not list each leg of the relay)

Pole Vault

Kristen Denk led all collegiate vaulters in the Invitational Section of the meet (usually, to speed up the event with a range of talent, meets will host two separate vaults, one open to all and one reserved for invitees who are more competitive than a majority of the field). Denk vaulted 13’3”, which is nearly a foot off her school record Indoor mark last year.

There were a cadre of Vanderbilt vaulters following Denk. Margaret Ollinger, Caleigh Lofstead, and Kaitlyn Deutsch finished 6, T7, T7 respectively. Ollinger valuted 12’11.5” while Lofstead and Deutsch went 12’7.5” Both Ollinger and Lofstead are seniors looking to make a big move in the conference this year, but Deutsch is just a freshman. Her showing in her first meet is noteworthy because her vault puts her 7th in school history.


If you read my sprints preview from last week, you’d know that the Sprints Squad is slowly building in skill and depth. Three 200m sprinters, Jordan Smith, Taiya Shelby, and Kaira Brown all won their heats, and then placed 14th, 17th, and 27th respectively.

In sprints, places matter, but they also don’t because they margin of victory is small compared to the field. It’s best to compare to the winning time and the 8th place time. The winning time was 24.10, and 8th was 24.69. Smith, Shelby, and Brown went 25.10, 25.38, and 25.70. While a whole second is an eternity in a 200m race, the fractions of seconds are anything from a better start to slight muscle fatigue in the last 30m. Look for these runners times to drop as the year marches on.


Steve Keith and Becca Smeltzer’s distance squad steady performs in the XC season and then slides over into the Indoor. Granted they don’t have to run the 7-10k they put in during competition season outside, they do have to go 3k indoors, and if you’ve ever seen 3k run on an indoor track, you know it is as monotonous as filling up a bathtub with a teaspoon of water at a time.

Yet! The team performed well in both the Mile and the 3k.

Reagan Bustamante (who in an earlier piece overlooked because I thought her eligibility was up), placed 10th in the Mile with a time of 4:52.22. She won her heat and was just over a second off finishing in the points. She is a stud and should have a very good year- like All SEC, All American type good year.

Another Senior Lauren Moffett ran 4:58.26 for 12th in the mile while Sophomore XC stand out Haley Walker ran 5:01.47.

In the 3k, Grace Jensen, part of that solid sophomore distance class, placed 13th running 9:45.15, three seconds off finishing in the points, and five off being in the top five. Distance races, conversely to sprints, seconds are blips. They fall off as the runner puts in more volume throughout the season.