Clemson fancied itself a track and field school through the mid 00’s. They built a beautiful indoor facility but didn’t include a banked track. It was great place to host a meet except that little detail. Somewhere along line the of the Dabo era and all the $$$ coming in, the Tigers updated their facility and now host one of the more competitive indoor meets in the Southeast, the Bob Pollock Invitational
Which makes it all the more impressive what Haley Walker, Reagan Bustamante, and Margaret Ollinger did at the Bob. A meet hosting Power 5 schools from around the Southeast and professionals from Canadian and Bahamian National teams, Nike, Puma, and Adidas, the #VandyGirls held their own.
(Side note: College track meets are weird. They are technically exhibitions open and to anyone who can qualify. That’s kind of like hosting golf tournaments or tennis matches that are open to non NCAA teams just to get good competition.)
Walker and Bustamante, a sophomore and Senior, placed second and third in the open 800m with times of 2:10.69 and 2:11.11. These are impressive considering it is the first 800m of the season for both. They opened the Indoor season last weekend at home with the mile.
They bested runners from conference opponents Georgia and Auburn, former conference opponent Georgia Tech, and probably should be in the conference if it wasn’t for a UF black balling in the early 90’s, Florida State.
Walker was .69 seconds off the leader, a freshman out of ACC black and gold counterpart, Wake Forrest.
Olligner, held steady with a vault of 3.97m. She placed 4th, losing 3rd by scratches. The first and second place vaulters went 4.22m, the next bar up. 3.97m is just over 13 feet, which is good in the conference but won’t be competitive for points.
All American Kristen Denk did not vault this meet. But freshman standout Kaitlyn Deutsch had another good showing at 3.82m for 7th place.
The spring squad once again moved forward with competitive times again, this time in the 400m. Jordan Smith and Kaira Brown placed 5th and 6th with times of 56.15 and 56.29. They both doubled in the 200m running 25.15 and 25.49, respectively.
Indoor season is a time to be competitive, but most coaches put their eggs in the outdoor basket unless they have a significant contender (think: CoCo Clayton, Simone Charley, or Kristen Denk). So the steps the team makes right now are in service of peaking at conference and hitting NCAA qualifying marks for Indoor Nationals- or just putting in reps so Outdoor conference is their time to shine.
Considering the class of most sprinters and the trends over the last few years, that would be the plan. However, the middle distance and PV crews are going to continue to gear up for an Indoor peak.