|Luana Machado is one of several freshmen capable of making big contributions for the Jumbos this weekend|
MEDFORD – Led by two of the top relay foursomes in the region, the Tufts University women's indoor track & field team will compete for the New England Division III indoor championship this weekend (Feb. 22-23) at Bowdoin College.
The Jumbos have always scored well in the relay events at this meet and hope to make a lot noise there this year. Both the 4x400 and 4x800 are ranked second in New England entering the weekend. The 4x4 of freshmen Tara Lowensohn, Hannah Neilon and Luana Machado along with junior Julia Gake has a season-best mark of 3:58.67 which is among the national top 15. Junior Lauren Diaz, senior Julia Noble, sophomore Olivia Martin and junior Rhemi Toth posted a season-best time of 9:41.22 in the 4x8. The Jumbo 4x2 and distance medley relays could also add top points as well.
Tufts hopes to make hay in the middle distances, where they have some of the top seeds in four events. This is particularly the case in the 600, where Neilon at 1:37.62, Gake at 1:37.69 and Machado at 1:38.77 have the potential to rack up huge points. Diaz in the 800 (2:17.67) and Toth in the 1,000 (2:57.63) have strong chances for high finishes.
Veterans Kelsey Tierney and Natalie Bettez will look to make significant contributions in the distances. Bettez brings a season-best mark of 17:54.14 into the 5,000 and Tierney has a 10:24.82 seed time in the 3,000.
Sophomore Jacqueline Kirk and senior Sydney Ladner are the top Tufts seeds in the vault and jumps. Kirk has a 5'3" (1.60m) season-best in the high jump. Ladner cleared 10'6" (3.20m) this winter. She will also compete in the long jump and with the 4x200 relay. Freshman Kathryn Ezeoha is coming on strong in the long jump (16'10" - 5.13m) and triple jump (36'3 ½" - 11.06m).
The Jumbos will have three entries in Friday's pentathlon – senior Kylene DeSmith, sophomore Scarlet Bliss and sophomore Hannah Norowitz. DeSmith also has strong scoring potential on Saturday in the 60-meter hurdles where her top time is 9.22 seconds.
Lowensohn is Tufts' best bet for points in the sprints, as she will run in the 400 with a 1:00.25 seed time.
Head coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos have finished among the top five teams at this meet for the past three seasons, including a fourth last year. Among the other challengers for the regional title will be Williams, MIT, Brandeis and Coast Guard.