Track, field has strong January showings

Jake Blancher, Associate Sports Editor

tulane track and field
Merrie Afseth

Clearly keeping atop their New Year’s resolutions, the women’s Tulane track and field team had strong showings in their two January meets, with numerous top 10 finishes across a wide variety of events. 

On Jan. 13 — the Ides of January — in Lexington, Kentucky, the women had particularly impressive performances in the 600-meter, 800-meter, pole vault, triple jump, shot put and the mile competing in the Rod McCravy Memorial meet. 

In the 600 meter, junior Janae Dean was less than a second away from finishing in the top spot, nevertheless taking home third place with two other Tulanians in the top 14. Similarly, in the 800-meter, the Green Wave held five of the top 14 spots, headlined by second-place finisher Illinois-native Sophia McNerney

The field events did not deter the athletes, resulting in three more Tulane second-place finishes. 

Alex Potts vaulted a towering 3.87 meters, nearly 13 feet, in the pole vault. Maren Butler’s shot put traveled 14.5 meters, which is just over 17.5 feet. Finally, Kara Steele soared 12.49 meters, nearly 41 feet, in the triple jump

Highlighting these feats was graduate student Mackenzie Callahan, who won the mile by a one hundredth of a second. She edged out Ohio State Buckeye Addie Engel at a sub-five minute pace.

Following their success in Kentucky, the team traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the Samford Invite.

Hailing from the Aloha State of Hawaii, graduate student Kristen O’Handley dominated the 60-meter hurdles, blazing past her competition to finish first in both the qualifying preliminaries and the finals. 

In an equally stellar performance as in the Bluegrass state, the Green Wave again was scattered among the very best of the 800-meter runners. Janae Dean yet again finished second, but this time to friendlier competition — fellow Tulanian Victoria Robinson who took home the top spot. And if there were not enough olive green and blue on the podium, Abigail Heck rounded out the top five.

The best men’s performance of the day came in the same event where Aaron Gilliam placed as the runner-up, missing out on a win by just over one second to Southern University’s Nicholas Scott.

En route to a No. 8 ranking in the South Central Division, other top 10 finishes by the women’s track and field stars saw some familiar names, including Alex Potts in pole vault, Sophia McNerny in the mile and Kara Steele in the triple jump.

The team will leave the South and head to New England in the beginning of February for back-to-back meets at Harvard University and Boston University.

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