NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With exactly a month passed since the indoor track and field season concluded, the Belmont women's track team proved no length of layoff could stop the momentum the Bruins had built indoors.
Belmont piled up a handful of personal records in its outdoor season debut Friday and Saturday at the Vanderbilt Black & Gold Invitational. The strong performance on a sunny Nashville day marked the first outing for the Bruins since a program-best placing at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships in late February.
Two of Saturday's personal bests belonged to sophomore sprinter Payton Barlow (White House, Tenn.). Barlow, who recently set Belmont's indoor-season school record in the 400 meters, placed third in the event on Vanderbilt's track in a PR time of 55.79 seconds. She also ran the 200 in a personal-best 25.40.
"I definitely felt like I kept the momentum going," Barlow said. "I didn't have any expectations going into today and I'm happy to see a PR. I still have a lot to work on, but I put together a good 300 (meters) with a strong 100 at the end."
Senior Karly Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) also placed third in the javelin, the top finisher of three Bruins in the top 11. Hibbard threw 41.88 meters, just ahead of teammate and sophomore Maja Gustafsson (Västerås, Sweden) who was fourth. Her 41.31 meters tied a personal record. Sophomore Grace Maniscalco (North Chelmsford, Mass.) was 11th in a PR distance of 35.44 meters.
"It was good competition, but I'm definitely not satisfied yet," said Hibbard, a qualifier for the NCAA East Regionals meet a year ago in the javelin. "The Lord blessed me last year, but I'm hoping to build on that with better technique. There's some more pressure this year, but I'm looking forward to it."
Sophomore Caroline Pruitt (Allen, Texas) was Belmont's only other top-10 finisher Saturday. She ran to eighth in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:04.73.
"The athletes did a great job for the first meet of the outdoor season," said Belmont Associate Head Coach Cameron Harvey. "We saw a lot of PRs on the track this weekend and set the ground work for the season. We're excited to see them build on that in the meets to come."
The Bruins are back in action next week starting Wednesday at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina. The team will also compete at the Joey Haines Invitational in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
BELMONT WOMEN'S RESULTS
35. Payton Barlow, so. – 25.40*
3. Payton Barlow, so. – 55.79*
39. Katrina Quigley, jr. – 1:02.96
28. Ruth Wiggins, so. – 2:19.83
31. Caroline Daniel, so. – 2:20.43
38. Anna Arrick, so. – 2:22.47
15. Kortney Schardt, jr. – 4:33.26*
52. Claire Cheeseman, so. – 4:51.47
56. Caroline Daniel, so. – 4:53.53
57. Sierra Lax, sr. – 4:53.62
60. Taylor Cuneo, fr. – 4:57.50*
70. Lauren Denemark, jr. – 5:08.43
41. Maria Brauer, jr. – 10:47.95
43. Gabrielle Yatauro, sr. – 11:09.35
30. Caroline Pruitt, so. – 15.83
8. Caroline Pruitt, so. – 1:04.73
-- Jeanette Morley, so. – NH
22. Maja Gustafsson, so. – 10.91m*
8. Jessica Mattsson, so. – 53.65m
-- Sarah Stegbauer, fr. – NM
3. Karly Hibbard, sr. – 41.88m
4. Maja Gustafsson, so. – 41.31m*
11. Grace Maniscalco, so. – 35.44m*