The women’s track-and-field team has had an incredible showing in the postseason, earning the highest team finish at the NESCAC Championships since 2003 and the best team finish at the Division III New England Championships since 1995. Setting multiple school records along the way, the Cardinals are on track to close out the year with a strong performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
After closing out the indoor season with six All-American honors and a championship-winning performance by Grace Devanny ’23 in the 400-meter dash, the Cards have taken the transition into the outdoor season in stride. Heading into these outdoor postseason meets, the team scored strong finishes at the Silfen Invitational, hosted by Conn. College from Friday, April 14 to Saturday, April 15. There, the Red and Black took third place out of 21 teams with 83 points.
During the meet, Gabby Harris ’23, Kenzie Kelly ’25, Augusta Burhans ’23, and Devanny broke Wesleyan’s 10-year-old 4×100-meter race school record to win the event. Imagen Walters ’26, Kate Hausladen ’23, Kelly, and Sophia Mack ’26 then secured another victory in the 4×400-meter race before Devanny won the 200-meter sprint.
On top of the new school record, Harris also came runner-up in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200m, while Jane Hollander ’23 was runner-up in the 1500-meter race and Stephanie Ager ’26 came second in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Miranda Graves ’23 and Hausladen continued the Cardinals’ momentum with fourth-place finishes in the 10000-meter race and 400-meter hurdles respectively. The Cards also took top-five finishes throughout the field events, with Mallory Elliott ’23 fifth in the high jump and Fiona Carroll ’25 fourth in the pole vault.
The next weekend, the Red and Black took five first-place finishes at the Trinity Invitational to finish third place out of nine teams on Saturday, April 22. Harris earned first in the 100m and fourth in the 200m, while Devanny came first in the 400m. Maeve Hoffman ’23 won the 800-meter race by five seconds among 27 competitors, while Jordan Walter ’25 came in first in the 1500m.
The 4x400m relay team of Hoffman, Kelly, Devanny, and Mack secured the fifth Cardinal victory of the day as they finished nearly 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up team. Hausladen finished second in the 400m hurdles, while Carroll and Erika Kluge ’23 both posted 3.25 meters in the pole vault to take second and third.
Following these great performances, the team headed to the NESCAC Championships at Conn. College, where the Cardinals continued to demonstrate their strength. The Cards scored 67 team points at NESCACs to take fifth place, the highest team finish since 2003.
Wesleyan got off to a strong start at the meet as Harris, Kelly, Burhans, and Devanny won the 4x100m. Devanny spoke about what it was like to kick off the day with this relay win.
“That’s such a cool event because it’s so quick and very technical, unlike a lot of other running races, because it’s really based on your handoffs, and I’m doing it with three of my best friends on the team,” Devanny said. “It’s just a really cool way to end the season together on the track together. I think I was most nervous for that because a little thing could go wrong and you could not finish the race.”
Devanny then put in incredible individual performances in both the 200m and the 400m, winning the 200m for the first time at NESCACs before defending her 400m title and finishing the sprint over two seconds ahead of the runner-up. After these victories, Devanny helped the Cardinals pull off a double win in the sprint relays by defending their title in the 4x400m relay, with Mack, Hoffman, Kelly, and Devanny winning by almost three seconds.
This was just the second time in team history that the Cardinals have won the 4x400m, and made Wesleyan the first NESCAC team to win both the 4x100m and the 4x400m at NESCACs since Williams did in 2008. Devanny highlighted the team effort that was required for the Red and Black to earn these achievements.
“You kind of rely on everyone else around you because it’s a team event, so you don’t want to let anyone else down,” Devanny said. “So that propels you through the race.”
Devanny’s four victories made her the first athlete in NESCAC history to win four track events (two individual and two relays). She also became just the third athlete in NESCAC history since 2002 to win both the 200m and the 400m in the same year. The senior became the first Cardinal to be awarded the Sabasteanski Award, which is given to the NESCAC’s most outstanding performer at the championship meet.
Nearing the end of her senior season, Devanny spoke about what it meant to deliver these performances at her final NESCAC Championships.
“I’d been putting in so much effort the past three-and-a-half years with COVID, so I think it was the cherry on top, but as much as I loved succeeding in those races, I think it was just a sad realization that it was my last NESCAC Championship,” Devanny said. “As much as I was proud of myself, I think I was more reflective during the whole meet. It was a day of many emotions, so I was really excited and really proud of myself, although it was sad to realize that it was my last time competing with everyone [at NESCAC’s].”
Along with Devanny’s top-tier performances, Harris earned All-NESCAC honors for the first time, as she took third place in the 100m finals. Hoffman then took second in the 800m to earn her third career All-NESCAC honor. Supporting the strong Cardinal showing were Ager and Graves, who took fifth in the 5,000-meter race and sixth in the 10000m respectively. Walter finished in the top 10 in the 1500m, while in the field events, Chiara Christie ’23 and Claire Edwards ’24 led the team as they placed 10th in javelin and 12th in discus respectively.
Coming off of this incredible performance at NESCAC’s, the team headed to the New England Division III Championships, hosted by Springfield College on Saturday, May 6. There, the Cards came together to earn 40 team points and post a sixth-place finish, the highest team finish at New England’s since 1995.
The team’s effort saw a victory in the 4×100 relay, with Harris, Kelly, Burhans, and Devanny securing first among 24 teams to earn a Division III New England Championship and set a new school record. Devanny and Kelly, along with Mack and Hoffman, also scored second place in the 4×400 relay, with all four runners earning All-New England honors for this performance.
Hoffman then came in second in the 800m to earn All-New England honors, while Harris finished in sixth in the 100m to pick up another All-New England honor. Kelly’s eighth place finish in the 400m then saw her earn her third All-New England honor of the day, while Stephanie Ager ’26 and Miranda Graves ’23 placed third and fifth in the 10000m respectively to pick up two more All-New England honors for Wesleyan.
As the team looks to conclude the year, the Cardinals will now prepare for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which are coming up from Thursday, May 25 to Saturday, May 27 in Rochester, New York. Devanny highlighted the team’s high spirits as they head into the final weeks of the season and her excitement for what her teammates will do on the track.
“Everyone who’s moving on and continuing to compete is in good spirits and really excited for the next couple of meets ahead,” Devanny said. “I think a lot of the meets we’ve had have been kind of weird weather or people [have faced] injuries, sickness here and there, so I’m excited for everyone to be healthy and to see what people can actually accomplish when we have the right conditions and the meet is going our way. I’m excited to see what my teammates can do.”
Jem Shin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erin Byerly can be reached at email@example.com.