2016 Track and Field
Beavers kick off 2016 at Hillsdale
January 9, 2016
HILLSDALE, Mich. - The Bluffton University men’s and women’s track and field team traveled north across the border into Michigan to compete at the Hillsdale College Winter Opener. In strong fields where the Beavers were the only Division III competitors, there were a bevy of strong performances leading to conference championship qualifiers, personal record performances and a new school record.
The athlete of the meet from the Bluffton team had to be sophomore Kyle Knezovich (Utica) who established the trifecta of school record, personal record and improved conference qualifier with a pole vault clearance of 14’ 3.75”. Knezovich also improved on his December meet 60 meter high hurdle time, qualifying for the conference championship.
If Knezovich was the individual standout of the team, the throws crew was the event group of the Bluffton team. Senior Edgar Gonzalez (Melvindale, Mich./Melvindale) and sophomore D’Nae Reese (Columbus/Upper Arlington) came up big in the shot put with conference qualifying marks with Gonzalez’s performance being a season’s best in which he placed ninth in a field of 22 competitors. He also improved upon his December conference qualifying weight throw distance with a new PR of 53’ 4.25”, placing an even more impressive sixth among 20. Joining Gonzalez in the PR department were sophomore Erick Benge (Monrovia, Ind./Monrovia) in the weight throw, along with junior DiVaunta Spearman (Sandusky/Willard) and freshman Tami Groff (Versailles) in the shot put.
Outside of the field event realm, freshman Keturah Warlick (East Point, Mich./Clintondale) ran well in the 60 meter dash and qualified for the conference championship with a PR performance in the 200 meters while junior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) qualified for the championship in the mile, placing a solid seventh among 24 finishers.
Sophomore Sarah Hunter (Mt. Blanchard/Riverdale) and junior Terrill Webb (Norwalk/St. Paul), previously qualified for the championship, nicely improved on their December performances. Hunter took her 400 meter time to 1:00.99, placing fifth among 13; Webb finished third among 14 vaulters, clearing 11’ 1.75”, well ahead of her performances in previous years’ early season meets.
“It was heartening to see us, the only Division III team in the meet, line up in races and events with teams the likes of the University of Michigan and not get intimidated,” said Head Coach Karen Brandt. “We still have much work to do in the upcoming weeks, but coming off a long winter break we are in good position to progress nicely by the time of the indoor conference meet.”
The thinclads will not remain idle long as they travel to the University of Findlay on Friday, Jan. 15 to compete in the Northwest Ohio Invitational. Field events commence at 5 p.m. with track action beginning at 7 p.m.