2016 Track and Field
Gonzalez dominates hammer field at W&L Carnival
March 19, 2016
LEXINGTON, Va. - The Bluffton University track and field team started its outdoor campaign much as it ended its indoor season with a group of sterling performances at the two-day Washington & Lee University Track & Field Carnival in Lexington, Virginia. It was an interesting early spring meet, however, as the athletes tried to avoid sunburn on Friday and battled snow and rain on Saturday.
On Friday, senior Edgar Gonzalez (Melvindale, Mich.) scored Bluffton's one event win with a personal-best hammer throw of 158’ 2” (48.22 meters), outdistancing a field of 25 competitors. Qualifying for the final along with Gonzalez were fellow senior Alex Parker (Alger/Upper Scioto Valley), who placed 7th, while junior DiVaunta Spearman (Sandusky/Willard) finished with the 9th-best throw. Sophomore D’Nae Reese (Columbus/Upper Arlington) picked up the hammer about where she left off in weight indoors with a 3rd place finish in a field of 27 with a toss of 135’ 5” (41.28 meters).
In the under-the-lights magic that distance runners love, junior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) brought home a new school record to erase the mark he set in the 5000 meters at last year’s Carnival. Stopping the clock at 15:16.20, Fisher was 7th in a quality field of 46 runners. Freshman Michael Lehman (West Liberty/West Liberty-Salem) also ran a PR race in the 5k, taking 40 seconds off his previous best effort. Sophomore Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) set a new PR for himself in the 25-lap 10,000 meters while freshman Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) ran a strong race in his debut at the event. Freshman Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) returned to form in the women’s 5,000 meters, clocking a PR 19:27.43, good for 14th in a large field of 40 competitors.
The Beavers boarded the bus Saturday morning with a gloomy and overcast look and by 11 a.m. the rain had begun to fall in earnest, joined by snow within the hour. Showing their resolve and toughness, the thinclads ' Beavered on' to more good performances. On the track, sophomore Thaddeus Phillips (South Bend, Ind./Riley) placed 5th in the 100 meters, stopping the clock at 11.68 in a field of 36. Later in the afternoon, sophomore Kyle Knezovich (Utica) placed 3rd over 16 competitors in the 400 meter hurdles, establishing a new PR time of 57.27. In the field, senior Aron Gibson (Caledonia/River Valley) placed 4th in the final of the shot put with a PR 40’ 11.50” toss (12.45 meters) while newcomers and freshmen Maelinn DeLong and Zachary Pachis improved on their distances throughout the three attempts of their respective flights. Gonzalez also made the final of the discus where he placed 7th among 24 competitors.
“The athletes and coaches work some very hard and long hours in the fall at Cedar Point, earning the funds to make this special opening season trip happen,” said Head Coach Karen Brandt, “so I feel a lot of pressure to make this a great experience for everyone. Unfortunately, I can’t control the weather but they can control their attitudes and this team showed me in spades why I love being their head coach. There was no complaining as we dealt with the cold, rain and snow, but a lot of team bonding as we huddled under the tent between events, keeping warm and keeping the mood light and easy. I am proud of every one of them, whether they won or PR'd because they all competed with heart.”
The Beavers are back in action on Saturday, March 26, at Cedarville University. Field events start at 10:30 a.m. while track action commences at 11 a.m.