indoor track & field
Beavers Close Books On Indoor Season
by Nate Smith
The Bluffton College indoor track and field came to a close Friday night at Ohio Northern, but not before the Beavers could ink a few more new marks in the record books.
The women opened up the evening with two tremendous performances by freshmen distance runners Lauren Borga and Jennifer Creamer. The pair became the first-ever Bluffton female runners to run under 20 minutes in the 5000 meters. Borga took an astonishing 37 seconds off the previous school record in her time of 19:31.31, good enough for fourth place overall in a strong field. Creamer also set a new personal-best at 19:50.25, beating the mark she had previously established by 18 seconds.
Those were not the only top performances of the night, however, as the sprint squads for the Beavers also showed a strong presence at the meet. Bluffton's women finished second to host ONU in both the 4x200 and 4x400 relays, running the best times in the HCAC this season (1:51.61, 4:18.39). The 4x200 team featured Rita Muether, Amanda Habegger, Marquita Miller, and Jana Hammer. Muether, Habegger, and Miller also ran on the 4x400 team, along with Stephanie Welch. The extra relay records brought the freshman Muether's total of school indoor records to six. She also improved on her times in the 55 meters and 300 meters in 7.88 and 43.82 seconds, respectively.
One other new indoor school record for the women was set by Megan Beach, as she set a new mark in the shotput, at 35'2". Other top individual performances for the women included: Marquita Miller (55m - 8.00), Jana Hammer (55m - 7.94), Amanda Habegger (55HH - 9.37, 400m - 65.61), Laurel Miller (55HH - 9.45, 500m - 1:30.09), Jen Niedermier (1000m - 3:30.45), and Michele Bailey (Shot - 34'4" & Weight - 40'11").
On the men's side, Bluffton was able to combine some strong performances in the sprints, hurdles, and distance, to go with a breakthrough night for a few of the Beavers' throwers.
The men placed two finalists in each of the short sprints and hurdles races, demonstrating an increased depth in talent for the Beavers this season. Both Ryan Nusbaum (6.81) and Ben Dodds (6.80) qualified for the 55 meter finals, while Troy Baumer (8.48) and Jason Lehman (8.49) had career-best performances while placing 4th and 5th in the 55 meter hurdles. They were joined with their top performances in the sprints by Al Pearson, who lowered his own school record in the 300 meters by a half-second (37.44). Pearson, Nusbaum, Lehman, and Colby Bright also lowered their own record in the 4x200 meter relay, with a time of 1:35.05.
In the men's distances, sophomore Andy Schiefer and Steve Borga both ran season-best times in the 5000 meters. Schiefer's personal-best time of 16:46.37 gave him another indoor record. Meanwhile, in the throws, senior Travis Lepley and freshman Jeff Lehman had top performances in different areas. Lepley led the Beavers in the shotput with his heave of 41' 9.25", while Lehman set a new indoor record in the weight throw at 37' 7.75".
Other top performances for the men included: Colby Bright (55m - 6.99), Troy Baumer (400m - 53.01), Fred Yoder (PV - 12' 6.25"), Kevin Bicker (Shot - 39' 1.75"), Travis Lepley (Weight - 37' 1.25"), and Jeremy Feix (Weight - 36' 1.5").
The women finished fourth out of seven teams to finish their indoor season with an overall record of 13-6, 3-2 against HCAC teams. The men finished fifth out of seven teams to finish their indoor season with an overall record of 10-9-1, 4-2 against HCAC teams.
The team will next travel to Florida for Spring Break, where they will compete at the Florida State Season Opener on February 28-March 1, and the Florida A&M Relays on March 7-8.