2018 Track and Field
Beavers open outdoor campaign at Washington and Lee
March 20, 2018
LEXINGTON, Va. - The Bluffton University men’s and women’s track and field teams made their annual trip to Lexington, Virginia to open the 2018 outdoor campaign at the Washington and Lee Carnival. Using funds they earned throughout the fall to finance this out-of-area meet, they did not disappoint as school records, a win, many qualifiers and PR performances were achieved throughout the two days of competition.
Leading the charge of high-quality races, jumps and throws was the mighty Friday night effort of junior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) in the 10,000 meters, the longest event on the track at 25 laps or 6.2 miles. Matteson stepped off the track at last spring’s HCAC championship with the goal of not only lowering her time of 40:23.69 but of taking down the school record of 39:37.87 set in 2013 by Alison Janzen. Mission accomplished as Matteson stopped the clock at 38:48.84. Less than an hour later the men’s 10k record fell as well as sophomore Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) continued his rise through the college ranks with a clocking of 32:25.38. Junior Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo), also competing at 10,000 meters, took an impressive 1:13 off his previous best at the distance finishing in 33:22.74. All three performances were comfortable HCAC conference championship qualifying times.
Also among the superlatives of the distance squad was the 18:31.05 clocking of sophomore Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton), a PR of 42 seconds and both an HCAC and All-Ohio championship qualifying time. Saturday’s competition showcased the vaulting of freshman Gabe Makin (Elida) who won the competition over a field of 20 in a quality clearance of 15’ 5” which currently ranks him 2nd in the nation among NCAA Division III vaulters and comfortably atop the leader board for both the HCAC and All-Ohio championship meets.
Adding to the excitement of the weekend’s achievements were the following performances:
· Junior Keturah Warlick (East Point, Mich./Clintondale): All-Ohio and HCAC qualifier in both the 100 and 200 where she placed 5th and 4th respectively in fields of 41 and 48.
· Senior Kyle Knezovich (Utica): All-Ohio and HCAC qualifier in both 110 hurdles and pole vault where he was 3rd in the vault field of 20.
· Freshman Tori Bowen (Elida): All-Ohio and HCAC qualifier in pole vault where she placed 2nd among 21 competitors.
· Junior Sarah Oliver (Lexington): HCAC qualifier in pole vault.
· Sophomore Justin Kauffman (Smithville): HCAC qualifier in pole vault where he finished 5th.
· Freshman Sarah Heydinger (Tiro/Buckeye Central): HCAC qualifier in the high jump where she placed 4th among 21.
· Freshman Keenan Kinnel (Troy): HCAC qualifier in high jump with a PR clearance.
· Junior Maelinn DeLong (Archbold/Bryan): HCAC qualifier in shot put where she placed 8th of 36. She also achieved a PR performance in hammer where she placed 7th among 32.
· Senior Erick Benge (Monrovia, Ind./Monrovia): All-Ohio and HCAC qualifier in hammer where he placed 6th among 29.
· Sophomore Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica): PR performance in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
· Sophomore Tami Groff (Versailles): PR performance at 800 meters.
“After the race, Jennie said she had never seen me smile so big or so long,” said distance coach Jim Brandt. “I have seen so much potential in Jennie in my three years of coaching her; it was just wonderful to see her realize it. Dakota, Jonah and Alexis just added to the evening’s satisfaction when I consider the intensity of the work the distance runners do.”
“The meet as a whole exceeded my expectations,” added Head Coach Karen Brandt. “We put in a lot of long hours at Cedar Point in order to earn the money needed to fund this special trip so I always board the bus hoping for a lot of return on that investment. Of course I want the athletes to enjoy being out-of-town and on-the-road, but I want to see great performances as well since these might be some of the best weather conditions we encounter all season. I was very happy to see Gabe open outdoors just two inches below his indoor championship clearance as well as to come home with a large number of qualifiers in the bank. We have a great group of athletes who work hard, compete with a lot of heart and create good team chemistry. I hope this meet sets the tone for the remainder of the season.”
The Beavers will continue their season at the Indiana Wesleyan University Polar Bear Invitational on Saturday, March 24. Field events start at 11 a.m. with track commencing at 11:30 a.m.