2002 Track and Field
Beavers break through at Findlay
by Nate Smith
A portion of the Bluffton Beavers' track and field squad opened up their competitive seasons at the Findlay Oiler Opener, December 12. The athletes who participated in the meet gave everyone a glimpse of the season to come, and many solid individual performances showed why Bluffton is considered to be a program on the rise.
Six indoor school records were set in the meet, half of them by freshmen competing in their first collegiate track and field meet. Freshmen Lauren Borga (3000m, 11:24.55) and Marquita Miller (Long Jump, 15' 7.75") joined veterans Michelle Bailey (Weight Throw, 38' 7.5") and Rachel Noirot (Pole Vault, 7' 6") as holders of new school records. Both Bailey and Noirot reestablished indoor records they had set last season. Miller also competed in the 60 and 200 meter races for the Beavers, while Bailey came within a foot of her best indoor mark last season at 31' 10.25". Joining Miller in the sprints for Bluffton was freshman Rita Muether, who opened with a strong race in the 400 meters, before recording the Beavers' best time of the night in the 200 meters (28.3h).
The Beavers' women also displayed their new depth in the distances, as three of the four women in the 3000 meters ran under twelve minutes, led by Borga. She was followed by freshmen Carrie Hudecek (11:45.90) and Jennifer Creamer (11:50.90). Rachael Szydlowski closely followed the trio in a time of 12:01.38, after earlier finishing as the top Beaver runner in the women's mile. Szydlowski was closely followed in the mile by sophomore MaryAnna Morgan, as both women stayed under six minutes in the race. The women's top performances were rounded out in the field events by freshman Stephanie Welch, who cleared five feet in the high jump, and Megan Beach, who got the weight throw out over 36 feet.
The top performances of the day for the men belonged to freshman Al Pearson and senior Steve Borga, who both set personal bests while establishing new indoor records for the Beavers. Pearson, primarily a short sprinter in high school, ran a time of 53.43 in the 400 meters, while Borga dropped two seconds off the old 3000 meter record in 9:57.27. The men also saw some promising performances in the field events. One of those performances belonged to senior Travis Lepley, fresh off his football season. Lepley hit nearly forty feet in the shotput while getting the weight throw near 32 feet. Freshman Jeremy King also had a promising debut in the high jump, clearing over six feet.
The Beavers will take a break for the holidays before returning to the track in the second semester. Their entire team will be in action on January 24, 2003, at Ohio Northern for a Friday Night Series meet.