Women claim AU Invite team title
Sports Information Staff Report
February 8, 2004
For the first time in program history, the Bluffton Beavers women's track and field can lay claim to a team title, after rolling up 172 points to outdistance 2nd-place Anderson for the AU Invitational title. The Bluffton women defeated a field that included HCAC foes Anderson, Manchester, and Hanover, along with Earlham, Tri-State, and St. Francis.
"I'm happy for our women's team that we were able to accomplish something like this early in our season," stated Coach Nate Smith. "After winning the tri-meet last season (Defiance and Manchester), we've been looking for something a little bigger, and this is that next step. We had some real good efforts tonight, but I think we also realize there is a lot of work to be done, and that there is still a lot of improvement to be made from now until the end of April if we want to achieve our season goals."
The women were led largely through the sprints and jumps, as Bluffton placed four women in the finals of the 55 meters, while also sweeping the top three spots in both the high jump and pole vault, and placing three athletes in the top four of the triple jump. The Beavers were led in the sprints by junior Jana Hammer, who placed second in the 55 meters, with a new school record time of 7.73 in the trials and 7.77 in the finals. Hammer was followed in the finals by Rita Muether (3rd, 7.81), Cindy Allan (6th, 7.84), and Kimleeta Davis (7th, 7.86). That same quartet combined to win the 4x200 meter relay, also in a new school record time of 1:50.43. Muether and Hammer also placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the 200 meters, while Allan and Davis contributed in the field events.
Bluffton received strong performances throughout the field events, led by three top-3 finishes by Davis, who won the long jump with a new school record (16' 2.5"), took 2nd in the triple jump (32' 0"), and third in the high jump (4' 7.75"). The Beavers completed their sweep of the high jump with 1st and 2nd-place finishes, respectively, from sophomores Stephanie Welch (5' 1.75") and Kirstie Dravenstott (4' 11.75"). In the pole vault, the trio of Rachel Noirot, Jamie Shores, and Katie Snyder all cleared eight feet to take the top three spots. Meanwhile, in the triple jump, Davis was followed by Allan (3rd, 31' 11.25") and Dravenstott (31' 9.5"). The women were paced in the throws by junior Michele Bailey, who placed 2nd in the weight throw (39' 3.25") and 4th in the shot put, tying the indoor school record (35' 2"). The Beavers also received strong performances by junior Amanda Habegger, who placed 2nd in both the 55 meter hurdles (9.44) and the 400 meters (64.36), and by Welch in the 800 meters, where she placed third in a time of 2:34.28.
The Bluffton men also received strong performances scattered throughout the running and throwing events. Sophomore Ben Dodds once again ran strong in the 55 meters, placing 4th in a time of 6.71. Dodds also joined up with Aaron Williams, Al Pearson, and Ryan Nusbaum to place 2nd in the 4x200 meter relay, breaking their own record with a time of 1:33.57. Junior Troy Baumer turned in a strong performance in both the 400 meters and 55 meter hurdles. Baumer took 2nd in the 400 meters, with an indoor career-best time of 52.21, while placing 5th in the hurdles with a season-best time of 8.69. Freshman Dave Espinoza paced in the Beavers in the longer distances, turning in a 5th-place performance in the 5000 meters, in a new school record time of 16:41.14.
The men were led in the field events by sophomore Steve Myers. Myers placed fourth in the shot put (44' 8.25"), while also breaking the school record in the weight throw with his throw of 39' 3.75". Fred Yoder also placed fourth in the pole vault for the Beavers.
Bluffton will have athletes in action this coming weekend at both the ONU Friday Night Meet, February 13, and at the All-Ohio Invitational at ONU, Saturday, February 14. A list of Bluffton's qualifiers for the All-Ohio Indoor Championships will be posted later this week.