2014 Track and Field
Beavers thrive during busy weekend
February 16, 2014
DEFIANCE and WESTERVILLE, Ohio - It was a busy and exciting triple event weekend for the Bluffton University men’s and women’s track and field team and their coaches as they experienced a split meet format with competition Friday night in the DC Open at Defiance College and the All-Ohio Championship Saturday at Otterbein University. School records, PR performances and competition by the Bluffton coaches were highlights of the weekend.
Friday night at Defiance saw a number of best performances. Sophomore Kristin SchIefer (Bucyrus/Wynford) got the action started by making the final of the 60 meter dash where she ran a PR 9.05. Freshman Kati O’Neill (Wapakoneta) and sophomore Tara Murphy (Westerville/Thomas Worthington) continue to improve, running best times in the mile and 3000 meter races, respectively. The women’s squad of Kayla Mullenhour (Delphos/Jefferson), Hannah Krull (Lewisburg/Tri-County North), Kim Perry (West Alexandria/Twin Valley South) and Nichole Peterman (Killbuck/West Holmes) improved their time in the 4 x 400 meter relay as they make final preparations for the upcoming conference championship while sophomore Marcea West-Estell (Toledo/Notre Dame Academy) threw her season’s best in the shot put. Freshman Terrill Webb (Kenton) equaled her school record 10’ height in the pole vault competition, placing 4th.
For the men’s team, freshman R.J. Miller (Hymera, Ind./North Central) again improved his time in both the 60 and 200 meter events while the men threw more PR distances in the weight throw. Junior Jeff Parker (Bristol, Ind./Northridge), sophomore Alex Parker (Alger/Upper Scioto Valley) and freshman Jacob Moran (Carey) all excelled at the discipline.
From good-natured trash talk amongst the assistant coaches came the idea for them to dust off their talent and compete as open athletes for the evening. They did not disappoint. Pole vault coach and Bluffton record holder Clint Dillon topped the field with a 13’ 1.5” clearance after a nearly nine-year absence from the event. Coach Keri McCoy, a stand-out athlete for her alma mater Cedarville University, showed her versatility and talent with a second place in the high jump (4’ 10.25”), third at 400 meters (61.69) and fifth in the 200 (27.42). Bluffton record-holding throws coach Jason Fisher proved his mettle with a pair of second place finishes, putting the shot 49’ 10” and throwing the weight 54’ 6.75”. But it was former Division I Penn State University standout Bryson Hartzler (7’ 1.5” lifetime best) who nearly brought the meet to a standstill when he entered the high jump competition at 6’ 4”. After clearing his first two heights with ease, Coach Hartzler set a facility record with his 6’ 9.5” clearance, much to the delight of the crowd of Bluffton athletes, officials, fellow competitors and coaches who had gathered at the edge of the apron.
“It was a good evening for our team,” said Head Coach Karen Brandt. “Our athletes continue to improve across a variety of events which bodes well for the upcoming outdoor campaign. I am very proud of our coaching staff as well. It was all fun and games until we got the okay from the meet director that they could compete. Then they got a little nervous after they’d put it out there. Their focus and competitiveness as well as their professionalism came in to play though as soon as we got to the meet and they began their warm up routines even while having to prepare our athletes for competition. It was good for our athletes to see their coaches do what they ask them to do and then to be successful at their events. We all had a lot of fun with it.”
Saturday saw qualifiers travel to Otterbein University for the All-Ohio Championship. The men’s distance medley relay (DMR) has had its eyes on the prize of a new school record for the past two seasons and Saturday saw them reset it in style. Running the 1200 meter leadoff leg was freshman Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) who put the team in the mix at the front of the field. A pair of crowded and chaotic handoffs had the coaches holding their breath but freshman Ty White (Orrville) executed with ease to run a very quick 400 meter leg before handing the baton to senior Martin Russ (Rocky River) who continues to whittle down his time at 800 meters. Sophomore Josh Edens (Westerville/Central) finished off with a strong 1600 meter leg to bring the baton home in a time of 10:38.73, six seconds under the record that has stood since 2006. The DMR had come in to the meet with the 9th fastest time in the state but ended the day in 5th place among the 12 qualified teams.
Fast relays were the order of the day as the freshman quartet of Blake Drewes (Archbold), Joel Jacobson (Franklin/Carlisle), Cameron Huss (Antwerp) and White produced a new PR in the 4 x 200. Ending the meet in the always exciting 4 x 400, Drewes, Russ, Fisher and White again improved their time and came within one second of the school record, running 3:31.12. Fisher, like White, had a busy day of three events, sandwiching a first-freshman, 1:59.37 8th place finish in the 800 meters between his DMR and 4 x 400 performances. Drewes equaled his season-best height in the high jump, clearing 6’ .5” while freshman Terrill Webb cleared 9’ 8” in the women’s pole vault competition.
“As a coach, it is gratifying to see our athletes competing in a qualifiers-only championship meet like All-Ohio,” said Coach Brandt. “Bluffton had not had a presence there for some time and I’m very proud at the number of athletes we had competing and the quality of performances they produced this year in just my third season at the helm of the program. We’ve grown from a relay and one individual competitor my first year to 10 athletes across nine events this year. We get a lot of enthusiastic support from our campus community; it’s nice to give back to them with good performances like the athletes put out today.”
The Beavers will compete in the HCAC Championship, contested at Anderson University, on Saturday, Feb. 22. The meet opens with both track and field events starting at 1 p.m.