BY: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Bluffton University track and field teams drove south to enjoy the sunshine and compete at the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina University, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. this weekend.
The Beavers were led by junior Tori Bowen (Wapakoneta/Elida), who placed third with a vault of 11 feet, 5.75 inches, the fourth-best outdoor mark in school history and an HCAC-qualifying mark.
A pair of distance runners also went on to garner solid finishes in the top half of the their respective fields that included several Division I and Division II programs. Senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) took 10th in the 10,000 meter field of 20 runners with a time of 40:54.44, while junior Alexis Cash (Gaines, Mich./Lake Fenton) finished 13th in a 42-runner field with a time of 19:04.84. Each mark also qualifies them for the HCAC Championships in late April.
Several other Beavers earned qualifying marks for the HCAC Championships, including senior Keturah Warlick (East Point, Mich./Clintondale) in the 100 with a time of 13.16 seconds, Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfiled-Goshen) in both the 800 with a time of 2:25.48 and mile with a time of 5:29.88, and freshman Kayla Ferguson (Pandora/Pandora-Gilboa) with a high jump mark of 4 feet, 9 inches.
The men's side was highlighted by a record-breaking performance from junior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica), who broke Bluffton's 3000 meter steeple chase record with a time of 10:01.39, a time that placed him 14th in the race and qualified him for the HCAC Championships.
A pair of 10,000 meter runners also started their 2019 outdoor season with a solid mid-pack finish as junior Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) and senior Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) placed 15th and 16th, respectively, with times of 34:20.0 and 34:23.53.
Sophomore Brandon James (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) also qualified for the HCAC Championship with a 110 meter hurdles time of 16.85 seconds.
The Beavers will return to action on Saturday, March 23, when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan University for the Polar Bear Invitational. The 10K's will be run at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., while the rest of the meet will begin at noon.